Danielle Harold says that her EastEnders alter ego Lola Pearce’s decision to look for her mum — to be played by soap newcomer Patsy Kensit — is based on “unanswered questions”.
Lola was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour last year, and the moving performances from Harold have been widely praised.
Lola is now planning a wedding to true love Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) and in tonight’s episode, the couple announced that they had set a date for their big day.
But next week, when Lola names the lively Kim Fox (Tameka Empson) as her maid of honour, a question regarding Lola’s absent mother leaves her thoughtful.
The granddaughter of Walford mainstay Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick), Lola’s late father was his son, fathered when Billy was young. Lola grew up in care before he found her, so she doesn’t know her mum.
Speaking about why Lola decides to search for Emma, Harold explains: “Lola thinks long and hard about her decision, and after a chat with [daughter] Lexi, decides that she wants to look for her mum.
“I think she draws on her own experience as a mum, and she also doesn’t want her daughter to be left with the same unanswered questions she has.
"After she’s decided that she wants to look, she goes and asks Sharon for some advice to see if there is a way to track her down. It’s all of these little things that really push her into making that decision,” she reveals.
Asked whether Lola has previously contemplated making contact with her mum, the actor says this is not the case. “No, I think this is probably the first time that Lola has thought about the prospect of reconciling with her mum.
“It’s almost like Lola has a brainwave that her mum is out there alive somewhere when she is mentioned by Kim.
"I don’t think Lola would normally want to look for her but because she is dying, Lola starts to reflect and thinks that it’s her last chance to look for her.
“It also brings up a lot of questions for Lola and she starts to think ‘Do I want her at the wedding? Do I want to meet her?’”
With Lola having no recollection of who her mother really is, there’s sure to be plenty to explore when Kensit takes on the character. But while Lola doesn’t have that bond with Emma, she shares a touching relationship with her own daughter, Lexi (Isabella Brown).
Read more: EastEnders: Lola’s cancer heartbreak
“She has just been amazing, she’s great and we all love her to bits!” Harold says of her talented co-star Brown, before discussing just how professional the young actor has been in the face of such a heartbreaking story.
“I’m honestly so proud of how she’s dealt with the story and how sensitive she is with it, it has been so lovely to watch and work alongside.
“She’s so well behaved on set because she knows how important the story is and how we’re using our scenes to raise awareness for such an important issue. She’s my little rock, and she supports me every day.”
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