Olympic Torch makes pit stop at the Queen Vic

Tuesday July 24, 2012

The Olympic Torch made an early visit to E20 as the flame took centre stage in an episode of EastEnders.

Perry Fenwick, who has played Billy Mitchell for nearly 14 years, carried the torch through the streets of Walford during an eight-minute live section of the popular BBC soap.

The postcode of the fictional area of East London is E20, which is the same as the real Olympic Village in Stratford, although in reality the show is shot at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire,

Perry was dressed as an official torchbearer however without the trainers as he was sent a pair of bunny slippers instead. He then launched the live insert by winking at the camera and saying: "Here we go!"

Looking visibly nervous before taking over the flame he ran his 300 metres, flanked by the usual torchbearer's police guard.

Perry was cheered on against the backdrop of some of the most famous landmarks in the soap, including The Queen Vic, by some of the best loved characters: Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace, who play Alfie Moon and Kat Slater.

A cast of around 450 extras was also on the set acting as the crowd and it took nineteen cameras to capture the run, which the cast had practised over the weekend.

Two episodes of the soap aired in one evening, and prior to his big moment viewers saw Billy struggling to get back to Walford on time, after becoming trapped on a tube train.

At the end of his stint he handed over the flame before posing for photographers, telling them: "It's Billy Mitchell, 39, single and open to offers." 

The torch wasn't the only excitement on set. Billy's 16-year-old granddaughter Lola Pearce, played by Danielle Harold, also went into labour at the end of the episode, with Billy hectically rushing from carrying the torch to be at her side for the birth.

Photo: BBC

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