'EastEnders' star Emma Barton admits she was 'hanging by a thread' without work

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 15/02/2022 - Programme Name: EastEnders - January-March 2022 - TX: 24/02/2022 - Episode: EastEnders - January-March 2022 - 6440 (No. 6440) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2022*** Honey Mitchell (EMMA BARTON) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
EastEnders star Emma Barton playing Honey Mitchell in an episode of the soap in spring 2022 (BBC)

Eastenders star Emma Barton thought she would have to give up acting when she was out of work for three years.

Talking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, the actor said after her first stint on the soap from 2005 and then a couple of years on stage in Chicago, work 'dried up for about three years'.

Of the years she was out of work, she said: "There was a time I was just like: 'I'm going to have to give up.'

"But I didn't want to, and I was just holding on by a thread, just going: 'I'm going to still persevere'. And it did pay off."

WATCH: Emma Barton on Eastenders, her friendship with Hannah Waddingham, and living every actor's worst nightmare

Thornton had asked about how precarious acting is as a career, and Barton admitted she has always had 'a little bit of a fight on her hands' getting down to the last stages of casting before being told no.

"That was tough," she told Thornton of her time without work. "It was a long time. I just needed to get out and do something and also earn some money.

"So I went back and worked in a clothes shop that I used to work in when I was at drama school."

She said luckily there had only been a few times when she was recognised for being on the BBC soap, where she plays Honey Mitchell.

Listen to the full episode to hear about Emma's long lasting friendship with Hannah Waddingham, the cruel twist of karma that lead to her missing her big West End break and her first day on 'Eastenders'

She added: "I did find it really tough, and I'm more of a happy person than I am a sad person.

"But there are times when you just used to shut your bedroom door and go: 'Please, please, somebody help me because I don't know what's happening with my life.

"I felt alone. But I knew I just had to just keep going."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14:  June Brown (third right) with her Special Award and (L-R) Jamie Borthwick, Adam Woodyatt, Barbara Windsor, Perry Fenwick, Emma Barton and Harry Reid pose in the winners room at the TRIC Awards 2017 at The Grosvenor House Hotel on March 14, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Eastenders stars Jamie Borthwick, Adam Woodyatt, Barbara Windsor, Perry Fenwick, June Brown, Emma Barton and Harry Reid pose in the winners room at the TRIC Awards 2017. (Getty Images)

After a tour with the National Theatre of One Man, Two Guvnors, she then received a call from Eastenders producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins asking if she wanted to come back to the soap for a few months.

"And then it wasn't a few months, it's now been seven years," Barton said.

In 2019 she reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing with Anton du Beke.

Emma Barton (BBC)
Emma Barton got to the 2019 final of 'Strictly Come Dancing' (BBC)

She compared her time out of work as what many people have now experienced over the course of the coronavirus pandemic with job losses and uncertainty.

She said: "A lot of people have lost their jobs and couldn't go anywhere. [They] are stuck in a rut of Groundhog Day, being in four walls, not going out and earning a living, doing what you want to do in your craft.

"It can be tough, but I'm still here."

WATCH: Emma Barton on her first day on Eastenders