EastEnders’ Barry star Shaun Williamson ‘can’t get hired’ for serious TV roles

EastEnders legend Shaun Williamson says it’s “tragic” that no one will hire him for serious roles.

The Extras actor, who was killed off as loveable oaf Barry Evans on the soap in 2004, admits it’s his fault he moved away from dramatic acting for comedy roles and reality telly.

And although the multi-talented 54-year-old says his career change has been lucrative for him, he just thinks it’s a shame he can’t get meaty gigs on shows like Line Of Duty – or even highbrow plays.

Shaun said: “You make a conscious decision when you leave a soap that you either stay on the path of being a serious dramatic actor or you become a TV personality and I erred towards the latter.

“That means they won’t hire me to be the serial killer in the next series of Line Of Duty because they would feel I lack credibility in that sort of role.

“But it does mean you get lots of juicy well-paid work – I did Five Go Barging last year and what a craic to be on a barge for two weeks with John Prescott.

“No-one’s going to pay me to be Uncle Vanya in Chekhov and there is something a little bit tragic about that, but that’s just the way it goes.”

Shaun, who played a hilarious fictional version of himself alongside Ricky Gervais in Extras, has spent time in lockdown completing his quizzing memoir A Matter Of Facts.

But he has not ruled out a return to acting in another soap.

Shaun said: ”I love Emmerdale and Coronation Street.

“I think the acting in these shows is as good as it’s ever been.

“They are just not getting the figures because people have got more leisure options, more channels.

“I caught the tail end of it in the mid-1990s when there were only four channels.

“We’d get 20 million people tune in on a Tuesday night when there wasn’t even a murder.

“That’s why the Barry thing has carried on because anyone over 30 just remembers him because there was only a documentary about cheese on the other side.”

EastEnders continues on Thursday at 7.35pm on BBC.

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