The Fans of Summer

By Dana Gordon

New York - Summer. How long we wait for it and how quickly it goes. As I sit here at my desk, I've only just returned to New York after a wonderful vacation in the Pacific north-west where I saw sea lions and whales off the coast of Vancouver Island.

I spent a lot of time with friends in Seattle and Portland as well which is why, despite the kind guidance of local fans, I never got to sit down at a television on any of the three-yes, count them, three-days that EastEnders shows on KCTS, the Seattle public TV station.

Of course, the fact that I was missing both the Republic National Convention's takeover of my hometown and the nasty effects of the early season hurricanes made me savour my vacation all the more. But this has got me thinking about all the friends I've seen over the summer and all the enjoyable times I've spent talking about EastEnders with my fellow fans.

Troy Titus-Adams is as much as an EastEnders fan as you and me. Known to us as Nina Harris, Irene Raymond's niece, Troy visited New York over the summer to support a friend in a Broadway show. Larry Jaffee, who met Troy a few weeks earlier in London, asked if she would like to meet a few of her New York fans.

A handful of us met Troy at a small bistro in the Village. She was gracious and kind when she arrived.

And to her credit, she began as she meant to go on, to use a line from the show.

Troy ordered a 'special' drink from the bartender-something with lots of fruit and fizz. No alcohol. At least one EastEnder knows enough to keep her wits about her when out in the world!

And what wits they were. Troy was candid about her days as a young actor paying her dues. Among the early jobs was a position as 'Manhattan girl' with a touring circus in Mexico. Here in New York, a Manhattan girl is a glamorous beauty like Troy-dressed in a blouse of her own design, gracious and kind.

In a touring circus, however, a Manhattan girl is the lady in feathers riding the horses. Debbie Gilbert, a Ringling Brothers-trained clown, and Troy had a lot of stories to swap about circus life!

The circus was followed by a run (well, a glide, anyway) on the stage in Starlight Express, the roller-skating musical. It was Troy's dedication to her training schedule which saved her from the injuries which afflicted so many of her co-stars.

Admit-ting to be a 'Hollywood 28,' Troy discussed some upcoming projects, including an award-winning film called Simple, which she co-produced and starred in with Sylvester Williams, who plays Albert Square market trader Mick. She's working on relocating to Hollywood.

In fact, she was in LA a few years ago when she received a call from her agent. The producers wanted to audition Troy for the EastEnders part of Lisa Shaw, the market inspector. She ended up with the part of Nina instead.

It would have been a shame for those lovely green eyes to have been clouded by as many tears as Lisa shed.

Troy was in the episode in which Susan Tully, our Michelle, debuted as a director. She also confessed a fondness for June Brown's character, Dot Cotton .

Troy was disappointed when the producers didn't renew her contract-the blossoming relationship between her character and Williams' Mick will apparently not develop into something more than we're seeing on our sets now in most parts of the U.S.

What struck me was Troy's obvious respect for the show and for the actors. She maintains close friendships with several, including Roberta Taylor.

As a long-time fan myself, years ago I would ignore conversations about the actors themselves, preferring to keep them separate from their characters.

I found in Troy a similar love for the characters, arguing with us on the measure of a particular resident's choices against their historical motivations.

The most telling story of Troy's fan life came as we were walking down University Place to catch a taxi.

Troy had recently been in Los Angeles with a friend where she attended a local church.

A lovely woman sat near them and heard Troy whisper to her friend, 'That looks like Stevie Wonder.' The woman leaned in and said, 'It is, would you like to meet him?'

Not only did Troy get to shake the hand of one of the greatest musicians of our time, but he invited her and her friend to lunch.

Like any good fan, Troy quietly, nervously [cell-phone] texted her aunt between courses with whom she was having lunch.

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