EastEnders: E20

8:30pm Friday 23 September on BBC THREE

EastEnders – E20 returns for a third series to be shown online first before a BBC Three omnibus, featuring three brand new characters – Donnie, Ava and Faith – and developed by BBC Learning to address issues in the PSHE curriculum such as family breakdown, bullying and teen sex

Following success of series one and more recently series two, a third series of the online drama EastEnders: E20 has been commissioned.

Tackling hard hitting subjects, the new series will continue to work with young talent – writers, actors and crew. The cast of series three are yet to be announced.

Producer Deborah Sathe said, “We are thrilled with the success of the first two series and have already started to storyline the third. Be prepared for a few familiar faces, a couple of new ones and a lot of fireworks.”

Meanwhile, Series Two is building to its exciting conclusion. Don’t miss the latest episodes, premiering here on the site Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8pm, followed by a BBC Three screenings at 8.30pm the following Monday.

EastEnders News & Gossip Round Up

Emer Kenny, one of the writers of EastEnders’ web spin-off show E20, has said that the new cast of the web show will be “more real” than they were in the last series.

Emer, who also plays Zsa Zsa Carter in both the regular show and E20 said, “With the first [series of E20] the characters were suggested to us by EastEnders…

“This time, we had a blank slate so we all brainstormed and came up with things.

“What we wanted was characters who felt really genuine and real.

“In the last series, the character of Fat Boy was really successful, and some people liked Zsa Zsa, but we found that perhaps they were quite extreme and not everyone knew people like that.

“We wanted to bring the new characters back to reality and make them more genuine.

“These are characters you would see on the streets of east London and that you would know.”

The new series of E20 will feature four new faces in the roles of brothers Sol and Asher, and their friends, Stevie and Naz.

E20 will be available to watch on Tuesdays and Thursdays at www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders

In other show news, former EastEnders actor Nigel Harman has landed a role in Shrek: The Musical.

Nigel, who of course played Dennis Rickman, will play the part of Lord Farquaad in the West End musical.

He’ll be joining Amanda Holden and Richard Blackwood on the cast list for the show which is due to open at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane in May 2011.

More EastEnders news soon!

UK Soaps News & Gossip Round Up

Corrie’s Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Hayley Cropper, has revealed that Roy (David Neilson) and Hayley are likely to stay together forever.

Speaking to the PA about Roy and Hayley’s wedding this week, Julie was also asked if the future looked bright for the couple

She replied, “I think it has to be because they are made for each other.

“The great thing is writers have to be inventive with us. “They can’t give us random affairs and children.

“[The storylines] have to be based on them being together and staying together, so they have to be more interesting, which is fantastic for us.”

In upcoming episodes, viewers will see how the demented Mary nearly wrecks Roy and Hayley’s big day.

Moving on now to EastEnders, and the new cast of E20 have been revealed…

They are Emaa Hussen who plays Naz, Amanda Fairbank-Hynes who’s Stevie, Heshima Thompson who’s taken on Asher and Tosin Cole who plays Sol.

EastEnders: E20 series two starts on Tuesday 7th September online.

And finally, over in Yorkshire, the owners of the original Woolpack have decided to call time on it and close its doors.

The pub, in Esholt, was used by the show as the legendary pub, but when the soap moved its main base eleven years ago, a set was used rather than the real pub.

The Daily Mirror reports that even though the real pub still attracts fans of the show, its owners Nichola and Richard McGrath have decided that it’s just not profitable to continue.

Nichola told the paper, “In summer it’s very busy here, but in winter it’s deadly quiet, and the two just don’t make up for each other.

“We’ve had enough of working 90 hours a week and want to spend more time with the children.

“Also it’s not easy being tied to a pub company with inflated rents and beer prices. We’ve loved every second here.

“We’re devastated for the villagers and will miss the village terribly. But hopefully Enterprise Inns won’t leave it long before they get someone else in.

“We’ll be back for a pint when they do.”

A spokesperson for Enterprise Inns added, “Enterprise Inns is aware that Mr and Mrs McGrath have temporarily closed the Woolpack and we are in discussions with them.

“We will provide an update once we are in a position to do so.”

Let’s hope it gets re-opened soon.

More soaps news soon.

The new series of Eastenders:E20 sees 22 year-old highly respected record producer Aiden Hogarth aka S.K.I.T.Z. Beatz joining the team as Music Director/Composer.

Having produced tracks for the cream of UK talent like Tinchy Stryder, Wiley, Skepta, Tempa T and JME, Aiden has now branched out into creating and selecting music for screen, his debut will be on series two of Eastenders:E20

Having composed over 50% of the show’s music himself, Aiden has also sourced tracks from some of the hottest UK artists for use in crucial scenes. The results are a stunning and well thought-out musical backdrop to the BBC’s successful series.

Aiden has also worked with some of the UK’s biggest names and has releases in the pipeline with Wiley, Tempa T, Brazen (Roll Deep) and Newham Generals, alongside the launch of his own imprint Straight Jackit Entertainment and his debut album “Concrete Orchestra” forthcoming in 2011.

One of the new faces on the show Heshima Thompson (Asher), who was once a backing singer for Amy Winehouse, is now on the verge of signing a major recording contract. A track that Aiden wrote for Heshima will feature on E20 Extras.

Fatboy, Naz, Stevie and her boyfriend Olly are now on Twitter…!

The characters of the second series of EastEnders: E20 are currently sharing the low-down on their lives in Walford on Twitter with all of their fans. If you want to be the first to know what Fatboy, Naz and the rest of the gang are up to, follow their tweets in the build up to the explosive new series starting on 7th September.

Fatboy, who is back for series 2, is “the one and ONLY Fatboy… Follow me peoples and spread the word” @manlikefatboy. Naz is @badgal_naz and sharing her latest life and partying adventures but just don’t call her Turkish Delight. Olly is hittin’ the road on his bicycle and tweeting in a hip East London street near you @OllyManHall. Ever the optimist, Stevie is an ordinary girl in an extraordinary world @Stevie4Olly.

Go to the EastEnders website and join in the tweets now: http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/e20/series2/characters/tweets.shtml or follow them directly on Twitter to get the full-on interactive experience.

The second series of the online soap EastEnders: E20 hits our screens on 7th September, 2010.

Series One of the online soap had over 3.3 million requests across the EastEnders website, BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button. It has since been shown on BBC Three and received over a million viewers.

The 10 part series will transmit via the EastEnders website (running time 14 minutes each) followed by a weekly omnibus on BBC Three.

Bryan Kirkwood, Executive Producer of EastEnders: E20 commented:

“EastEnders: E20 made a real impact the first time round, and this second series is set to do the same. The show is a fantastic platform for young, aspiring writers and actors to set the agenda. The audience are in for a real treat as these four exciting new characters will arrive in Albert Square with a bang”.

John Yorke, Executive Producer of EastEnders: E20 commented:

“I’m really proud of the fact that E20 has pioneered the training of aspiring writers and actors from different backgrounds. Its made big steps in getting a whole new generation into the industry – and a whole new audience to the internet and television too.”

The show welcomes four brand new faces to the Square: Naz (Emaa Hussen), Stevie (Amanda Fairbank-Hynes), Asher (Heshima Thompson) and Sol (Tosin Cole).

Bad boy Ash and brother Sol need a place to crash. Naz needs a place to escape and Stevie is abandoned in the middle of Walford. One by one our strange quartet find themselves under one roof. All have something to hide, and something they’re desperate to get away from…

Solomon Levi (played by Tosin Cole)

Sol has been looked after by his older brother ever since he can remember and is struggling to establish an identity of his own. Falling for Naz, a psychopathic mother and a fearsome temper threaten his one chance of happiness.

Tosin Cole has previously been seen in a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar set in urban London, with the theatre company Intermission. Tosin said: “It’s a privilege to work on something so big but so different. Everyone is fantastic to work with. I’m really excited.”

Asher (played by Heshima Thompson)

Ash is fresh out of jail and looking for a chance to redeem himself – but his brother and his mum, and his inability to say no to easy money, make life much more complicated than he might wish.

Heshima Thompson’s past projects include The Bill and Spooks. He says: “It’s a great project to be a part of and I get to dance so this is going to be fun.”

Naz (played by Emaa Hussen)

Naz is a girl torn between two worlds. To her friends she’s a fun-loving party girl; at home she’s the apple of her Turkish father’s eye. Then she meets Sol, and the two worlds collide with terrible consequences…

Newcomer Emaa said: “This is the first thing I’ve done professionally so it’s a really exciting place to start my career. I’m from east London and a big fan of EastEnders which is one of the reasons I wanted to do the show.”

Stephanie ‘Stevie’ Dickinson (played by Amanda Fairbank-Hynes)

Stevie is utterly clueless when it comes to real life. Abandoned by her rich parents for travelling and eternally unlucky in love, Ash turning up looks like the answer to her prayers. The only problem is, Ash has brought three people with him.

Amanda has previously been seen in the Oscar nominated film An Education. She says: “It all happened so quickly but I’m really excited to be working on EastEnders. It’s an amazing group of people and they are great to work with.”

Pippa (played by Roxanne Mckee)

Former Hollyoaks actress Roxanne Mckee will feature in a few episodes as Pippa; the rich attractive sophisticated partner of Stevie’s ex. However, Stevie soon discovers that Pippa isn’t what she seems. Roxanne said about the role: “I’m excited and proud to be part of this production.”

Viewers will also get the chance to see the Britain’s Got Talent dance act Flawless and Avant Garde will also make an appearance.

Deborah Sathe, Producer of EastEnders: E20 Series 2 said: “I am delighted that E20 is going again and proud of what the writers have achieved. This time around the E20 writers have created 4 new faces for the square, and their reaction to Walford life is really exciting. It’s got all the ingredients of E20, but is bigger, faster, braver and even more fun.”


E20 will be back for second series

EastEnders bosses have given the green light to a second series of the online EastEnders spinoff, E20. It’s proved to be so popular, that a further 10 episodes have been commissioned.

And apparently, series two will introduce four more new youngsters who will be written into the storylines of both the regular show and the online spinoff as being tenants in the flat above Roxy’s beauty salon.

In addition, the 13 young writers who wrote the first series will be re-commissioned to write the second.

The show’s executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, told the PA, “It’ll be very exciting to see where our brilliant young writers will take the next series and the evolution of a whole new set of characters.

“The cast have been a noisy burst of fun in EastEnders and provided the show with new faces that audiences have really engaged with.”

And the controller of portfolio and multi-platform at BBC Vision, Simon Nelson, said, “We had no hesitation in commissioning another series, something which will delight the 17,000 fans who’ve been calling for more episodes on the E20 Facebook page.”

Also, three of the four original actors who were contracted for E20 will be kept on, both on the regular show and in E20; they are Emer Kenny who plays Zsa Zsa, Sam Attwater who plays Leon, and Ricky Norwood as Fatboy.

More EastEnders news soon.

Fatboy, played by Ricky Norwood, has invented all manner of personas since he was seven years old in an attempt to avoid being Arthur Chubb (his real name). His current and most sustained self-creation is Fatboy.

Ricky Norwood talks about being a fan of EastEnders, the new online series, and his cheeky hustling character, Fatboy:

As a fan of EastEnders who is your favourite character?

“I’ve always been a big fan of Patrick, he really makes me laugh. Lucy and Janine as well as the kind of devious characters – there is always something going on there and I always love to see what is coming next from those guys. Heather as well – Heather is fantastic – she is hilarious.”

What can we expect from EastEnders: E20?

“You can expect a lot of energy, a lot of fun, a lot of jokes, some good times and some bad times. It is going to be very exciting.”

What was it like filming EastEnders: E20 whilst EastEnders was being filmed on the same set?

“It was a bit surreal because EastEnders has been on in my house forever. Working on EastEnders: E20 in and around EastEnders while they were filming the main line show was just a bit surreal, a bit like a dream. Working on EastEnders: E20 was fantastic as well because it was like working on a movie, the way it was shot, the team and there was just the four cast members to rely on. It was awesome to have that pressure on you as an actor to deliver your lines and to give a good performance.”

Your character, Fatboy, is someone Arthur created, why do you think he hides behind different personas?

“Well, for the same reason most kids put on a front, it’s to protect himself from the world. He doesn’t like his real name so he tried to create something that would get away from that and Fatboy was that creation. The street and the slang stuff is not something that is far away from him, it is still from the area that he lives in. Fatboy was someone he adopted to put a brave face on, to put a mask on himself, to protect Arthur from the world.”

How is Fatboy’s relationship with his parents? Does he get on well with them?

“Yeah, he gets on fantastically with his parents. He comes from, not a rich background but from a well-off background, he has never had to want for anything. If he wants something then he can get it. He gets a bit of stick for that because the majority of kids from his background aren’t getting what he is.

“He is the type of kid to be the first one with the new football top on so he gets a bit of stick for that. He does the hustling to cover up that his parents are giving him the money. It stops the mickey being taken out of him.”

Is his hustling successful?

“There are hits and misses. The majority of the time, maybe seven times out of ten, his plan will work, sometimes it won’t work out the way he planned it but it will end up that the dominoes fall in his favour and the plan will end up working.”

How would you describe him?

“I’d describe him as a bit of a wannabe. He wants to be so much: he doesn’t just want to be street, he wants to be a bit gangster, a bit of a player, a bit of a womaniser, a bit of a businessman, caring, kind – he wants to be all these different things. He tries to put on this act, this brave face to get a reputation and for a bit of status, so that people don’t just say, ‘Oh that’s that boy’ – they say, ‘Who’s that boy and why is he called Fatboy?'”

Would you be friends with him if he was a real person?

“More than likely, I think, he is a fun character. Yeah, he likes a laugh and he is always on the next scheme and the next scam. I think we’d have a lot to laugh about really, I think we’d end up having a lot of jokes.”

Are there similarities between you and your character?

“I don’t think there are similarities, Fatboy, the character is an exaggeration of me. The slang, the stuff that I know, the stuff that I’ve been brought up with, he is an exaggeration of that. His characters and personas, although personally they’re not what I would do, there is definitely an understanding there of why he would do it.”

Walford takes its first big step into the wider world of the web as the online spin-off series, EastEnders: E20, begins, introducing four new faces – Fatboy (Ricky Norwood), Leon Small (Sam Attwater), Mercy Olubunmi (Bunmi Mojekwu) and Zsa Zsa Carter (Emer Kenny).

The foursome crash into the Square seeking solace from family life. With nowhere to live and no one else to turn to, they begin to depend on one another for support. Squatting together at 89b George Street, the secrets that drove them from their homes are slowly revealed. The highs and lows of their shared lives cement their friendship and the group becomes a force to be reckoned with.

In the first webisode, Zsa Zsa hurtles into the Square on the run from her mum’s boyfriend, Andy. He thinks she’s inside 89b George Street and he dumps all her stuff there and waits for her outside. But she’s not there – Leon and Lucy Beale are inside. When Leon hears a row outside he jumps in to protect Zsa Zsa. Annoyed at this gesture, Lucy walks off in a huff.

Across the road, Mercy and Fatboy make a quick exit from the community centre where Fatboy’s outlandish proposals to encourage more young people to the church has humiliated them both. As the pair walk past 89b, discarded bags of clothes catch Fatboy’s eye. To Mercy’s horror, he takes all the bags.

Leon – who is searching for Zsa Zsa – bumps into Fatboy and Mercy. With Fatboy brandishing Zsa Zsa’s belongings, he persuades them to help look for her. Just as Fatboy spots Zsa Zsa in the market, Andy’s car screeches round the corner and the group make a dash for 89b. Zsa Zsa has a key and they make it inside. Recovering together from their ordeal, Mercy slips out of the room to face up to a task she has been putting off all day.

The first websiode will go live on Friday 8 January 2010 at 8.30pm on www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/e20, where viewers can catch the antics of Walford’s new residents.

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