Christopher Timothy aka James Herriot joins cast of EastEnders

He and Maggie Steed take on Dot Cotton

After Emmerdale won the Bafta for best soap this weekend, and having already scooped the best serial drama award at the NTAs earlier in the year, Coronation Street and EastEnders have been put on notice to seriously up their game.

Scriptwriters are continuously devising more convoluted and dramatic plot lines to entice their audiences but it seems that a decision has been made to introduce some new blood into Albert Square to refresh the format.

Recently, with landlords Mick and Linda absent from the Queen Vic, an opportunity arose to introduce Lee Ryan as the manager of the Walford watering hole and next week we are to be introduced to Ted and Joyce Murray played by Christopher Timothy and Maggie Steed.

Of course Ryan is a novice when it comes to acting, although given that his career was as a pop star in boyband Blue he is surprisingly good and has managed to blur the line very efficiently between his current job and his teen idol past.

Christopher Timothy, by contrast, has a lengthy stage and screen CV, playing everything from classics at the Royal Shakespeare Company to his most well known TV role as James Herriot in the much loved All Creatures Great and Small.

Timothy was as well known to TV audiences as the Yorkshire vet in the 70s as Dot Cotton (June Brown) is now on Albert Square. In fact, it is rather amusing that the scriptwriters have decided that they will not only be neighbours on the square but that the Murrays and Dot Cotton have a history which will kick off the retired couple’s arrival in Walford.

In fact, at 76, Christopher is no spring chicken and should perhaps be considering slowing down himself, although 90-year-old June puts paid to the idea of ever giving up the roar of the crowd and the greasepaint. It seems EastEnders is becoming an Equity twilight home.

The Murrays will join the rest of the cast next week, with Timothy outlining their characters explaining that: “They are quite affectionate, and they take the ride out of each other, but that's what every good marriage is like. There's a sense of humour underlying their relationship. You have your ups and downs, but actually everything's fine."
 
Perhaps this couple will inject some stability and normality into a script that is often locked into the dark corners of life, or perhaps they come to Albert Square with a secret that will explode their comfy facade in the weeks and months ahead?

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