EastEnders star Perry Fenwick reflects on ‘saddest ever’ exit as Lola dies

Perry Fenwick, an EastEnders actor, has commented on Lola Pearce-Brown’s impending exit from the programme.

Next week, when Lola sadly dies at home, Billy Mitchell, a character played by the actor, will be one of the characters left in sadness.

After receiving a brain tumour diagnosis last year, Lola was informed that her condition was fatal.

The moment Billy has been dreading occurs in the scenes from next week when a nurse reveals that Lola’s health is failing and that it is time for him to say goodbye to his cherished grandchild.

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Related Article: EastEnders actor Jamie Borthwick on Lola’s heartbreaking climax

Perry was asked whether this was his most heartbreaking parting narrative when speaking at an EastEnders press event this week.

Without a doubt, he responded. In my 25 years on the show, I’ve seen a lot of characters come and leave, but my last moments with Danielle Harold—who portrays Lola—were very heartbreaking.

We’ve been acting out this scenario with the group; in it, Lola is lost, but Danielle is really lost.

“When we first began working on this plot, we all made the commitment to paint a broad picture, jokingly referring to it as our Sistine Chapel, and we wanted to get every last detail just perfect.

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Danielle Harold of EastEnders talks on the choice to murder off Lola in the programme.

“At the end of a long day, we would declare, ‘That’s that piece painted, there’s that bit done. Then, if Danielle and Jamie [Borthwick, who portrays Jay] were working together when I wasn’t there, I would text and inquire about the painting.

“Jamie and Danielle have smashed it,” he said. The tear sticks are helpful because sometimes we have pages and pages of emotional work and you attempt to put yourself in a dark place, such dreadful places to go to try, but sometimes it doesn’t work.

“We knew we wouldn’t need tear sticks, thus none were present on any of this. Even though it’s been challenging, the programme, [executive producer] Chris Clenshaw, and the actors—some of whom have been waiting in the wings for a while—have a wonderful chance to showcase their talents.

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Related: Lola Pearce-Brown’s death’s terrible effects revealed by EastEnders boss

The actor also discussed how his relationship with Danielle off-screen has evolved over time. He was there when Danielle debuted on the programme in 2011.

“Our casting director told me they were casting this young girl as Billy’s granddaughter, and I wasn’t thrilled about it,” Perry said with a chuckle. I inquired as to her previous activities, and they said that she had never performed in front of an audience before, but that “you’ll be able to polish her up” since she was a rough diamond.

“At our meeting, I instructed her, ‘Be on time, make sure you know your lines, and know the basics!'”

“It’s a reality that you spend more time with your fictional family than your actual one. You devote a lot of time to your EastEnders kin. You do approach really closely.

BBC One broadcasts EastEnders from Monday through Thursday at 7.30 p.m. The programme is also available on BBC iPlayer.

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