Wannabe Walforders audition for EastEnders spin-off in Waterford

Anne Healy, Michael Hackett, and Una Corbett. Pictures: Mary Browne

Call it the Curse of Walford’s Albert Square.

All week the sunny south-east had been living up to its name, but as soon as there’s a whiff of EastEnders in the air — a show not noted for its sunny disposition — things turn gloomy.

Pity those hundreds of soap hopefuls who turned out yesterday afternoon in Dunmore East to queue in the rain. Not even a sighting of Jesse Wallace or Shane Richie to lighten the atmosphere.

Well, if you want to be part of a spin-off of EastEnders, you gotta be prepared to hang in there when the going gets miserable.

And to be fair to the masses as they huddled outside and, after some time, inside the Waterford Harbour Sailing Club for the casting call, they tried to remain on the positive side of life. Novices, eh? You wouldn’t catch Ian Beale being positive.

The call went out for people of all ages and sizes, colours and appearances, and they duly showed up to become part of Red Water, the BBC production due to film six episodes around Dunmore East in the coming months.

A second casting session for extras takes place at noon today at Central Arts in Waterford city.

Les Brown of the sailing club reckoned the production will be “great for the village” and will showcase the beauty of Dunmore East, nestling on the western edge of Waterford Harbour, to the world: “It could be very good for tourism.”

At the Eastenders auditions at Waterford Sailing Club are front row from left; Mary O’Connor, PJ and Jina Cronn, Ruth Daly; back row: Pat Phelan and Kieran Cronin. Picture: Mary Browne

Ruth Daly, a local in the queue, agreed that “everybody is just so excited about it,” and was herself hoping for an opportunity in front of the camera.

“I’m waiting to be discovered,” she laughed, before replying to the Irish Examiner’s question about her dramatic experience: “My whole life is a drama!”

Pat ‘The Goat’ Phelan surely had a good chance of catching the eye of producers with such a nickname.

“Singing and a bit of blackguarding,” was the extent of his experience of the dramatic arts while his nickname came from “the goats on the hill in Passage [East]. My grandfather came from Passage”.

Anne Healy from Tramore emerged from the process unscathed and said there was no indication, yea or nay, from those involved about her prospects.

“You had to fill in the form and just give your details and they took photos of you. They will be making a decision.”

Martin and Lisa Girdwood travelled together from Waterford city.

“It’s amazing how many vain people there are,” said Martin. “I said to the wife, ‘would George Clooney ever have to do anything like this?’”

Asked about any experience that would help their chances for an EastEnders spin-off, Martin’s reply was on the money: “We’re married, if that’s any good.”

The next Kat and Alfie?


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