Actor is leading a double life

EastEnders star John Partridge stars as Billy Flynn in Chicago
EastEnders star John Partridge stars as Billy Flynn in Chicago
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EastEnders star John Partridge is working overtime as he juggles his day job with a stage role in the evening.

He recently returned to the BBC1 soap to reprise his best known role as Christian Clarke, which he previously played for more than five years, writes Ruth Supple.

But he is also working on stage in the role of Billy Flynn in the touring production of Chicago, which comes to the Waterside Theatre on Monday July 11 for a week.

John loves being back in Albert Square and says it is like putting on a nice comfortable pair of slippers. Huge secrecy surrounds EastEnders storylines and any attempt to find out if he is back for an alleged major plot twist is quickly and politely rebuffed.

He said: “I think what I’m filming now will be screening around June. Obviously there’s a long and ongoing storyline with the Beale family and the whole, ‘who killed Lucy?’ thread. Christian has come back to look after Jane Beale and it is going to be a big year for the Beale family.”

After a day on set, John has to transform into Billy Flynn.He said: “I am released at a certain time of day off set at EastEnders so I can continue in the tour of Chicago,and they’ve worked around my schedule which is fantastic.”

He says the response to Chicago has been incredible and he considers it to be a show which was way ahead of its time when it was first released. He said: “It deals with celebrity and celebrity culture and the lengths people will go to, to keep their profile in the media ... murder in this case. It’s real tabloid story stuff and my character Billy Flynn is the king of spin.”

Chicago is at the Waterside at 7.30pm from Monday July 11 through to Saturday July 16 with additional matinees at 2.30pm on the Thursday and Saturday. Tickets from £15, box office 0844 871 7607.