Jack's Interview with News Of The World- 05/01/02
JACK: IF YOU'RE NOT A SLATER THEN SEE YOU LATER
Sacked star reveals lies and betrayal
*They promised I'd wed
but killed me instead
*How cast members
live in fear of bosses
and fighting are rife
ALBERT SQUARE favourite Jack Ryder has sensationally laid bare the backstage truth about EastEnders.
In the one of the most astonishingly frank interviews ever given by a star of the show, Jacka pin-up as Jamie Mitchelldetails every trick that BBC bosses use to keep big names in constant fear of their jobs.
The 21-year-old actor, who had 16 million fans glued to his Christmas deathbed drama, also reveals that:
FURIOUS cast members seethe with jealousy over the huge storylines constantly handed out to the Slater family.
TERRIFIED that they'll be the next to go, Albert Square stars told each other: "If you're not a Slater, see you later."
INFECTED by spreading distrust, actresses have turned to infightingwith Jessie Wallace and Hannah Waterman the worst culprits.
Jack, married to former Hear'Say star Kym Marsh, told the News of the World: "The producers treat people like s**t and try to control your life. They're all fine with you while you're flavour of the month, but as soon as they stop liking you they make your life hell.
"They play mind games with you. One executive actually told me the only reason my mum was interested in me was because of wealth and fame. I was speechless. And John Yorke, who was executive producer for a time, told me that if I ever left the show I'd only be good enough for Footballers' Wives."
But it was the arrival of the Slater family, said Jack, that left many cast members eyeing their futures nervously.
"They're in every scene more or less and a lot of cast members, including me, were p****d off," he added. "I never really spoke to Jessie Wallace, who plays Kat Slater, or any of the other Slaters. I didn't like them. They all wanted the limelight and you could see what they were trying to do.
"They were a nightmare between scenes, gossiping all the time. They think they're better than the other cast members.
"There was a saying we had on set which was, If you're not a Slater, see you later'.
"But not only did I have to face that every dayI had to put up with two-faced bitching cast members.
"The main culprits were Jessie Wallace and Hannah Waterman, who plays Laura Beale. They were always being nice to each other's face, but when they were apart they'd just slag each other off."
Besides the Slater family, said Jack, Wendy Richard, who stars as Pauline Fowler, and Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale, also get the kid-glove treatment.
"There's a definite pecking order," he insisted. "Wendy and Adam have been in the longest and were always favourites.
"I remember Wendy, especially, could do whatever she wanted and get away with it. She has this dog called Shirley, who's the only pet allowed to roam on set. I once brought in mine, a boxer called Hendrix, but they wouldn't let me keep him on set and because I couldn't leave him at home I had to sell him. It was ridiculous. One cast member who thinks he's above others is Ian Lavender, who plays Pauline's friend Derek. He's quite a snob.
"I remember Dean Gaffney (Robbie Jackson) and I were playing football in the corridor and we didn't realise he was asleep in his dressing room. Obviously, the ball kept banging on the doors and he came out. Dean hid behind a bin and I just looked at him and he said, This is not a playground'. He was talking to us like a bunch of kids."
"Then there's Gary Beadle, who plays Paul Trueman. He tries to be everyone's friend but I didn't have time for him at all.
"He was out every night trying to get in the papers. He even gatecrashed a Holly Valance party and sneaked up behind her, just so he could get his picture taken."
At the beginning of last year, said Jack, "the executives upstairs" called him in and told him that they were planning a series of strong storylines for Jamie. These would include his marriage to Sonia Jackson, played by Natalie Cassidy, at Christmas.
"They were b*****ds," he adds bitterly. "As the stories unfolded they went back on their word and it was the same old Jamie fighting Phil Mitchell and just carrying on with his relationship with Sonia.
"It wasn't hard being Jamie in the end because he didn't do anything. I'd just sit in the cafe ordering tea or a bacon sandwich.
"The execs also didn't like me going out with Kym. They never let her come into my dressing room in case she saw the script and sold it to the papers, which was ludicrous."
When it was clear he was determined to leave, producers discussed a plan to write Jamie out of the plot for two years or so.
"I'd see how things went on the outside," he went on. "Then they had a plot written for me to get off with Belinda Slater. What was all that about?
"It was clear once again that the Slaters are the new in' people and bosses thought How can we get her in for a few episodes? Oh yes, she can sleep with Jamie'."
Finally Jack was summoned to the office of executive producer Louise Berridge.
"She told me I was going to be killed off," he said. "I was gutted. They'd lied to me."
Jack's character Jamie died in hospital after he was hit by Martin Fowler's car.
"I couldn't watch EastEnders on Christmas Day. I didn't want to ruin Kym and the kids' day," he explained. "I recorded it and watched it on my ownand cried. I was saying goodbye to a friend who helped me get my wife, house, cars and money.
"Mind you, there was the odd bit of light relief. During the filming of my death scene I was supposed to grab Phil Mitchell's hand, but Steve McFadden, who plays Phil, sneaked a doner kebab in and slapped it in my palm. I suddenly felt this cold, mushy thing dripping with chili sauce!
"Steve's the best actor in the soap by far. He looked after me from day one.
"When the final version was completed it was very emotional. I was never going to play Jamie opposite my only friends on the set againSteve, Babs Windsor (Peggy Mitchell), Dean Gaffney and Natalie Cassidy.
"Usually, when you filmed your last scenes, one of the executives would come and say a few words, but none of them did.
"I couldn't care less what happens to the other actors, they were just people I had to work with. And now that I've left I'll never watch EastEnders again."
(Taken from the NOTW website.)
Kym's interview with The Sunday Mirror
|I DON'T LIKE MY JACK KISSING SONIA,BUT HE WIPES HIS MOUTH BEFORE HE SETS OFF FOR HOME
IT'S two months to the day since she married Jack Ryder and Kym Marsh still can't keep the silly smile off her face. "Actually, I sent Jack some flowers this morning to the set of EastEnders," she says, "along with chocolates and a balloon...
"It's almost an obsession with me, I love that man so much."
And anyone, she says, who tells you that getting married is no more than acquiring a piece of paper obviously hasn't tried it. "You have to stand up in public and say in front of everyone that you'll forsake all others. But that wasn't a problem for me and Jack. We both believe in loyalty. We both believe in fidelity."
She laughs. "And he's such a pin-up! He's loved by loads of young girls. But I don't get jealous. At the end of the day, I'm the one who shares his bed." Not that she can ever be totally relaxed about watching 21-year-old Jack, who plays Jamie in EastEnders, kissing co-stars like Natalie Cassidy (pictured below as Sonia).
"I know he's only acting but you never quite get used to it. Still, someone let me into a secret recently. Apparently, when the cameras stop rolling after he's finished kissing Sonia or whoever, he always wipes his mouth with a tissue. Then he climbs in his car and drives home to me. Sweet, isn't it?"
So much has been written about 26-year-old Kym - her diva temperament, her forked tongue it's a surprise to discover she only has the one head. And very striking it is, too, with its pale skin and enormous hazel eyes framed by jet black hair.
"It's true," she says, 'I won't let people walk all over me. Jack's always telling me to let things go. But I find it hard."
In a restaurant recently with her parents and her two children, David, seven, and four-year-old Emily, Kym asked the manageress how long they would have to wait for a table. "When I was told it would be an hour-and-a-half, I said we wouldn't bother.
"As we were walking out, this guy suddenly piped up: 'Yeah, you have to f***ing queue like the rest of us.'
"So I walked over to him. I said: 'Excuse me, did you hear me ask to push in?' When he admitted he hadn't, I simply said: 'Well, there you are.' How dare he!"
Kym Marsh, it seems, is a magnet for trouble but she says things get exaggerated.
"I didn't throw a strop at my wedding and stamp off to my room. I went to have my hair taken down."
What about her relationship with EastEnders, though? Recent rumours have suggested Kym is not welcome at her husband's place of work. She's been hanging around too much, it's said, and Jack has been taking the flak.
"I do go to his dressing room," she says, "but I've been on the set just once in my life. Mind you, Jack did get into trouble on that occasion.
"I was persuaded to stand in the background outside the supermarket for one scene. Just for a laugh. Jack got a right telling-off afterwards. It was stupid.
"He was told I should never have been on the set because then I might find out about some of the storylines. Don't they think we talk at home?"
Not that she'd do anything to upset her husband's relationship with the show, she says. "Jack loves EastEnders but he's been in it for nearly six years now and he's not renewing his contract when it runs out in November because he no longer finds it fulfilling. It's time to move on."
But while Jack Ryder keeps his counsel, his feisty wife feels no such constraint.
"I've nothing to do with the show," says Kym, "so I'm allowed to say what I think. And there are some issues on EastEnders, especially where partners are concerned.
"I personally feel there's a certain amount of resentment of Jack. He attracts quite a bit of publicity, both on his own account and via anything I might do.
"Ever since he announced he was leaving, there have been stories in the papers about my relationship with Jack and his with EastEnders.
"People think I was the reason he left but that wasn't the case.
"In the end, I rang up one of the executives. I said: 'Look, if there's a problem with me, I'd like to sort it out. What I don't like is my name being spread across the newspapers as being Jack's problem on EastEnders'."
But then Kym is no stranger to bad press. Her well-documented departure from Hear'Say at the beginning of this year was dusted off again a couple of weeks ago when the band suddenly announced they were splitting up.
shocked when I heard the news," she says.
"Yes, they had become the butt of a few jokes. But I was sure they'd go away for six months or so and then come back and really wow people with the next phase in the band's development. To me, they had more of a point to prove after all the mickey- taking and people appearing on TV wearing black armbands, pretending to be upset. But they just caved in."
A bit wimpy? "Well, I must say I thought they would have got the bit between their teeth and marched on. I would have done. I'd never have given up."
Kym, it seems, has a short memory. Wasn't she the very first person to give up on Hear'Say?
So who does Kym think has a reasonable hope of a solo career now that Hear'Say have disbanded?
"Both Noel and Danny have great voices. In fact, I expected them to be doing the lead vocals on their last single.
"But having said that, from a marketing point of view, Myleene must be the one who has the best chance. She was always the frontperson for Hear'Say.
"I can't say I ever sat there wanting to be the leader of the group. But most of the time I was chosen to sing lead vocals. And I think that's what caused some of the problems." Does Kym have lingering regrets about leaving the band? "I can't sit here and lie. There were arguments, of course there were. We were five very different people under incredible pressure. There was bound to be bickering.
"And I did begin to feel I was the black sheep. Then, when I found Jack, I was made to feel even more of an outsider.
"I was the only one with children, the only one with a relationship. But it all seems a bit silly now."
She's keen to accentuate the positive. But even Saturday, August 10, her wedding day, had a sad echo which Kym was only to discover midway through the next week when she and Jack were honeymooning in Corfu.
In a telephone call to her sister back in England, Kym learned that her childhood boyfriend, Tony Anderton, 27, had been found hanged at his sister Sandra's home.
"I couldn't believe it," she says now. "I was only 14 when we went out together but we'd remained really good friends. He was always the clown in our little gang, always the joker. You'd never in a million years think he'd get so low that he'd take his own life.
"His marriage had broken up and his two daughters were with his wife. He left a note saying he was really depressed. No job, no wife, no kids. I felt such a mixture of shock and sadness. It seems such a waste. And those little girls haven't got a dad now. I'm going to go and see them both soon."
Kym attaches much importance to family. "My kids are the most important thing in my life," she says, "always will be. And Jack is absolutely fantastic with them."
Do they plan a family of their own one day? "Oh yes. Babies are definitely on the agenda."
But not for a year or so. In January, Kym will launch her solo career - with a single and an album. She and Jack will also move into a house they're having built in St Albans, Herts.
"I'm giving our current house to my mum and dad. He had a cardiac arrest a few years ago and can't get a mortgage as a result. They were both so good to me when I was on my own with the children after I split with their father and, more recently, when my career took off."
Kym's declared ambition, she announced at one point during her time with Hear'Say, was to make a million. Did she achieve it? "Near enough," she says, "which I've invested in bricks and mortar."
Doesn't she worry now, though, that she and Jack are both launching off into the unknown at the same time?
"Not at all. Jack wants to get into films and good quality TV drama." She smiles. "But the first thing he's going to do is have his hair cut. He's getting rid of that tired old Beckham haircut."
He was rumoured to have auditioned for Footballers' Wives. "Even if he had been offered a role in it, he wouldn't have accepted it," says Kym.
"Why leave a great show like EastEnders and go into a drama that might not even have another series after this one?"
And Kym? "It'll be so much easier as a solo artist because I'll have more control over what I do. I can fit things around the children. It's more difficult when you're in a band."
But she'll never regret the Hear'Say experience.
"Less than three years ago, I was living on benefit in Wigan, a single mum with two kids. I'd sing in the local pub and dream one day of standing on the stage at Wembley.
"Well, I got to live that dream," says Kym Marsh. "Which only goes to prove one thing. Always go for it. I don't want to end my life regretting the things I haven't done."
KYM will be switching on the Christmas lights at the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex on Friday, November 1, at 6.30pm.
Kym's my idol, did ya know that?