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EastEnders

EXCLUSIVE: EastEnders Barry legend Shaun Williamson teases major career move after overwhelming response

Actor Shaun Williamson might be known to millions as 'Barry from EastEnders' but the star has revealed his career away from the stage and screen which he did not expect

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EastEnders star Shaun Williamson has teased that he’s extremely busy with new career plans.

The star who shot to fame as unlucky in love Barry Evans on the BBC One soap appeared in over 1000 episodes and instantly became a national treasure. But Shaun decided to quit the programme after nine years in 2003 after he was refused permission to take time off to appear in a pantomime.

But now, the 58-year-old actor is not just known for his work on stage and on the screens. Instead, he’s found a new fanbase having performed at festivals across the country. Nowadays, a staple piece of his career includes Barrioke which he admits he had no idea it would become such a success.

Shaun Williamson has opened up about being known as 'Barry from EastEnders'

Shaun Williamson has opened up about being known as ‘Barry from EastEnders’ 

Image:

BBC)

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But away from the stage and screen, Shaun is known for performing his Barrioke at various festivals including Tramlines and Truck Festival

But away from the stage and screen, Shaun is known for performing his Barrioke at various festivals including Tramlines and Truck Festival 

Image:

Sachin Jethwa/REX/Shutterstock)

“It’s been incredible,” he exclaimed before adding: “I genuinely, honestly with all my heart never thought it would take off like this. We thought we’d have a laugh. We kicked off at festivals before Covid and it went down really well and then Covid hit. I really think there was an appetite for people to get out in a big way after Covid.

“I thought it would last a year but next year, we’ve got 80 gigs booked. It’s amazing to go up and down the country. I’m really touched because people just want to have a good time but the affection shown is just incredible, I never thought it would last this long.” Shaun continued: “I left EastEnders, I think Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant helped keep the ball in the air by calling me Barry relentlessly during Extras and Life’s Too Short but I never thought that it would last this long, so I’m incredibly grateful.”

Two festivals Shaun will be taking to the stage this summer include Tramlines in Sheffield, South Yorks, and Truck Festival in Oxfordshire. “I am coming to Tramlines, we’ll be doing Tramlines and Truck Festival this summer.” Although he left EastEnders two decades ago, Shaun admits he had no idea that his character would still be as famous as it is. But he also revealed he’d “had enough” of being known for that role.

He and X Factor star Honey G teamed up with Deliveroo and the Trussell Trust for the Not So Silent choir

He and X Factor star Honey G teamed up with Deliveroo and the Trussell Trust for the Not So Silent choir 

Image:

James Linsell-Clark/PinPep)

“I’d had enough of it by 2009,” he said before adding: “There are two things you can do when you leave a soap and you’ve been that character for a long time. You can either embrace it or you can almost put yourself out of well-paid work and go back to the fundamentals of appearing in small theatres in parts you wouldn’t normally get casted in.

“In the end I went, ‘It’s not bad being Barry,’ there’s no pretension there anymore, I’m Barry in pantomime and Barry in Barrioke.” Recently, Shaun teamed up with the Trussell Trust to raise vital funds ahead of Christmas with a rather tuneless comedy choir. Shaun who often tours the country in panto explained that this is a cause close to his heart due to the ongoing cost of living crisis.

He and X Factor star Honey G partnered up for the Not So Silent Choir which was brought together by Deliveroo who will be encouraging users to donate to the Trussell Trust via its in-app round-up feature. Discussing the partnership which sees a choir of terrible singers come together, Shaun joked he didn’t take it as “too much of an insult”, adding: “The Trussell Trust is a brilliant charity, that organises food banks, they’ve got 1300 food banks in the country, which is shameful but needed.

“Deliveroo have this wonderful round-up thing. I think they’ve raised about three million meals for people, let’s face it, it’s bad enough being homeless or hungry anyway but at Christmas? It must be awful, it’s that time of the year that people do get the message to help people out.

“It’s a humorous video but it’s good to get a deadly serious message across in a humorous way. They’ve done their research and apparently, a lot of people still think traditionally that carol singing is a wonderful part of Christmas. Deliveroo is going to match every donation made by people who round up the cost of their meals. They’re going to do their homework and in between the 23rd and 30th of December, the town which raised the most money are going to get an exclusive performance by a very famous musician – they’re going to have a good concert.”

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