EastEnders star Jamie Borthwick has opened up on his real-life friendship with co-star Danielle Harold.
The pair, who play Jay Brown and Lola Pearce respectively, have been getting closer lately following the heartbreaking news that Lola has an inoperable brain tumour.
Despite the emotionally heavy storyline, Borthwick revealed that he and Harold are like “brother and sister”, which helps them to relax following the difficult scenes.
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“We have a laugh on set, we know each other inside out, and we know what makes each other laugh,” he said. “We know when it’s time to be serious, we know when it’s time to be silly. I’ve got Danielle’s back, and she’s got my back; we’re extremely close – we’re like brother and sister, and I’m with her every step of the way.
“This isn’t real, thankfully, and we know how to switch off. I come home, and I go out with friends. I do things I enjoy, and I just kind of switch off that way,” he continued.
The actor, who has played Jay on the soap since 2006, revealed he was pleased with the writers’ decision to reunite the couple following Harold’s return in 2019, saying “Lola is the one for Jay”.
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Borthwick recently discussed the impact that the storyline is having, disclosing that he’d been approached in the street about the tear-jerking scenes.
“It’s nice that it’s being well-received and touching people,” he said. “In the street, people are saying: ‘Oh, Lola can’t die! It’s so sad! I don’t know how I’m going to cope when she actually dies!’ I’m thinking: ‘I know! Me neither!’
“We hope we can make a lot of noise with it and raise awareness about a family going through such a thing. If it’s hitting any of those notes, I’m certainly happy about that.”
Harold, who is filming the scenes as part of her exit storyline, recently said the “humbling” experience had given her a “different outlook on life”.
EastEnders airs on Mondays – Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
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Organisations including Brain Tumour Research, Macmillan Cancer Support and Stand Up to Cancer can provide help and support to those living with brain cancer and their loved ones.