Everything you need to know about EastEnders’ Violet Highway actress Gwen Taylor including husband who helps her learn her lines

Get daily celeb exclusives and behind the scenes house tours direct to your inbox

She’s already an acclaimed star of stage and screen, and now Gwen Taylor is ticking off another major acting milestone by joining the cast of EastEnders.

The 82-year-old actress arrived in Albert Square last night as Stuart and Callum’s straight-talking nan, Violet Highway – a classic Walford matriarch who doesn’t take any prisoners.

Violet is hugely protective of her grandsons and their happiness, so it’s fair to say their respective partners, Ben Mitchell and Rainie Highway, are in her eye line, and she soon makes mincemeat of them with her quick wit and hard facade.

We catch up with Gwen, who is married to playwright Graham Reid, to talk about embracing the character, walking the sets of Walford, and why her family can’t wait to see her on screen…

Get exclusive celebrity stories and fabulous photoshoots straight to your inbox with OK!'s daily newsletter. You can sign up at the top of the page.

Hi Gwen. Violet sounds like a great character…

It’s fun to do and I hope she’s going to be very much enjoyed by people. She’s a lady who says what she thinks without wondering whether anyone might be offended or hurt by it. She’s not crass, just completely plain spoken, and goes in with all guns blazing.

So she’s going to ruffle a few feathers?

She’s going to take on a few people who might not be on the boys’ side. And as the story unfolds, we get to know a lot more about where she’s come from, why she’s arrived, and why she’s not going home.

Is the outspoken side of Violet fun to play?

It’s wonderful. My mum was a bit like that. She would say what she thought and sometimes she didn’t understand that people could be hurt by it, but they’d be too nice and respectful of an older person to say, “Actually, you’ve really upset me.” And people aren’t doing that to Vi either, they’re letting her get away with it. It’s fun to play, but one day she might get her comeuppance…

Have the boys taken you under their wing?

Yes, I’m in the family now. They have been so welcoming, kind and sweet. It’s a real shame that we’re under Covid restrictions because I can’t hug those boys. It’s the same as with my own grandsons. Not being able to hug a nice young man is a terrible crime when you get to my age!

Have you been an avid watcher of EastEnders over the years?

I’ve been a theatre person a lot of the time, I’m often touring or in the theatre, so I’ve missed seeing it go out and I have certain gaps. So I rely on my friends and family – my stepson is an absolute aficionado and he can put me
right on anything I need to know.

What was your first day on set like?

You can’t imagine what it’s like walking on set for this. It’s just incredible. I’ve had a drink in the Queen Vic and I’ve taken on Mo, which I loved.

What’s been the best thing about joining the cast?

It’s challenging and that’s really important to me at the moment. You can bumble along for a long time but then you have to shake yourself off and think, “I’ve got to up my game here!” I have to learn lines every hour of every day and it’s not as easy as it used to be. I’m a few years older than I was, but I have a wonderful husband who goes through the lines with me.

Are your family and friends excited to see you arrive in Albert Square?

Very! They’re really rooting for me so I know I’ve got to deliver.

Will you be having a viewing party to watch together?

Apparently – this is what they’ve threatened! They said they’ll be cheering, but I think I’ll be on my own when my first episode comes out. It’s never easy watching yourself, but if I think Violet adds a little bit of seasoning, to the show, I’ll be pleased.

What have you been most recognised for up until now?

Duty Free [the 1980s sitcom that first made Gwen famous] definitely made an impression. But people don’t really recognise me now as I’m a silver-haired grandma. I’m not mobbed at all – although I might be once I’ve been on EastEnders !

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One

Source: Read Full Article