EastEnders' Kellie Bright admits Linda's affair with Max is 'out of character'
Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) has been growing closer to Max Branning (Jake Wood)in EastEnders as husband Mick (Danny Dyer) struggles to open up to her.
The former landlord of the Queen Vic recently discovered that he was abused by Katy Lewis (Simone Lahbib) when he was a child, and he’s been unable to come to terms with this discovery.
Linda has desperately tried to get Mick to open up about what he’s going through, but he’s refused to do so — and has pushed her away in the process.
‘It’s all running away from her,’ reveals actress Kellie Bright, who portrays Linda. ‘I think she feels very much like she’s on a train going to god knows where, but she can’t get off the train.
‘I’d say she feels pretty heartbroken about her relationship with Mick, but I think she honestly believes that he is not in love with her anymore.’
Linda has found solace in her newfound lockdown friendship with Max. but in typical Max fashion, he’s started to fall for his new pal.
The former Queen Vic landlady has been drawn to Max in recent weeks, given how Mick has been shutting her out and rejecting her, and the pair seemingly embark on something of an affair.
‘For me, the whole basis of the truth behind this storyline is that she’s an alcoholic,’ Kellie continued, ‘she’s fairly newly sober. She was drunk this time last year. It’s only been a few months of sobriety, plus she’s been in lockdown.
‘Without even being aware of it, she hasn’t really dealt with her sobriety. For all intents and purposes, she’s hanging on by her fingernails. We see her go to have a drink a few times in the run up to Christmas.
‘I think she’s transferred her addiction from alcohol to Max. Where alcohol used to take the pain away and she was able to forget everything. And fill that void that she feels like she has inside of her. She’s not able to do that because she can’t pick up a drink anymore. But she’s doing exactly that with Max.’
Linda’s relationship with Mick has become something of a staple of the BBC One soap, and it’s safe to say fans were taken aback by her closeness to Max, given that it’s hard to believe Linda would ever cheat on her beloved husband.
Speaking about how she felt when she first learned of the storyline, Kellie said: ‘I thought – oh my god. Linda Carter would never do that! How am I going to make that work? But because of Mick’s storyline running alongside it, it does work. They’re intertwined stories because it all plays into the same thing.
‘For anyone, if your relationship is wonderful, you’re not going to have an affair are you? But ultimately her marriage to Mick is in complete dire straits. She doesn’t have a clue what’s going on with him. She can’t get him to talk to her.
Once I found my way into it, once I thought about the alcoholism aspect and the fact that she transferred her addiction then it was easy for me to get on board with it.’
Linda’s ‘relationship’ with Max develops quite a bit over the festive season — so much so that Max makes her an offer. But is Linda ready to take the next step?
‘No I think she’s really reluctant to take the next step with him,’ Kellie added. ‘She thinks it’s way too much, too soon. She’s not at all in that place. I think she feels like she’s on a rollercoaster with Max, and she doesn’t really know how to get off it, or how to slow it down.
‘This is not her thing. Linda Carter has only ever loved one man. She’s only ever been with one man. So it is very very out of character. She is not well versed in these sorts of things, she’s really just bumbling along, and taking it all day by day.
‘The whole way through what she’s desperate for Mick to just turn around and go: “What the hell are you doing? I want you back.” But he doesn’t do any of that. And I think that’s what’s so hard. In the end she thinks what am I waiting for? He doesn’t want me.’
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