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EastEnders actress Charlie Brooks has revealed the inner workings of her character Janine Butcher as viewers witness her embroiled in a web of lies after a dramatic car crash.
Brooks, 41, has played Janine in the BBC One soap since 1999.
After lying in Tuesday evening’s episode about the cause of a car crash, which has left Linda Carter with serious injuries, viewers saw Janine beginning to grow concerned about keeping her secret safe.
Speaking about the crash, which actually happened while Janine was driving unbeknown to her partner, and Linda’s ex-husband, Mick Carter, Brooks said it was “panic” that was running thorough her character’s mind when she decided to stage the crash to make it look as though Linda was driving.
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She said: “I think it’s panic, I think when she moves Linda, she’s doing whatever she can to not look guilty in this situation.
“This is when Janine is at her worst because she doesn’t think things through…. Or does she?
“It’s her natural instinct to save herself, she is ultimately the most self-centred person you can ever wish to meet.
“I do think there are elements of guilt for Janine, I don’t think she’s just cold-hearted, I do think she has moments of reflection and guilt but the feeling of panic and desperation overrides that and she just wants to save herself.”
Brooks also discussed Janine’s motivation for staging Linda, who struggles with alcoholism, as the driver of the car – to try and ensure the future of her relationship with Mick.
“Janine wants Mick all to herself,” she said.
“She wants a family unit, she doesn’t want any distractions. When she is in that and feels safe, we see Janine being okay, but it’s the moment she is threatened and might not get what she wants – she’s a little girl that’s never grown up.
“If she doesn’t get her own way, then she will do anything within her power to get what she wants. Because of her father’s neglect, she seeks comfort and craves intimacy which as we know is complicated with Mick.
“There is a whole mash-up of confused emotions and I think it all stems from her fear of abandonment. I don’t think she is a rebel without cause.”
During her time on the soap, Janine has been involved in numerous dramatic storylines, including prostitution, drug use and murder.
However, despite her concerns and the lengths she will go to in an attempt to preserve her relationship with Mick, Brooks revealed that she does not think her character would kill Linda on purpose.
She said: “I think if Linda died, it would make Janine’s life easier.
“But I don’t think Janine wants her dead or wants to kill her, I think that is an entirely different thing.
“She is a lost girl that does underneath it all ultimately feel like she is doing it for the right reasons but just always makes the biggest mistakes.”
EastEnders airs on BBC One every weekday at 7:30pm.