EastEnders bosses have of course never shied away from controversial storylines, and in the past, there have been rapes, murders, teenaged pregnancies, AIDS plotlines and child abuse…
So having cousins Joey and Lauren Branning hooking up was perhaps a bit of light relief!
And this week, David Witts, who of course plays Joey, has told the Radio Times that he hopes the romance between his character and Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) will continue for a long time yet, given that it’s been something of a slow burner up until now.
As fans will know, when Joey’s dad Derek (Jamie Foreman) shuffled off the mortal coil at Christmas, it hit Joey unexpectedly hard, but it did make him rethink his priorities, and that rethink took him back into the arms of Lauren, who he’d formerly dumped because Derek blackmailed him into it…
But back to what David had to say, and first, he was asked what his initial reaction had been to learning that cousins Joey and Lauren were to become an item.
He replied, “When you’re an actor in the show, you’re just thinking how fun it’s going to be to play the storyline rather than thinking, ‘Oh no, that’s disgusting!’
“You’re seeing it from a different point of view. And anyway, you’re looking at two people who have only just met as adults.
“It’s not like they grew up together and were playing in the sand aged three. If that had been the case, it would have been very strange.
“But Joey didn’t think of Lauren as family because he didn’t actually have her in his family until he was in his 20s.
“So, I didn’t see much of a problem with it. And it is legal!”
David of course joined the cast of the show last year, and he’s contracted to remain with the soap for the foreseeable future, so he was asked what lies ahead for Joey in 2013.
He remarked, “It does lighten up for Joey. Obviously, he doesn’t change completely. He’s still got an edge to him.
“But I feel that Joey breaking down in the aftermath of Derek’s death is a turning point in his life.
“When you have a moment like that, you’re forced to reassess things. I also think it would be nice if he were to stay with Lauren.
“It was such a long storyline to get them together and it would be a shame if, just at the moment that viewers had finally accepted them, it was decided not to go on with it.”
David has of course been nominated for a National Television Award in the Best Newcomer category for his portrayal of Joey, and of that, David said, “I’m absolutely over the moon…
“Especially as only one person from each show is up for it.
“It’s not something I was thinking about or anything like that, so it was a really nice surprise.”
Here’s a reminder of Lauren and Joey together in the early stages of their romance…