Former EastEnders star Shaun Williamson has told how he is making up for lost time as a dad to his secret son from a past relationship with a circus juggler.
Williamson, who played Barry Evans in the soap, spoke to The Sun on Sunday for Father's Day with his son Gary Robinson about what it was like to discover each other after a quarter of a century.
Robinson, 34, said he used to love watching Barry on EastEnders as a child and later became a fan of his work playing a washed-up actor in Ricky Gervais' sitcom Extras, but had no idea he was actually laughing along with his dad.
He said: "Me and my mates loved that show (Extras). That was the way I got to know my dad, years before I even knew he was my actual father.
“I was so obsessed with it that when me and my mates found out Shaun was performing in Belfast, we tried to meet him. We never did — but it’s quite remarkable that I almost met my real dad accidentally.”
Last year it emerged that actor Williamson, best known for being pushed off a cliff to his death by Janine in EastEnders and for being referred to by his soap name "Barry" while he played himself in Extras, had discovered he had a third child.
The actor who has two other children found out in 2013 that he had fathered a child with a circus juggler in the 80s while he was working as a Pontins Bluecoat, but Robinson didn't even know that the man he had believed to be his father actually wasn't until his sister insisted his family told him the news and a paternity test was carried out when he was 26.
Robinson eventually sent Williamson a message saying "Gary from the circus wants to get in touch", with Williamson admitting he had wondered whether the child could be his and a test finally proving it.
Williamson said: “Father’s Day has never been more important to me. I now have three wonderful kids. To find Gary and get on so well with him shows you the incredible things life can throw up. I know I’ve missed out on a lot of his life — now I can make up for it.”
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The pair discussed their many similarities, including Robinson's love of performing in the circus as a clown when he was a child, and his time at drama school.
They also said they planned to have a drink together and "see who gets our shared lazy eye first”.