Perry Fenwick almost turned down the role of Billy Mitchell on 'EastEnders'.

Perry Fenwick

Perry Fenwick

The 55-year-old actor - who has played the clumsy plonker in the long-running soap since 1998 - has admitted he was in two minds about taking on the part when he was first offered it because he was initially told that it would only be for a few episodes.

Speaking to Inside Soap magazine, Perry said: "I had a lot of mates that were in this show. Nick Berry [who played Simon 'Wicksy' Wicks] was my best mate at school, so I'd often visit him on the set and say to myself: 'This is a nice touch.' And to think I nearly turned the role of Billy down when they offered it to me! I found out that it was only for three episodes initially, and I thought this will probably shoot me in the foot if the opportunity for a longer job comes along. But Julia Crampsie - who is the casting director here - basically said to my agent:'Look, he's going to play a Mitchell.' "

And Perry was lucky because Steve McFadden - who plays his on-screen cousin Phil Mitchell - took him under his wing and taught him everything he needed to know.

He explained: "I was lucky in that I had a lot of stuff with Steve McFadden [Phil Mitchell] and he showed me the ropes. That made it easier for me to suss things out, but it's a proper system now. You get cast on the show and two weeks later you're filming it, and six weeks later you can't walk down the road without being recognised."