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I loved watching Barry on EastEnders – and then I found out he was my DAD


SITTING glued to EastEnders as a boy, Gary Robinson would chuckle when his favourite ­character Barry Evans came on.

Former circus clown Gary, who lived in Belfast, never dreamed he could have a link to one of the stars of the hit BBC1 drama.

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Gary Robinson — now 34 — has today told of his ‘absolute amazement’ at finding out Shaun Williamson, who played loveable Barry, is actually his father[/caption]

But in the most remarkable twist of fate, Gary — now 34 — has today told of his “absolute amazement” at finding out Shaun Williamson, who played loveable Barry, is actually his father. 

He told how it took him months to come to terms with the news that Shaun, who had a relationship with his juggler mum in the 1980s, is his dad — but said “finding him is the best thing that’s ever happened”.

Today, in a heartwarming tale to mark Father’s Day, the pair have told how they are making up for lost time after coming to terms with the bombshell news that turned both of their worlds upside down.

Gary, now a kitchen manager, said: “My nan used to tell me I loved EastEnders as a boy. One of my favourites was Barry. Nan always told me his storylines had me hooked and made me laugh. 

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Sitting glued to EastEnders as a boy, Gary Robinson would chuckle when his favourite ­character Barry Evans came on[/caption]

“For years I thought someone else was my dad, but some information from my mum and a paternity test revealed that it was in fact the bloke I used to watch on the TV all those years ago.

“I tell people I meet that ‘Barry from ­EastEnders is my dad’ — they never believe me, but it’s true.

Miracles do happen

“The guy I thought was my father left when I was six, but to now have the relationship I do with Shaun is a dream. It’s proof that sometimes miracles do happen.”

Shaun, 55, added: “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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Shaun’s on-screen death as Barry in 2004 — pushed off a cliff by girlfriend Janine Butcher — is one of the show’s most famous endings and was watched by  15million people[/caption]

Speaking exclusively to The Sun on Sunday, the pair reveal how they had spookily developed similar habits before meeting and both have a “lazy eye”. 

Shaun started off as a bit-part actor in EastEnders in 1994, before becoming a regular. His on-screen death in 2004 — pushed off a cliff by girlfriend Janine Butcher — is one of the show’s most famous endings and was watched by  15million people.

In September last year, we broke the story that in 2013 Shaun had discovered he had a secret son  with a  former girlfriend, a circus juggler.

 The child was born in the 1980s, when Shaun was a Pontins Bluecoat. He described it as “the biggest shock of my life”. 

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Shaun said: ‘To find Gary and get on so well with him shows you the incredible things life can throw up’[/caption]

But growing up, Gary was unaware of who his real dad was after his mum, who we have decided not to name, protected him from her secret that Shaun was the dad.

He said: “For years, my dad was my mum’s partner, Gary. What’s quite amazing is that, like my dad, I have always been into performing.

“I was in the circus as a bo y and loved being a clown. I went to drama school and   loved playing the fool and ­making people laugh. It was in my genes and now I see why.”

As he grew older — still believing another man was his father — Gary’s favourite TV show became Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s comedy Extras, which featured Shaun playing himself.

 Both Ricky and Stephen jokingly call him “Barry” throughout.

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Gary has since been welcomed by Shaun’s wife Adele and their children Sophie and Joe[/caption]

Gary said: “Me and my mates loved that show. 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.”

Gary’s world was turned on its head in 2013 when, aged 26, his ­sister told him that Shaun was his dad, and his mother confirmed it. He said: “My sister found out and said, ‘Enough is enough, it’s time to give Gary the chance to connect with his roots.’ I was stunned. This guy I’d seen on TV was my dad?  It was  hard to get my head around it. I decided to send a message to Shaun’s team just saying, ‘Gary from the circus wants to get in touch.’ ”

Shaun recalled: “When I received that email I just knew. I had been carrying this niggling doubt for years that Gary could have been mine and now here it was, more than a quarter of a century on.

“We had a paternity test and it came back positive. I was his dad.”

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Barbara Windsor, Mike Reid, Ross Kemp, Steve McFadden and Shaun in EastEnders[/caption]

The pair arranged to meet in a hotel bar in Belfast.

Gary said: “I was so nervous. I stopped in a couple of pubs on the way  and sank a few pints. It was never awkward though. I remember, I kept on asking him, ‘What’s Ricky Gervais like?’ We played some pool, played our favourite tunes on the jukebox and the 20-odd year catch-up between us started there.”

Gary soon moved to Leeds, ­meaning the pair are able to see each other at least six times a year.

Shaun, who lives on The Isle of Sheppey, said: “My first concern was that my other adult kids Sophie  and Joe  were OK. But they were absolutely great with it.” 

After being apart for 26 years, the pair enjoy  a pint together at Shaun’s local in Sheerness, Kent.

The Sun on Sunday joined them there as they met to celebrate Father’s Day.

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‘I tell people I meet that Barry from ­EastEnders is my dad — they never believe me, but it’s true’, says Gary[/caption]


Gary said: “It’s a great day to ­celebrate what has happened to us. It’s a good day to be thankful we’ve been reunited.”

Shaun added: “I still have to pinch myself about being reunited with Gary, and Father’s Day is the day to mark that.

“We’ll both have a drink and see who gets our shared lazy eye first.” 

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Cheers to you dad… Shaun and Gary enjoy a father and son pint[/caption]

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