Michael Leader, the veteran milkman of Albert Square who died this week, was also the infamous ‘clumsy stormtrooper’, it’s emerged.
Leader played the show’s milkman for 31 years, one of the longest-serving members of the cast.
But he was also the stormtrooper who bangs his head on a door in George Lucas’s first ‘Star Wars’ movie from 1977.
The scene has long gone down in infamy, after it was spotted by eagle-eyed fans, Leader cracking his head as he enters the control room where C-3PO and R2-D2 are trying to free Luke, Han and Leia from the ‘garbage masher’ on the detention level.
Lucas even paid tribute to the blooper in ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Clones’, when bounty hunter Jango Fett bangs his head on his ship door after fighting Obi-Wan.
Leader also played an uncredited croupier in several Bond films, as well as extra roles in ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Blake’s 7’, and ‘Red Dwarf’.
But it was the Albert Square milkman that proved his most enduring role, despite having to wait 16 years before he got his first line, asking Charlie Slater ‘Is this yours, squire?’ after delivering a drunk Kat Slater home on his float.
A statement from the show read: “We were terribly saddened to hear that our dear friend and colleague Michael Leader passed away on Monday.
“Michael has been on the show since the very first episode and will be sorely missed by the EastEnders family, past and present.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are extended to his nearest and dearest.”
Many of the ‘EastEnders’ cast and crew took a moment to pay tribute to him on hearing of his death.
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) August 24, 2016
R.I.P Michael my old son. R.I.P. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/tt3FTra2Ba
— Danny Dyer (@MrDDyer) August 24, 2016
So sorry to hear about Michael Leader.
A gentleman to the last.
He will be missed by many.
With fond memories always from John.
— John Altman (@JohnAltman4Real) August 24, 2016
R.I.P Michael Such a lovely man and a true gentlemen ????????
— Danielle Harold (@DHaroldOfficial) August 24, 2016
Image credits: BBC/Lucasfilm