EastEnders star Diane Parish has described her character’s current predicament as “a very important story about social injustice”.
Denise Fox – played by Parish since 2006 – is currently enduring the effects of having no money in the soap opera after she quit her job at the Minute Mart convenience store amid a dispute with bosses. The income-less Walford resident will be shown visiting a food bank in tonight’s episode of the BBC One saga as she continues to feel the pressure from her situation.
“From a personal point of view, there are people in my life who I think are absolutely fine, [yet] they don’t always pick up the phone to people,” Diane told Huffpost UK.
“Somebody very close to me would have had to resort to – nearly did, but thankfully didn’t in the end – a food bank. It’s a question of just surviving and thinking, people are just living week to week. What we’re trying to say is – what I do know to be true – is that anybody, at any time, in our current situation in the world and in our country, can find themselves in Denise’s position. It’s the slipperiest of slopes: our social system and our welfare system.
“People are sort of demonised as ‘scroungers’, but the books are there to say that there are many people who find themselves hungry at night and there are children that go to school [hungry]. The definition of poverty is a grey area for us, in this country. We hear ‘poverty’ and see adverts for Unicef and Red Cross, and that’s what we see, but it’s all relative.”
The actress also explained that in pursuing a GCSE qualification Denise wants something that is “just for her” after some unpleasant experiences. She also told the publication that she feels Denise has unresolved issues over her recent decision to give her baby up for adoption.
Praising the soap’s Executive Producer whose decision to portray more the ‘nitty gritty’ of life has been controversial with some fans who had become accustomed to high drama in Walford to say the least, Diane said: “If all we want is primary colours painted for us at 7.30pm every night then I’m afraid Sean O’Connor isn’t going to do that – and I give him massive props for that. His long-term agenda is talking about the real Britain and the world we’re living in, in the best way he can, within the constraints of the soap.”