For any aspiring screen actor, including our beloved British soap stars, Hollywood is the ultimate goal.
Plenty of people fail for every success story like Daisy Ridley from Casualty, who played Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
However, it’s not just the money that draws soap stars across the Atlantic.
Former Eastenders actor Gary McDonald, for example, is now a burlesque bar owner in Hollywood after more than 30 years.
Gary McDonald’s character in the BBC soap opera is dodgy. Darren Roberts held ‘cultural evenings’ where he showed pornographic films and staged strippers.
He came to Los Angeles for the first time in 2002 to pursue his dreams of making it big in Hollywood.
In 2017, he told the Mirror: “When you think of Los Angeles, you probably picture it as glamorous and glitzy. But I felt a spiritual vibe in the air as soon as I landed, and I hadn’t even left the airport.
“It had nothing to do with acting or work when I thought, “I could live here.”
“At first, I stayed with a friend. We attended all of the parties and had a great time.”
He decided to stay in LA permanently after a year.
He continued, ” “People in this town walk around with their cards in hand. It all comes down to making connections.” They say they’ll call you, but they never do. I was irritated at first, but I’ve grown accustomed to it.”
He’s had weekly auditions since settling in while running the trendy burlesque bar Pour Vous in West Hollywood.
He stated, ” “It’s got a great vibe to it. There is a pole on a night called Wicked Women, but it is only one night a week.” It’s a burlesque bar the rest of the nights. I can now do this without having to chase the dollar. I’m in a good place.”
In terms of acting, he believes that there are more opportunities for British black actors in Los Angeles.
He stated, ” “They adore our dialect. I can play a judge or a doctor here, which is something I can’t do in the UK.”