Bobby Brazier has said he “slid into a place of calmness” on the set of EastEnders because of the warm welcome he received from the cast and crew – giving a special mention to co-star Lacey Turner.
The 19-year-old, who is the son of late Big Brother star Jade Goody and TV presenter Jeff Brazier, joined the BBC soap as Freddie Slater, with his acting debut scheduled to air this summer.
Brazier said: “I feel so lucky, there has been so much support and people are really excited to see him, it has been received with a lot of love. I am excited for people to see, I feel supported.
“I feel like people want the best for me. Also the fact that I feel that off-set makes me feel more comfortable on-set and it means I can learn quicker and become a better actor, which is what I am here to do.”
Brazier praised his colleagues for welcoming him to the EastEnders family, giving a special mention to actress Turner, who plays Stacey Slater in the soap.
“Everyone from the scriptwriters to the catering, all the cast, there is not a stand-out person but they have made me feel so welcome so quickly, I feel really lucky because I feel very early on I slid into a place of calmness,” he said.
“I feel like it translates on-screen so I don’t look stupid like I don’t know what I’m doing and that is purely because of everyone around me just making me feel so comfortable.
“I had Zoom calls before coming in and people were saying it’s like a real family here and there is a lot of love here, I came here and felt it straight away by everyone.
“I want to give a special mention to Lacey. Lacey feels like home, she doesn’t realise how beautiful and funny she is.”
Executive producer Chris Clenshaw said it was Brazier’s “twinkle” that helped him secure the role.
“We were doing our usual casting process and we always look for new talent and I saw Bobby’s social media,” he said.
“We were already conceiving Freddie, building this character and there was some of what I saw in Bobby that I thought would be perfect for Freddie.
“His energy, his twinkle, his spiritual side, so then we brought Bobby in to audition along with some others and he just blew us away with his performance, he really did, and he is Freddie Slater.”
The character of Freddie was last seen in Walford in May 2006 when he and his mother, Maureen “Little Mo” Slater, left to start a new life.
He is returning to Albert Square, aged 18, and finds himself on a path that could lead to heartbreak.
Describing his character, Brazier said: “There is a depth to Freddie… he isn’t trying to prove himself as a bad boy.
“He’s got a lot of depth to him and he’s in touch with that I think but he’s also a lad in the way that he does silly things.
“He’s reckless but it always comes from a place of that depth of love. Freddie is still developing, which is fun.”
He added that he hoped his performance was as good as he thinks it is.
Big Brother star Goody, who died in 2009 aged 27 after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, had Bobby and his brother Freddy, now 17, with fellow reality TV star Brazier.
She was an avid fan of EastEnders and in 2006 reportedly petitioned two of its stars to talk to their bosses about securing her a role during a chance meeting at V Festival.