EastEnders actor James Bye recalls kissing plastic screen’ in socially distanced romance scene

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EastEnders actor James Bye has opened up about some of the techniques the BBC One soap has incorporated since the pandemic.

Recalling the bizarre things he’s had to do to film a scene, the star, who plays Albert Square’s Martin Fowler, told OK! that he and a co-star both had to to kiss a plastic screen to make it appear as though they were having a real-life smooch.

The 37-year-old, who has starred on the soap since 2014, explained to us at this year’s TRIC Awards: “I had to kiss through a screen. We both kissed the plastic – that was odd! I never thought I’d be doing that.”

However, James went on to say that he’s “incredibly proud” that the EastEnders team have managed to adapt and discover new ways of working without compromising on the soap’s quality.

He continued: “The fact that EastEnders has embraced that and we’ve continued telling the stories that we tell with very little difference on screen means we have to give a massive hats off to the whole team.”

James, who stars along the likes of Louisa Lytton, added: “I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.”

James’ co-star Brian Conley – who has been making a big impression as newcomer Rocky, now known to be scheming Thomas Cotton – agreed that the soap is at the top of its game despite the strict restrictions.

In fact, Brian explained that since he joined the cast, he’s become so used to filming socially-distanced scenes – particularly those where tennis balls are put in the place of cast members so that the actors have something in their eye line to focus on.

The 60-year-old actor joked: “We struggled with Wimbledon this year because every time they hit a ball, I thought, “Oh God, it’s Natalie [Cassidy, who plays Sonia].”

Brian added: “It is weird as when you’re filming you do think they might put a mask there, not a ball. But we all seem to have adapted and got used to it now.”

This comes after their cast mate James Farrar, who plays Zack, revealed that the soap had used clever camera tricks to make it look like cast members are interacting with babies in scenes – when they’re actually not on set at all.

The actor told us: “A lot of the time, viewers would think that we’re holding babies. For instance with Albie, Sharon’s little one, it always looks like he’s in the shot with us.”

James went on: “But, in fact, there was a stage where we didn’t see Albie for four months, but we filmed about ten scenes with him.”

“Albie will be filmed on his own – because we’re not allowed to come within two meters of him – and then they will cut that in later on.”

“So I’m actually pretending when viewers will have seen scenes where I’m there with Albie.”

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EastEnders continues on BBC One

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