Danny Dyer says EastEnders 'nearly killed his career'

Danny Dyer may have shouted, punched and sobbed his way through a decade of dramatic moments in EastEnders, but despite it being an East End tradition, we’ve never seen him do a choreographed dance with spoons — until now.

His unforgettable routine is performed in Mr Bigstuff with co-star and series creator Ryan Sampson, who describes it as “a little bit Michael Flatley, Lord Of The Dance”. It’s one of the highlights of the first episode of the new comedy as their characters – estranged brothers Lee and Glen – recreate a routine they did at a holiday camp in their youth.

“When I read the script I thought, how the f**k are we going to do this?” says Danny. “We’d both never played spoons. We had a week of rehearsals and we focused more on the spoons than anything else. We had a spoon guy and a dance teacher and we really did commit to it.”

Mr Bigstuff
Ryan Sampson and Danny Dyer are brothers in Mr Bigstuff -Credit:Sky UK LTD

Ryan credits Danny’s “snakey hips” for the scene working as well as it does, but Danny reveals that the performance was not without injury. “The spoons, they cut your fingers, so me and Ryan were running around with spoon wounds. It was a tough gig,” he says.

In the six-part show, Brassic and Plebs star Ryan plays carpet salesman Glen, who lives with his fiancée Kirsty (Harriet Webb). Their lives are pretty normal – he has erectile dysfunction, she is a secret shoplifter – until Glen’s brother Lee crashes into their lives after years of separation.

The series is packed with laughs and – sensitive viewers be warned – X-rated moments that Ryan knew he could get away with as a writer thanks to his previous experience on the equally edgy Brassic.

“I feel like people want something a bit edgy and weird,” he says. “I don’t know why we are told that you have to tone that down. I also think here it is heightened because Glen and Kirsty are a nice suburban couple who want everything to be cute and sweet and perfect, and then we contrast that with the filth that is brought by Lee, and it is churning everything up. It just feels more naughty.”

Danny Dyer
Danny shows off his comedy chops in the new series -Credit:Sky UK LTD

The comedy in Mr Bigstuff marks a change of pace for Danny, who is still best known for his dramatic role as Mick in EastEnders. He and Ryan had worked together in an episode of the BBC comedy Plebs in 2013, but he explains that working on EastEnders between 2013 and 2023 meant that he was forgotten by casting directors for almost a decade.

“I suppose I was crossed off every casting list,” he says. “You forget that when you go into a soap, you don’t exist any more within the industry. It brings you stability and all these things and it’s a great platform when they get it right, but you don’t exist – you’re not considered for any other work."

“It’s one of the reasons I wanted to leave [EastEnders], and when Ryan put this to me I was very excited by the idea of it. You don’t get much comedy in EastEnders, unfortunately, it’s straight acting and dark and depressing. I wanted to try a different discipline, and this was very, very f**king exciting for me.”