From anonymity to soap stardom - a whirlwind 24 hours for Jersey's new EastEnders star

From anonymity to soap stardom - a whirlwind 24 hours for Jersey's new EastEnders star
  • Islander Jonny Labey joining the cast of EastEnders

  • The news has received a great deal of national media attention.

  • Online fans speculating about the character's sexuality and which character he will be paired with.

  • Fellow Islanders delighted by the news

ISLANDERS have been been expressing their delight at the news that Jerseyman Jonny Labey is to join the cast of EastEnders.

Vicky Le Riche: Super proud of you Jonny Labey.

Jude Gosselin: EastEnders is so depressing! But good luck!

Karen Scott: Collette Labey how proud a Mum are you! Great news.

Patricia Diane Mckenna: Congrulations Jonny Labey. Well Collette Labey and Mark Labey, you must be so proud.

Helen Smith: So exciting. Great news, congratulations! (We will start watching EastEnders now)

Melanie Luce: Fantastic news Jonny.

The Jersey Evening Post online revealed yesterday that the 22-year-old will be appearing in the soap opera - one of the UK's most popular television shows - from June.

The former Grouville School and Victoria College student will play former club rep Paul Coker and has already begun filming on the show, which broadcasts on primetime BBC One four nights a week and regularly attracts audiences of up to nine million people.

The news has already received widespread national media attention, with news outlets, as well as TV and soap gossip sites all running stories about his EastEnders casting.

On the JEP's Facebook page, fellow Islanders were quick to congratulate the young star, who spent his youth performing in a number of local productions.

'Well done Jonny,' said Nicole Jean Atkinson. 'So good to see a Jersey boy doing so well. Very very well done kiddo.'

The young performer, who was heavily involved with the Grouville Battle of Flowers team for a number of years and performed on stage at Jersey Live in 2011, playing guitar and singing one of his original songs, said yesterday that he was excited about becoming the UK's newest soap star.

'I am overjoyed to have been given the role of Paul Coker and am thrilled to be joining the show as it marks its 30th anniversary,' he said. 'I know I've got a lot of work to do to live up to the talent I shall be working with, but I have never felt more welcome and cannot wait to get started.'

Commenting on Facebook, Katie Killip said: 'I always knew Jonny would be famous one day! Congratulations I am over the moon for you and your family.'

See a picture gallery of Jonny through the years here

Meanwhile, local singer Jaime Boylan posted: 'Huge congrats to you! Can't wait to see you in action!'

The son of Mark and Collette Labey, Jonny left the Island in 2011, aged 18, to take a three-year BA course at the Doreen Bird College of Performance in Sidcup, for which he received a bursary from the Jersey Arts Trust.

Since graduating last year he has already performed in London production In The Heights, starred in the film Soft Lad, about a young man who falls in love with another man, and performed in a West End production of White Christmas.

SINCE the news broke yesterday, Jonny has been receiving a great deal of national media attention, with newspapers and magazines, as well as TV and soap gossip sites all running stories about his EastEnders casting.

The Mirror online compared the Islander to a 'Poldark-look-a-like' with a poll asking whether people agreed he looked like a young version of Poldark actor Aidan Turner.

Meanwhile, many young fans commented online that Jonny in fact looked like One Direction star Harry Styles.

The hottest topic of conversation among soap fans online though has been which character could be the potential love interest for his character Paul.

Many have been speculating that the character could be gay, believing that this is something that EastEnders executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins is hinting at when he described the character as 'being comfortable with exactly who he is'.

Many also thought that the non gender-specific revelation that he would set 'one heart in particular racing' was also a clue.

All will be revealed when he makes his first on screen appearance in June.

  • The first episode of EastEnders broadcast on BBC One on 19 February 1985.

  • With 30.15 million viewers, the Christmas Day 1986 episode of EastEnders remains the highest rated episode of any soap in UK television history.

  • The real life inspiration for Albert Square was Fassett Square in Hackney.

  • The show's iconic theme tune, composed by Simon May, beat the National Anthem in a 2008 poll to be named the most recognisable piece of music in the UK.

  • Ian Beale is the soap’s longest serving EastEnders character – appearing in the first ever episode and playing a key role in the recent 30th anniversary episodes.

  • If you sat down and watched every episode of EastEnders back to back it would take you around 104 days.

  • It currently broadcasts on BBC One on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings.

  • The show celebrated its 30th anniversary in February with a live week, with every episode containing live scenes and one episode broadcast totally live.

  • The 30th anniversary live week, which saw the shock return of Kathy Beale and the long-await reveal of Lucy Beale’s killer, had an overall reach of 20 million viewers – 35 per cent of the UK population.

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