Jamie Foreman based 'Enders character on gangster dad
Jamie Foreman has based his 'EastEnders' alter-ego Derek Branning on his gangster father, Freddie 'Brown Bread Fred' Foreman
Jamie Foreman has based his 'EastEnders' alter-ego on his gangster father.
The 'Layer Cake' actor - who portrays Walford hardman Derek Branning in the BBC One soap - explained the character is an extension of his true-life East End bad boy dad Freddie 'Brown Bread Fred' Foreman, who served jail time for assisting notorious gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray in two killings.
However, while he admits his father was a "very dangerous man", Jamie wanted to show that gangsters can also have humourous and charming sides.
He said: "I'd go into a pub with dad and it would all go quiet. He's in his 80s now, but back in the day he was a top man in that world. I've always grown up with a very loving father, but he was a very dangerous man.
"That is what I wanted to bring to Derek. He's an ordinary guy. He can be nasty and he can be dangerous, but he's got humour and charm. He's not a monster walking round the corner. He's just like the men I grew up with, I'm a pedigree in that world."
Jamie also revealed his decision to become an actor in the first place was influenced by veteran 'EastEnders' actress Barbara Windsor - who played Queen Vic landlady Peggy Mitchell for 16 years - as she was a pal of his gangster dad.
He added on ITV1's 'This Morning': "He was in the Scrubs and I said to my mum, 'I want to get into something different, I don't want to go to prison'.
"I had an interest in theatre and films and told my dad I wanted to become an actor. He told me to talk to Barbara about it and it all came together. She told me to go to Italia Conti, the best stage school, and then said I was on my own, which was the best advice she could ever give me.
"Those kind of worlds always rubbed shoulders. I've have nothing but great support from all of the firm, all of the family, all of the chaps."