- John Aldous
- John Taylor
John Aldous recounts EastEnders
Sitting at home one evening the phone rang: it was Brian the Bagman: “Guess what,” he said, “we have been asked to appear on EastEnders“ “You’re joking,” was my reply. “No,” he said, “the woman who does the makeup lives at Borley and they want a Morris side for a Mayday programme and she has suggested us. One of the producers are coming to see us next week “.
So along they came and, apart from a slight concern about our black faces, which we said could be explain somehow on the show, they were happy for us to appear. They were willing to pay for a coach to take us to Elstree Studio (twice) and pay the side £400. Sometime in March we boarded the coach to film the outside scenes. We were not allowed to say anything due to Equity, so they got an actor to explain the dances and why our black faces. We had to dance in the square then peel off into the Queen Vic (which was only just a front held up by wooden beams, as were all the house in the square. Sorry it’s not real: even the bird poo was painted on.
The inside scenes were filmed in another studio. We return two weeks later to film the scenes inside the Vic were we would come in and grab a pint of ale from the bar and drink it. Now they usually use cold tea but we insisted that we had real ale so for once the Vic actually served alcohol.
We had also learned a new trick: we were supposed to come in and down about half a glass of ale, but if something went wrong they would shout “CUT” and we had to do the scene all over again, so they would have to fill the glass again - so you can imagine there was many mistakes (a lot intentional), so much so I was given my ale to the camera crew to drink (lots of happy people on the set).
One of the scenes was Phil Mitchell was to place Bernie's hat on Sharon Watts’ head (something to do with fertility) after the scene Sharon (Letisha Deen ) said: “That's a lovely hat but what's that in the head band?” “Oh nothing, just something I picked up” said Bernie,
“It’s a dried cow pat.” Let’s say her face was a picture. So, in May we all gathered in the pub to watch the episode, also all my family and friends and workmates were watching in their homes. Got a bit of stick from workmates: think it may have been a touch of jealousy.