Monday, 19 October 2015

June Whitfield at 90: Sister Ruth in EastEnders

As you may be aware, I've launched a poll on Carry On Blogging to find out what we all think is June Whitfield's most memorable role. In a career spanning eight decades, that's no mean feat! This is all happening as we prepare to celebrate June's 90th birthday on 11 November.

As we approach the big day, I will be blogging my thoughts on each of the roles featured in my poll. Today, I'm coming right up to date with a very recent performance: Sister Ruth in EastEnders.

I begin this blog by making it clear that I don't normally watch, never mind write about EastEnders. Put it this way, I'm not a fan. However when I read that June would be appearing in the BBC soap opera for one night only earlier this year, I simply had to tune in. And I'm really glad that I did. June gave a stunning performance as a nun regular character Kat comes into contact with at a particularly stressful, painful time in her life.

I won't go into details about the contents of the episode, but it is emotionally draining stuff. June steals the show of course. She is superb as the quietly spoken, yet constantly surprising Sister Ruth and her character is wise, funny and very real. Once again June shows in EastEnders just what a terrific actress she is, not just in comedy but also in straight drama. Comedy actors often translate very well to more serious fare. I do believe it's much harder for straight actors to do comedy. Anyway, June is an all rounder as we all know and this was very much in evidence when she popped up in Walford.

Although other characters did appear in this special episode, it was mainly a two hander between June and Jessie Wallace. It ended on a kind of cliffhanger so we can only hope we see June back in Albert Square to reprise this interesting character. In her 90th year, June showed in EastEnders that she is still at the top of her game. 

So if this more dramatic role is the best work you think June has done, vote for it here

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