Jamie Borthwick is celebrating 10 years on EastEnders as Jay Mitchell and, here, he shares some of his experiences with TV Times...
It’s 10 years ago this month that Jamie Borthwick first arrived in EastEnders as Jay Mitchell. Since then, he’s had all manner of drama to contend with – the untimely death of his dad, Jase, getting charged with grooming underage girlfriend Linzi and, more recently, dabbling in the murky world of drug dealing.
We caught up with actor Jamie Borthwick, who was just 12 when he joined EastEnders, to talk about his highlights from the past decade – including the time he fell in love with a certain co-star…
Can you recall your first day of filming?
“It was on location in a cemetery in Watford. Jay’s grandma had died and it was her funeral. I can still remember my first line – Jay’s granddad, Bert and Pat Butcher walked past and I said ‘Gizza fag!’ I also remember that I had a bacon sandwich – sometimes, it’s the little things you remember, isn’t it? I was so excited by it all; the nerves were overshadowed by the excitement. It was odd not being in the actual square, and I hoped that I’d get to go there and see everyone.”
What was filming screen dad Jase’s death like?
“Looking back, I didn’t really understand what was going on at the time. I was just used to having a laugh at work, and then I had something serious to do.
“Everyone told me to watch a film called The Champ with Jon Voight – he plays a boxer with a young son and he dies in the dressing room after winning his fight. I remember watching that and thinking ‘I’m gonna have that’ and that’s what I based it on. Everyone was talking about that scene afterwards, and my dad mentioned it the other day actually. He said ‘I remember watching that; you made me cry, boy.'”
Did you go to Dame Barbara Windsor’s 70th birthday bash?
“Apparently, she had a dead posh party at The Ritz, but I didn’t go to that because I was only a baby. But I did go to her birthday drinks at work and it was lovely to be invited. I got her a nice card and we had a photo together that I’ve still got, and it was the first time I met her husband, Scott, who’s now my agent. She came to my 21st last year and got me a bottle of champagne and lovely blue jumper from a shop in Bond Street.”
How did you feel when you won the British Soap Award for best dramatic performance from a young actor?
“I’ve always said that I won’t judge my career on my awards, but it’s a nice bonus when you win, and this is still on the mantelpiece. I was up against my old mate Brooke Vincent from Corrie and I was shaking like a leaf when I won. I had a pink tie on and I can remember that Hannah Spearritt from S Club 7 was one of the people who presented it to me. I dedicated it to my grandmother, who had just died, and we had a party afterwards at my parents’ pub.”
Can you tell us about falling in love with Emma Barton?
“I was about 14 when I first set eyes on Emma Barton (who plays Honey). I fell in love with her long, shapely legs and I wanted to marry her! Perry (Fenwick, who plays Billy) told me to chat her up, and I remember walking over to her and saying ‘Alright darlin’…, `wow, you smell nice.’ It brought the house down and we still laugh about it now.
“I love working with Emma. I won’t say what it is, but we have something in common that’s very rare and very special that brings us together. I still try and chat her up and say that one day, we’ll get married, but she’s having none of it!”