EastEnders’ original Martin Fowler actor, who left the soap 17 years ago, has revealed he made a return to Walford recently.
But James Alexandrou said that instead of picking up again as Martin, who is now played by James Bye, this time he was behind the camera.
‘I kind of did go back recently, I shadowed as a director,’ James told Johnny Seifert on Secure The Insecure Podcast.
The Call the Midwife star, 38, took on the role almost two decades after he left the soap – where he began his acting career as a child on the square in 1996.
While on EastEnders, James played Martin, who was married to Natalie Cassidy’s character Sonia, and he left the role in 2007 aged 21.
EastEnders ‘ original Martin Fowler actor James Alexandrou, who left the soap 17 years ago, has revealed he made a return to Walford recently
James Alexandrou said that instead of picking up again as Martin (seen in the soap with Charlie Jones as Ben in 2007), who is now played by James Bye , this time he was behind the camera
In 2014, James Bye took over the role of Martin, with the original actor revealing he had turned down the opportunity to return.
Explaining what a shadow director does, James said: ‘What that means is you go and follow the director and see how they direct the show, and it just so happened that James Bye was on the day that I was shadowing, so I didn’t know that he knew I was there.
‘I think he apparently caught wind of it, and he came on to do a scene, and he kind of went: “Oh, it’s you!” and we just kind of had this… it was a strange moment, it was a really strange moment, because we don’t know each other at all, and the only thing that bonds us are these words on a page called Martin Fowler and it was a really nice moment.’
Discussing the differences between acting and directing for a soap, he said directing is far more ‘intense’.
‘Something like Enders, you might shoot some 25 or 30 pages a day, on a film, you might be shooting two,’ James said.
‘[It’s] kind of a nostalgia thing going back. And I think I’d have a lot of fun doing it.’
He then joked about directing his former on-screen wife Natalie.
James said: ‘You know, I just have to demand that I would have to direct Natalie Cassidy because that would be the most fun thing to do.’
James ruled out ever returning to the show as Martin, saying the door was ‘closed’.
‘Coming back as Martin? I don’t know, that door’s closed in my head.
While on EastEnders, James played Martin, who was married to Natalie Cassidy ‘s character Sonia (seen together in 2006), and he left the role in 2007 aged 21
In 2014, James Bye took over the role of Martin, with the original actor revealing he had turned down the opportunity to return
James joked about directing his former on-screen wife Natalie (seen together in 2006), saying: ‘You know, I just have to demand that I would have to direct Natalie Cassidy because that would be the most fun thing to do’
‘Maybe if the door was open, if James Bye said: “Listen, I’m gone and I don’t want to do it again” then I’d go: “Yeah”.’
But any possible return appears to be a temporary one, as James added: ‘Maybe like a special one off Christmas thing. That might be funny to do that.’
It comes after current Martin actor James Bye revealed he fell and sliced his head during a showing of his Christmas pantomime in Aylesbury in December.
James starred as The Prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Live at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.
He decided to take a short break from the hit soap in order to do a panto season.
James received the injury during the first scene of the show. After they finished for the day, his co-star Rhiannon Chesterton, who plays Snow White, posted a selfie of the two to her Instagram Story.
She captioned the snap: ‘Look at our brave Prince, @jimmybye. Split his head open in the first scene, carried on & decided to ‘make a thing of it’ so strapped up his arm for good measure.’