EastEnders star Emma Barton speaks candidly over past career struggles

EastEnders star Emma Barton has had a steady streak on the soap as Honey Mitchell – but that wasn’t always the case.

The actress first joined the show in 2005 before departing in 2008 to star in the West End production of Chicago, but soon after the production ended, she found herself without a gig for three long years.

Speaking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, the soap actress opened up about her career struggles as an unemployed actress.

“There was a time I was just like: ‘I’m going to have to give up’,” she revealed.

“But I didn’t want to, and I was just holding on by a thread, just going: ‘I’m going to still persevere’. And it did pay off.”

After a “long” and “tough” time spent reaching the final stages of casting only to be turned down, in need of some kind of income Barton decided to go back to the “clothes shop that I used to work in when I was at drama school”.

“I did find it really tough,” she added. “And I’m more of a happy person than I am a sad person.

“But there are times when you just used to shut your bedroom door and go: ‘Please, please, somebody help me because I don’t know what’s happening with my life.

“I felt alone. But I knew I just had to just keep going.”

Fortunately, following a tour with the National Theatre of One Man, Two Guvnors, she received a phone call in 2014 from EastEnders producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, who propositioned another stint at the soap for a few months.

Barton has been in business ever since.

“Then it wasn’t a few months, it’s now been seven years,” Barton said.

Her character, Honey, became a regular on the show in 2015 and has remained a staple since.

The actress also went on to diversify her CV in 2019 by reaching the final of Strictly Come Dancing.

EastEnders airs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One and streams on BBC iPlayer.