Danielle Jones (East Enders) - Creation and Characterisation

Creation and Characterisation

On 19 July 2008, The Sun reported that a new character, Danielle, would be introduced to EastEnders as the love interest of fellow newcomer Callum Monks. Nineteen-year-old Danielle was described as a "naive blonde easily taken in by Callum's smooth patter", arriving in Walford with "just a suitcase and a dream of a new life". It was later revealed that Danielle had additionally been created as the long-lost daughter of established character Ronnie Mitchell, and a member of the soap's long-running Mitchell family. Her introduction had been planned from 2007, when story producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins conceived the idea of two new Mitchell sisters, Ronnie and Roxy. Ronnie was depicted as the more detached and icy sister, and a hidden secret was first alluded to eight months after their introduction, when Roxy made a veiled reference to Ronnie's child and a physical fight ensued. Several months later, off-set episodes shot in Weymouth and dubbed "Mitchell Week" by the BBC were aired, during which the audience were introduced to Ronnie and Roxy's father Archie, and learned that Ronnie had given a child up for adoption.

Treadwell-Collins explained that it was necessary to introduce Danielle shortly after this revelation, but in such a manner that she would arrive "under the audience's radar", to preserve the later revelation of her identity as Ronnie's daughter. Lauren Crace, then a third year student at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, was cast as Danielle and began filming in June 2008. EastEnders was Crace's first professional acting role, and executive producer Diederick Santer expressed his pleasure that Crace had chosen to make her debut on the show. Upon her introduction, EastEnders's producers attempted to deceive the audience into believing Danielle was nothing more than a new friend for Stacey. Crace herself was only told of Danielle's true identity after her successful audition, though as she only signed a six-month contract with the show, was always aware Danielle would only have a short arc. She stated that some audience members guessed Danielle to be Ronnie's daughter almost as soon as she arrived, and that she found maintaining the secret difficult.

Crace initially portrayed Danielle as being shy and afraid of rejection, though felt that Stacey's friendship and living with the Slater family could have a positive impact on her confidence. Discussing her failure at romantic relationships, Crace assessed that Danielle's eagerness may scare men off. She came to find portraying Danielle depressing, explaining that she was bored by and had doubts about Danielle's constant naivety and passive personality. She suggested to the producers that Danielle should stand up for herself more, which was accepted and adapted into her personality, to the point that by the end of her tenure on the show, Danielle was "not a little mouse any more". Crace's view is that Danielle's Mitchell heritage manifested itself in an inner-strength and ability to "come back fighting", giving her a toughness beneath her "wet and pathetic" personality.

Read more about this topic:  Danielle Jones (East Enders)

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