This week (Wednesday, July 5 at 10pm ET/7pm PT) on “Redwater,” Eileen, Lance’s youngest daughter, is back from the States after 20 odd years, with her son Kieran. Families and friends are reunited after twenty years of absence, but as much as this is a celebration – families are families and old tensions rise to the surface.
Ahead of this episode, learn from leading man Shane Richie (Alfie Moon), how he became involved with the series, what its connection with “EastEnders” is, and what his favourite part of filming “Redwater” was.
Q: How did you get on board?
SR: “It kind of came about in 2015. Jessie and I were approached by the BBC and the executive producer at the time (Dominic Treadwell-Collins). There had been a whisper about a one-off episode in Spain, so we thought it would be that. Initially it was, and then during a meeting, Dominic said: “Actually, we’re not going to take you to Spain.” He’d had an epiphany and decided that we should take Kat and Alfie to Ireland. I couldn’t see the link until Kat’s storyline where we learn that years ago, her boy twin was adopted by a family in Ireland. So this story evolved while our characters are still in Eastenders.”
Q: How is Redwater connected to EastEnders?
SR: “Well, it’s not a spin off – it’s a stand-alone drama. The whole Kat and Alfie thread, looking for a son, and Alfie’s brain tumour, is just part of a large tapestry of other stories that are happening in Redwater. It really is an ensemble piece.”
Q: For those who aren’t familiar with EastEnders, who is Alfie?
“Alfie is a character I’ve played since 2002. He’s a charmer, he’s a street guy, but he’s not a tough guy – he’s street smart. He’s got a big heart and wears it on his sleeve. With Alfie it really is all about family. Since he met Kat they’ve been inseparable. We’ve played this love story for the best part of 15 years – there’s only one person for Alfie and that’s Kat. He’s a one-woman man.”
Q: Why have Kat and Alfie come to Redwater?
SR: “They’ve come to Redwater to track down Kat’s adopted son, who she only found out about very recently. There’s very much a thriller element tone to it. Big secrets go with it, which I hope will keep the audience tuning in.
“Alfie’s journey is to help his wife find her son, but also to have a break from Spain. They’re having problems with the bar out there, but at the same time Alfie has his own dark secret which he’s keeping from Kat. The drama is very mythical, there’s something magical here. Meanwhile he’s trying to deal with his problems on his own, which is very Alfie.”
Q: What kind of a place is Redwater?
SR: “It’s a wonderful community and not a million miles away from Walford. Everyone knows each other and are in and out of each other’s pockets and houses. But if you thought that EastEnders had some dark secrets, they’re nothing compared to Redwater! Kat and Alfie are dropped in the middle of this great big family feud that’s being going on for years. It’s a bit like Brigadoon, the mist comes in and out – every time it comes in it leaves another secret, and when it goes out in it dumps its dirty laundry right there on the beach for everyone to see!”
Q: Is there a similar sense of family life to Albert Square?
SR: “I think Kat and Alfie get it here. There’s no sense of them staying, they are just renting a holiday cottage here for a couple of weeks. They want to tap into the local community and hopefully find who they are looking for, have a bit of a break from everything that’s going on in Spain. They’re not looking to stay here permanently but there’s a twist of fate – something happens that means they might not going anywhere for now…”
Q: Are you are familiar with this part of the world?
SR: “I’m from a big Irish family – my real surname is Roche. My Dad used to run Irish clubs in London – I was known at school as a second hand paddy. My Mum who still lives in London came over while we were filming to visit her family. Why I don’t come over more I don’t know as it literally is a whisper away. Now I’ve spent the last three or four months here it really does feel like home.”
Q: What’s been your favourite part of filming?
SR: “There’s a real circus-feel to everyone on this show, from the cast, to unit drivers, make-up, sound, wardrobe, catering, cameras, everybody. It’s like we’re a circus on tour around Ireland, we all meet in the evening and after a couple of weeks we all pack up again and go down to Dublin. We feel like we’re creating something new, surrounded by quality team.”
Q: Do you think you’re creating a world that people will identify with and grow to love?
SR: “I hope so. I hope when this goes out it will certainly put Dunmore East.”