EastEnders actor accuses soap of treating extras like 'third class citizens' making them eat last and stand in the rain

A FORMER EastEnders actor has accused the soap of treating background staff like “third class citizens” and claimed it’s plagued by inequality.

Damon King, 51, from London, worked on EastEnders as a freelancer over two decades, appearing as a market stall trader in the Square between 2018 and 2020.

He claims background artists were made to eat after its famous stars while filming on location and had their own designated seating area away from the main cast at the soap's old Elstree Studios.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Damon said: “People think it’s a glamorous job and all that sort of stuff but it’s not really.

“They’re a funny old bunch, the BBC. They like to pride themselves on equality, but I’ve never worked for a company that’s more unequal than them. It comes right from the top and trickles down. The lack of respect we get as artists, it’s very apparent.”

A spokesman for EastEnders has strongly denied all of the actor's claims.

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Damon praised show legends Adam Woodyatt, Lindsey Coulsen and the late Dame Barbara Windsor for sticking up for backing talent.

He told how a room once contained just two chairs beneath a ‘background seating’ sign, despite there being many more background artists on site, segregating them from other actors.

Carol Jackson actress Lindsey, who left the soap eight years ago, took it up with management and it was swiftly changed.

Damon said: “Lindsey got wind of this, walked in and yanked the sign off the wall and said ‘it’s not acceptable’ and took it up with management," said Damon. "It was removed permanently after this. So thank you, Lindsey.

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“Barb was always supportive, to everyone at every level. Always had time to disperse advice and help younger cast members.

“Adam on one occasion stood up for us. At a location filming we were used to being served last and behind everyone else. But he said ‘no, this isn’t right’ and we should be treated with equal rights. So that one day we were allowed to queue and eat along with everyone else."

Actor Damon alleges that while filming autumn scenes in thick coats on a hot summer's day, background artists weren’t given water or refreshments while crew members and big name stars were.

Similarly, he said when it poured with rain, only stars of the show were given umbrellas.

“We, as the lowest low, we wouldn't be offered them,” he said. “Everybody else gets offered these things, but we are literally bypassed, we’re almost seen as less than human, to be honest with you.”


He also claimed staff were “kept like cattle” in the middle of winter when a room they were in needed to be used by a group of teenagers working on the set.

“We were sent to a room with no heating, no lighting, almost like how you would keep cattle. It’s just that level of disregard for us,” he said.

And he accused a director of 'yelling and swearing' at background talent for not acting with enough emotion during a major scene involving Zack Morris's Keegan Baker, despite them being briefed not to 'overact'.

“It just sets the tone,” said Damon. “We’re not to be treated nicely or fairly. We’re integral to it, we’re an important part of it and we’re certainly not respected. We’re treated as third class citizens, not even second.”

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However, a spokesman for the soap has categorically denied his claims.

They said: "We simply do not recognise these claims and nor have we ever received a complaint about the recent alleged incident with a director on set.”

EastEnders airs on BBC One and is available on BBC iPlayer.

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