Ross Boatman feared EastEnders fans wouldn’t care about the Monroe family

Harvey in the East Enders

Harvey understands that it can be very difficult to please fans – he’s one himself! (Image: BBC)

It’s a family that has landed in EastEnders amid much controversy – Harvey Monroe was not happy about daughter Dana’s (Barbara Smith) relationship with Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) and her embrace of the Islamic faith.

And he later found himself in a dire situation when a comment about Ash in his taxi gave the impression that he was bigoted in using the phrase ‘your lot’.

And then it turned out that son Aaron (Charlie Wernham) was involved with the extremist far right – and had plotted to set off a bomb due to his hateful beliefs.

Actor Ross Boatman has acknowledged Harvey’s growth as a character, telling that he’s “evolving into someone who’s more nuanced and three-dimensional”.

New families run the risk of not being well received by fans; It may take a while for them to get used to it.

And Ross was fully aware of that when he got on board – having been a critical fan himself in the past.

Harvey and Aaron in the EastEnders

The clan have been thrust into a number of recent storylines (Picture: BBC)

Harvey in the East Enders

“When you get on the soap opera, you’re never quite sure how you’re going to be received (Picture: BBC)

He said: “I’m hard to please. I’ve watched EastEnders for as long as it’s going and I’m pretty judgmental when new characters come up and I decide whether I like them or not.

Thankfully, fans enjoy and love the clan early on, and a year later, Ross is as excited as ever by the response.

“When you get into a soap opera, you’re never quite sure how audiences are going to react to you,” he mused.

“You hope that you are well received and that they enjoy you and they seem to have embraced you, which is nice, it’s a wonderful feeling.

“The worst feeling would be walking into a soap opera even if you don’t plan to stay long and feel like people will turn off the TV or leave the room to make themselves a cup of tea if it was you At!

“It’s great, it’s really beautiful and I’m enjoying it a lot.”

And part of that could be family authenticity, as the three actors bond well off-screen.

And Ross sees himself as a father figure to Barbara and Charlie; He’s defensive but explains he also gives them the benefit of his varied career.

“The three of us fell into a very warm, caring relationship,” the actor gushed.

“They are not my children and they are young, independent adults with their own careers and lives, but I feel very protective of them and I think they may not see me as a father figure, but as someone who is I’ve been in the business for a long time and have gained a lot of experience.

Harvey in the East Enders

Controversy? You’ve had enough! (Image: BBC)

“They are interested in my journey and relate it to theirs. We laugh a lot and joke a lot about things. It almost feels like they are two of my own children. I love working with them, they are both absolutely brilliant.”

And as a unit, it certainly comes across well on screen as a true family vibe.

Ross added: “I think it made a difference that we all started around the same time – I think Barbara was there maybe a month before we got there – and we were all very excited to welcome the new family on to be in place.

“As an actor, to be in something as iconic as EastEnders is a huge thing, it’s a huge thing and we were all very excited.

Dana and Aaron in the EastEnders

Harvey is full of praise for his younger co-stars; who he feels protected (Image: BBC)

“Charlie had an amazing opportunity to shine in this exciting, controversial story and he did it brilliantly. It is an absolute pleasure to work with him. And Barbara, who plays his loving, sweet, supportive daughter. The relationships we have are really similar in the way they play out.’

You can read the rest of Ross’ in-depth chat by signing up for our free soap operas newsletter, which includes chats, pics, spoilers, news and sneaky hints.

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Ryan Sederquist

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