We were all left absolutely devastated over the summer when the lovable Paul Coker was killed off in BBC soap opera, EastEnders.
The fun-loving character, played by the gorgeous Jonny Labey, was brutally murdered in a homophobic attack, leaving his grandparents – Pam and Les Coker – and boyfriend – Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid)- heartbroken.
A couple of weeks back, fans of the show were overjoyed when Jonny and Harry reunited, sharing a smiling selfie on Instagram that provided solace to viewers who had become heavily wrapped up in the emotional storyline, and now I am pleased to report that Jonny is also still in contact with Lin Blakley, who played Pam.
Since leaving EastEnders, Jonny has returned to his theatrical roots, nabbing the lead role in play ‘Verge Of Strife’ at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and now the lead in new musical, ‘That Man’, which performed a showcase in central London last night, for one day only.
I was lucky enough to attend one of just two performances of the show and was left touched but not shocked when I spotted Lin sitting near the front of the stage, excitedly waiting to watch her onscreen grandson perform.
As the show progressed, Lin didn’t stop beaming throughout – her face practically bursting with pride ever time Jonny was on stage as though he was her real grandchild.
During the show’s interval, Lin gushed about what a fantastic singing voice Jonny has (which we have to agree with) and as soon as the show ended she dashed backstage to give the actor her love, with Jonny later apologising for being late to the show’s Q&A, explaining: “I was just saying goodbye to Lin, my nan… ex-nan.”
Though moving, the pair’s close relationship is unsurprising, with Jonny previously going on holiday with both Lin and Roger Sloman, who played his onscreen grandfather, Les.
Speaking exclusively to me, Jonny shared: “I honestly love those two with all my heart. Paul floated around other characters but Harry [Reid, who plays Ben Mitchell], Lin and Roger were the three.
“Roger was turning 70 and I found out I had that week off work and that I had a load of Avios points left and I thought: ‘I’m just going to book a flight with them.’
“I had the most amazing holiday, it was beautiful, and to so nice to spend time with Roger and his family outside of work. It was perfect – exactly what I needed to finish the job, put a cap on it and move on to the next thing.
“I spent the whole holiday with all of Roger’s friends so I was the youngest by 30-40 years but that’s my type of people! I’m very old-fashioned so I was in my absolute element; drinking wine and going for meze.”
I have to admit, that sounds like my kind of holiday – and I couldn’t be more pleased to see that Lin and Jonny’s grandma/ grandson relationship is just as real off screen as it was on.