We were first to get Shane Richie's reaction to the revelation of Kat's no-longer-secret lover's identity. Read on for the inside story...
How difficult was it to keep Kat’s lover’s secret identity?
We always knew there was going to be a pay-off and we knew it was going to be one of five. When we ruled out Chucky (Ray) and Steve (Michael), it was only one of three, and for a long time we genuinely didn’t know. I’m not even sure if the culprit knew. So it was interesting to play for me as an actor. I loved it because Alfie’s not supposed to know. But of course for Jessie (Kat), she was torn between whether she wanted to know or not, because if she had known, she was frightened she might give it away by just a look…
If Kat had to be having an affair, who do you wish that it had been?
I’d love it to have been Patrick. He’s still got a few years to go yet! I could have justified it if it was Jack, because of the baby swap and all of that. Alfie just can’t understand that it’s Derek and that’s what kills him. I mean even Michael Moon because of what’s happened in the past. But Derek… that just makes him sick.
On the blog and on Facebook and Twitter, people were suspecting it might be Tracy or Roxy…
We kept saying wouldn’t it have been great if it was Tanya!
So how was it to film the scene where Alfie confronts Kat in the bedsit. That must have been really amazing…
It’s very rare you get a 15 min scene with two people in one room. We don’t usually get a chance to rehearse but for this particular episode we spent a lot of time - myself and Jessie and the director [Karl Nielson] - just going over stuff, finding out where the emotions were, who was the victim, who was on the offensive, who was on the defensive, and that’s what we tried to do.
We were in a tiny space which was purposely built for these episodes, so filming it was quite claustrophobic. It’s so unlike upstairs in the Vic, where you’re familiar with it. This was one square room. There was nowhere to hide, you were on show - every blink of the eye, every look, every frown, every sigh, if you’re looking angry, it’s there to be seen, you’re naked to it. I really love that. I love that because you work hard to try and be as good an actor as you can and then you’re given an opportunity by the BBC and by EastEnders to step up to the mark. Lorraine [Newman, EastEnders Exec Producer] believing that two actors could do that - it’s a bit of a pressure on your shoulders, but me and Jessie loved it.
What did Alfie need to do differently to keep Kat?
What I loved about it , it’s almost as if half way through the episode, he resigns himself to the fact that it’s over between Kat and Alfie, there is no going back. And I remember when we sat down with Karl [Neilson – Director], he said, halfway through that 15 minute scene, Alfie’s thinking “I understand you’ve done this with somebody... We can get over this… What do you mean… it’s been going on for months? We can get over it, because I know you don’t love him… What, you love this guy? It’s someone we know? Someone in the pub..?”
I think it’s really important that Alfie, at this moment, resigns himself to the fact that it’s now over. He’s thinking – “Now it’s over, it's no more Mister Nice Guy because now I need to know who this is - not for anyone else’s peace of mind, but mine. Because if it’s someone I know, then this is where Alfie’s mans up.”
Alfie forgave Kat for the affair and she hasn't strayed since. Why does it matter more now that he knows who it was?
It’s one thing Kat going with a stranger - if it’s a one night stand with some bloke in Catford, he can forgive her for it. But now he’s starting to put the jigsaw together – this guy paid him to leave the pub, he got Kat's ring from the pawn shop and gave it back, he sent her flowers, he rented a flat round the corner from The Vic! So there’s a finality to it when Alfie says “I don’t care - you’re dirty, you’re disgusting, it’s over. Now it’s a separate issue – I need to know who it is.”
So this is the moment when the waters beome muddied about who the victim is?
Yes. All of a sudden Alfie stops being a victim. He turns and says “It’s over now. Give me my dignity back. Let me know who it is.” But then he goes and finds him and things turn back around again.
So the question we’re all asking… Kat had steak at home (ie. Alfie) why on earth did she go with **?
We find out why later on. I think it’s because Derek is the total polar opposite of Alfie. She’s attracted to danger. Back in the day it was Andy Hunter. Alfie is anything but. You know exactly where Alfie is going to be the next day. You know Alfie’s going to love you in a year’s time. You know Alfie will do anything for you.
Maybe it’s the reverse of that situation – keep ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen. Alfie doesn’t do that. He doesn’t buy into that. He believes in honesty. He believes in treating every woman like a princess. And that’s what he did with Kat. She’s used to danger, she’s used to excitement. What she got from Alfie was the fairytale, what she wanted was the nightmare.
What’s the future for Alfie?
There’s a great story coming up - I had a meeting about it today, which I cannot tell you about! But it’s another big storyline. In the meantime, I think we’re going to get into a love triangle - Roxy thinking that Alfie’s on the rebound...
What does Roxy give Alfie that Kat doesn’t?
I think Roxy brings out the best in Alfie. I was kind of reluctant that he would be straight in with Roxy, but I can see why he does it. He needs to be with someone. He needs someone he can be there for. He needs a shoulder to cry on. But at the same time he hasn’t got Kat. It’s slightly dangerous.