EastEnders star Shane Richie explains devastating Alfie week

EastEnders spoilers follow.

EastEnders will air game-changing episodes for Alfie Moon next week, as he harbours some big secrets in the lead-up to Kat and Phil's wedding.

Alfie will be left horrified when he learns that his ex-wife Kat has been betrayed by her fiancé Phil just days before their nuptials, and that's not the only issue he's dealing with, either.

That's because Alfie has also been diagnosed with prostate cancer and is preparing to tackle treatment alone, having lied to his loved ones about getting the all-clear.

phil mitchell, alfie moon, eastenders

Here, Shane Richie – who plays Alfie – discusses his alter ego's huge dilemmas, and what all this could mean for his future.

Can you explain how Alfie is feeling in light of his diagnosis?

"I think this is a point where Alfie hits rock bottom. He was just settling back into the Square, he's got a great job at the bookies, he's got a roof over his head and he's got a relationship with Kat and the kids, and so this big bombshell has just blown his world apart.

"What's a big shock is how he confides in his arch-enemy and how he finds solace being with Phil Mitchell as they've had 21 years of not much love lost between them. Alfie's not quite sure why and how Phil has become his shoulder to cry on but there's a sense with Phil that he's doing it for his own purposes. I think people are wondering whether that is to keep Kat away from Alfie because he thinks there might still be something there or, is it to just appease Kat?"

alfie moon, kat moon, eastenders

How has working with the charities helped inform how you portray some of the difficult scenes?

"The luxury of doing a show like EastEnders is the level of research. The team work so hard to make sure what we're putting on screen is as accurate as possible and it's great to have access to amazing charities like Macmillan Cancer Support and Prostate Cancer UK, who EastEnders put me in contact with, as it's been so helpful to be able to talk with survivors and people who have gone through this.

"Since the story has gone out, I have been inundated with people private messaging me on social media. Even last weekend I was at a festival, a woman backstage pulled me to one side and said: 'Thank you so much, I want you to thank everybody at EastEnders for finally shining a light on this'.

"If Alfie's story can make one mum, one daughter, or one sister say to their family: 'You know what, you're at an age now, why don't you just go and get checked?', and if it just saves one life, then look what we've done.

"It's gathering momentum. I do get stopped in the street and people come up and just tell me their stories. A lot of them are of a similar age to me. There are guys in their twenties who watched Alfie who are now in their forties and even older that have gone: 'You know what, if that guy Alfie can go and get a check then why shouldn't I?'"

steve mcfadden as phil mitchell, jessie wallace as kat moon and shane richie as alfie moon in eastenders

How does Alfie feel at the prospect of Kat getting married to Phil?

"Alfie never ever thought this would happen. He's broken and I think the fans of Kat and Alfie are going: 'No, this can't possibly happen, Alfie has got to stop it or somehow put the block on it'."

We know Alfie learns the truth about Phil from Keanu. How does he react to this?

"Alfie finds out purely by accident through Keanu being drunk and he takes it on board. I don't think it's until the next morning when he confronts Keanu on what he meant that it all makes sense, and Alfie just loses it because it's the day of the wedding and it horrifies him. That plays on Alfie now – knowing this truth and he hopes that ultimately one day that Kat will know and find out. But now Alfie will always have this over Phil, so I will be interested to see how it plays out."

alfie moon, kat moon, eastenders

Given their history, does Alfie feel he needs to tell Kat the truth?

"I think Alfie, certainly with what he's going through at the moment, doesn't want all-out war, because there's children involved. It's not just war between Kat, Alfie and Phil – you've got to think of Tommy and the twins and what the fallout and the aftermath will do to them. Without giving too much away, Alfie can't hold it all in and he tries to look elsewhere for advice on what to do."

Alfie punches Phil for his actions, but has this scrap been a long time coming for the pair?

"I don't think Alfie is going in there necessarily to try and whack him one, he goes in there to ask: 'Why? Why are you doing this and how did it happen? You need to tell Kat!'. I think it's just all the angst inside Alfie that's been building up and building up in the last few months and he just explodes, and the one closest to him who is going to cop it is Phil Mitchell."

EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.

Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage

For more information on Alfie's prostate cancer storyline in EastEnders, you can find resources through the BBC Action Line website, or on 08000 560 190 at any time for a record message. Viewers are also encouraged to contact Prostate Cancer UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

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