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ASHER E20 - 0680Heshima Thompson is perhaps best known for being a former backing singer for Amy Winehouse, as well as an established actor. He has already appeared in The Bill, Babyfather, Casualty, Spooks and was nominated in 2009, for a Screen Nation Award.

Well following the success of Eastenders’ spin-off show E20, Heshima can now be seen starring in the second series as Asher Levi. We caught up with him for a chat about his character, working with Amy Winehouse and a game of guess the famous Eastenders Character lines.

How did the opportunity come about for you to appear in E20?
It was actually my agent who told me about the auditions and I just went along.

How would you describe Asher, the character you play?
I’d say Ash, is super sexy and also a very confident individual. He knows he’s got an aura about him which he uses to his advantage, which at times can make people uneasy in his presence.

He’s also a former bad boy who’s now on the path to redemption following a stint in jail, but can you tell us a bit more about his brother Solomon?
Ash has always been a bit of a father figure to Solomon, especially after the whole drama surrounding his mum not been well. This meant he had to pretty much take up the responsibility in looking out for Solomon while trying to provide for him.

So, have you and Asher got anything at all in common?
[Laughs]…Well, we both can dance pretty well, and in certain respects we are quite similar. But it’s definitely he’s more charming side that I resonate.

How will your character develop over the course of the series?
You will see him struggling while trying to keep his brother on the right track, as well as taking part in a lot of street dancing. He will also end up making a few uneasy decisions and doing things he’s not particularly proud of.

Many people will still remember you and your brother Zalon, as backing singer’s for Amy Winehouse, but how was it working and touring with her?
It was amazing, especially as there were certain things that we experienced while traveling the world with her. And having my brother there with me was also wicked.

She’s of course busy working on a brand new album due for release in 2011, and has recently said that the new album ‘will very much be the same as [Back to Black], where there’s a lot of jukebox stuff’ have you by any chance heard any previews?
I personally haven’t heard anything as of yet, as I’ve been really busy. But my brother Zalon who has been a lot more involved has, and from what he’s told me it is sounding really good.

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As you’re now officially an East-ender, to round of the interview we would like to put you to the test to find out how much of an Eastenders fan you really are, in our game of ‘Guess the famous Eastenders character lines’.
“You ain’t my mother!” – Zoe
“Luke, Chapter 4, Verse 23. Physician heal thyself.”Lucas (It was in fact Dot Branning)
“Go on, get outta my pub!”Peggy Mitchell
“Ello Princess”Dirty Den
“Rickaaaaaayyyy!!!!!!” – Bianca
“What’s the matter Trevor? Cat got your tongue? ” – Little Mo

And, finally what’s next?
Well, I’ve got a few other projects in the pipeline, but the main thing that I am working on right now is my music. I’ve also had a few major labels that have approached me, and as well as that I am in talks in making a sitcom.

Interview by Noel Phillips

The second series of EastEnders: E20 can now be seen on the show’s official site every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm, while 30-minute omnibus editions will be screened on BBC Three on Monday nights.

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