bonnie langford

Bonnie Langford would ‘never say never’ to an EastEnders return as she supports struggling theatre industry

She's an ambassador for the Theatre Support Fund+

Bonnie Langford has revealed she’d “never say never” to a return to EastEnders.

The star of stage and screen is about to celebrate 50 years in the entertainment industry, her long and varied career having kicked off when she appeared on Opportunity Knocks at the age of just six.

Having appeared on Broadway at the tender age of 10, theatre is Bonnie’s first love.

And, speaking exclusively to Entertainment Daily, she revealed she’s passionate about supporting the arts and her work with the Theatre Support Fund+.

Bonnie Langford on the red carpet
Bonnie Langford will celebrate 50 years in showbiz next year (Credit: Splash News)

What did Bonnie Langford say about EastEnders?

Bonnie left her role as Walford’s Carmel Kazemi in November 2018.

But would she ever make a return?

“I don’t think Carmel’s dead so who knows. I don’t write it but I loved being there, it was great,” she said.

“It was very different, that’s what you do it for, to be able to do something different. Never say never,” she admitted. “I’m an actor, I’ve got to work.”

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Bonnie admitted she “occasionally” watches the show now but hated watching herself back on it.

“I do watch it occasionally, I pop in and out but I never watched it when I was in it either. I don’t like watching myself, we only watch it for technical reasons, to check you’re doing the right thing.”

Asked what she thinks of on-screen son Kush’s current storyline, Bonnie said that perhaps he needs his mum back.

“Oh no he needs his mother back! Carmel went to Dubai but she might have to come back and make sure he’s behaving himself.

“I absolutely adored working there, it was great fun, who knows, you never know do you,” she said.

Bonnie Langford in EastEnders
Bonnie loved playing Carmel on EastEnders and wouldn’t rule out a return (Credit: BBC)

The show must go on

Bonnie is preparing for a one-woman show, which takes place in London next month, to celebrate her 50-year career in the entertainment industry.

And one aspect of the industry that she can’t wait to return is theatre.

“We’re all freelance, we don’t get furlough, most people have fallen through the cracks of the self-employment income support scheme,” she said.

“And suddenly there’s no money at all – not even the little satellite industries. All those people are without income and the bills don’t stop.”

Suddenly there’s no money at all – not even the little satellite industries. All those people are without income and the bills don’t stop.

A proud ambassador of the Theatre Support Fund+, Bonnie has teamed up with ice cream makers Northern Bloc on a new flavour designed to support the industry.

The TSF has already raised half a million pounds for the industry, Bonnie revealed, but it isn’t just financial support the organisation offers.

“It’s just wonderful to think people within the industry are supporting those in the industry. Not only financially but emotionally as well because this is tough to get through.”

Bonnie Langford and Christopher Biggins
Bonnie has teamed up with her friend of 40 years Christopher Biggins to support a new ice cream launched to help fund the Theatre Support Fund+ (Credit: Northern Bloc)

‘We pay our tax like everybody else’

Asked what she thinks of the government‘s handling of the arts during the pandemic, Bonnie admitted things have been “extremely difficult”.

“We are people who are prepared to work for a living, we don’t want to sit around. It always annoys me when people say: ‘Oh you’re resting.’ Resting is the time when, as all freelancers will know, you’re out there trying to get another job.

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“Nobody expects to be given anything for nothing. However, we do pay our tax like everybody else and in fact sometimes a heck of a lot and it can feel difficult.

“The thing that’s been hardest of all is the fact there are certain people in the world who have turned round and said we should retrain because our jobs are not viable. That is really awful.

“What would everybody be doing if for example there wasn’t any telly, any music, there wasn’t any art or film, we’d all be absolutely falling apart. I think it would be dystopian.

“So don’t underestimate the power of the arts,” she added.

“It’s my job, it pays my mortgage and my tax and I need to be able to do it.

“Hopefully we can really come back and show what’s been missed,” she concluded.

Northern Bloc’s The Show Must Go On White Chocolate and Honeycomb limited-edition vegan ice cream supports theatre staff this panto season. You can buy it exclusively in Waitrose. It costs £5 for 500ml and profits are donated to the Theatre Support Fund+.

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