He was at the centre of this summer’s biggest EastEnders’ storyline and broke millions of hearts when his onscreen persona was tragically killed off, but actor Jonny Labey has admitted that landing the role of Paul Coker in one of the country’s biggest soap operas was nothing more than a “fluke”.
I honestly find this so hard to believe.
The star was speaking after making his debut in the West End musical showcase of ‘That Man’, where he takes on the all-singing lead role of womaniser Rick, or ‘that man’.
Stunning the audience with his flawless vocals, this wasn’t Jonny’s first venture into the West End, having previously played Graffiti Pete in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s ‘In The Heights’ – and yes, that is the same man behind musical sensation ‘Hamilton’.
Discussing his differing stage and screen roles, Jonny admitted to me that he never planned to end up on our TV screens five nights as week and the stage has always been his comfort zone.
He explained: “I am more used to musical theatre, I did musical theatre than a film and tv but they were flukes almost.
“Everything went in a different direction to where I thought it would, but stage and musicals is my comfort area. Doing TV was more of a learning process for me.”
You wouldn’t have thought it when watching him, would you?
And despite only appearing in the soap for a year, Jonny became close friends with many of his co-stars and we were touched to see Lin Blakley, who played his onscreen EastEnders grandma, Pam Coker, proudly sitting in the audience for ‘That Man’ and beaming throughout Jonny’s entire showstopping performance.
In fact, the moment that the show finished Lin rushed backstage to give Jonny her love, commenting on his incredible singing voice that had left many members of the audience, who were unaware of Jonny’s musical theatre history, surprised.
All in all I have to admit that even though I was absolutely heartbroken by Jonny’s EastEnders’ departure, I couldn’t be more excited to see what he does next.