Shane Richie opens up on prostate cancer check ahead of storyline
Shane Richie has opened up about the impact his upcoming storyline on EastEnders has had on his personal life.
In recent scenes on the BBC soap, Shane’s EastEnders character Alfie Moon was diagnosed with prostate cancer after he went to the hospital, where doctors ran a series of tests.
Alfie initially believed that the pain and discomfort that he was in was a result of being punched in the stomach by his son Tommy (Sonny Kendall). However, after further checks and a CT scan, it was confirmed that Alfie had cancer.
Speaking on Wednesday night’s The One Show, the actor revealed the significance of this storyline and the connection that it has to his own life.
Shane shared that he received a call from EastEnders’ executive producer, Chris Clenshaw, to call him up to the office.
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And while he originally wondered whether this meeting could be in regards to Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) and Alfie, it was another story that was proposed to him.
Shane recalled Chris asking him: “How would you feel about your character getting prostate cancer?” And the timing of this conversation and the possible storyline really resonated with the actor.
He outlined: “Here’s the thing, absolutely true, I don’t think I’ve told many people this, two days before that meeting I went for a health check for prostate cancer, only because it was on my radar.”
Shane elaborated that he was “getting to that age now” where he was “starting to get reminded” by friends of his after his close friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
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He detailed: “A very close friend of mine, who I’ve known since I was sixteen went through prostate cancer. Thankfully he’s out the other side.”
But this had a real effect on Shane as he reflected on the fact that his friend wasn’t “much older than” him. “And, you know, I’ve got a young family,” he continued.
Shane concluded: “I had a couple of days off from EastEnders, I went along for a check, thankfully I was alright. But two days later, like I said, I had the meeting and he said, ‘How do I feel about doing the story?’”
The star also praised the BBC soap for continuing to highlight important subject matters.
“EastEnders has a track record. They did it with Lola with the brain tumour,” he added. “And I think the strength of the BBC, and certainly EastEnders, when they take on board subjects like this they really do their homework.”
Shane and the EastEnders team have also worked closely with Prostate Cancer UK to accurately portray the illness.
Amy Rylance, Head of Improving Care at the charity, announced: “Including prostate cancer in a major character’s storyline on a national soap presents a huge opportunity to raise awareness of the disease, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the impact this has on the public.”
EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday on BBC One from 7.30pm.
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