On Tuesday,actor Shaun Williamson, most famous for playing Barry from Eastenders visited Ballare. SiB who was present writes: “I sat in the Ballare office waiting for the arrival of Barry from Eastenders. For many years I’ve had a soft spot for Shaun, the man behind Barry, from his time playing the loveable buffoon on Eastenders, to appearing on Comic Relief’s Celebrity Fame Academy and even having a cameo in Extras. He’s a pretty special man. Especially to me… and to my Gran.
So as you can imagine I was pretty excited when I knew I was going to be meeting him. I’ve met many PAs during my time at Cambridge and I know how many are prima-donnas. Now, close your eyes, and think of Naomi Campbell. When you have that image think of the exact opposite and you have Shaun; male, white, down to earth, chubby, 5ft9 and one of the nicest guys you are ever likely to meet .
From the moment he arrived he was telling stories. He told us that he only got his role as Barry because he couldn’t drive. He was cast as an ambulance driver in Eastenders but couldn’t manoeuvre the vehicle so ended up playing paramedic two who had more lines. He was seen by the casting director and was playing Barry months later. I found out about Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant and how, “they are essentially just big kids having the time of their lives.”
He talked of the pressure of fronting his own quiz show and informed me that he was a supporter of Fulham. Nobody is perfect. At midnight we escorted Shaun to the DJ booth and immediately the crowd was enraptured. Chants of ‘Barry, Barry, Barry’ rang out. He belted out a few songs and even brought prizes to give out.
After playing ‘spot the celebrity look a like’ which was won by a brilliant Stan Collymore, he shook hands, took pats on the back, danced and then retired to the VIP lounge where he sat and chatted to students for over an hour. At the end of the night we caught up with Shaun once more and he told us he wanted to thank Cambridge for giving him ‘one of the best receptions he’s ever had’. He said that Ballare was ‘a really lovely club’ and he would be happy to return. Keep your eyes open as Barry may be back