Template:Infobox EastEnders character 2 Christian Clarke is a fictional character in the popular BBC Soap opera EastEnders. He made his first appearance on 17 January 2008. He is played by John Partridge.
Character creation, personality and reception
In November 2007, it was announced that a new gay character was to join the cast of EastEnders, as the show's bosses had seen how popular Antony Cotton was in the role of Sean Tully in Coronation Street. However, Partridge's character is not as camp as Cotton's, and is described as "very suave and a real charmer" and a "savvy, bright character [who is] very fun." Partidge commented that it would be "stupid" to copy Cotton's character, adding that "it's about time EastEnders had a gay character in the show." Partridge said of his character, "I think he's going to upset the apple cart at the Beales'" and "Christian, like me, is an openly proud gay man and he is certainly going to ruffle a few feathers when he arrives."
Talking about his casting in the role of Christan, Partridge has disclosed: "I'm slightly terrified when I come into work every day. It's an enormous machine. Plus, the actors I work with the most, Adam Woodyatt (Ian) and Laurie Brett (Jane), are such consummate professionals that I don't want to weaken the Beale family or bring anyone down. I want to stand up there with them and be seen as a good team player."
The character's introduction was welcomed by critics as he is "seen as a realistic portrayal of a London based, slightly older gay man." Gareth McLean of The Guardian praised the character, saying "he brings EastEnders a step closer to more accurately resembling London."
Discussing the storyline which sees Christian become involved in Steven Beale's confusion over his sexuality, Partridge has deemed the scene in which the two characters unexpectedly kiss "the first time Christian's ever been lost for words!" Expanding on this, he added: "You know what Christian's like - now that he realises Steven's gay, he's ready to get his big wooden spoon out and give the situation a good old stir! It's not that he's being malicious towards the teenager - after all, they're practically family. [...] The thing is, Christian's really not interested in Steven's sexuality - he just wants to be a mate to him. He's aware of how difficult it is to come out to the people you love. But Christian makes sure Steven knows the score, by subtly telling everyone that he likes real men, not 18-year-old boys!" Following the development which saw Steven accuse Christian of coming on to him, Partridge has given the plot twist his approval, stating: "It could've gone one of two ways, and I'm really glad the producers didn't choose to make Christian look predatory. Sexuality it a difficult issue, but one that definitely needs to be touched upon. I think it'll help to educate people about social situations." 
Partridge has commented that one aspect of his character he most enjoys is "that he weaves in and out of lots of characters' stories, so I have interaction with loads of different people. Take his friendship with Roxy, for example - I absolutely love it, and working with Rita Simons, who plays her, is such a pleasure. We're very natural in that set-up." In turn, Simons has commented that her own character, Roxy, would be "really lost without (Christian). He's her rock".
Christian was first mentioned on 14 January 2008 when his sister Jane Beale received an invitation to his civil ceremony with partner Ashley. Jane threw the invitation in the bin but it was later found by Jane's husband Ian. Jane refused to tell Ian why she did not want to go to the ceremony but Ian wanted to meet him, and invited him and Ashley to dinner at Fargo's.
At the dinner, Christian repeatedly 'lashed out' at all the guests and revealed that he was once in love with Jane's first husband, David. Ashley stormed out of the restaurant, and as Christian had no money, Ian was left to pay the bill.
On 18 January, Christian arrived in Walford as he and Ashley had split up and had nowhere to stay. He apologised to Jane for his behaviour during dinner and Ian reluctantly allowed him to move in. Christian flirted with Ian's stepson, Steven, so Steven pretended Stacey Branning was his girlfriend to put Christian off.
In the café, Christian was chatted up by Roxy Mitchell. He later gave Jane a night out at the R&R nightclub, where he had organised a male stripper for his sister. Roxy continued to flirt with Christian but was shocked when he told her the stripper was an ex-boyfriend. Nevertheless, they became friends and Christian advised her not to tell Ronnie of Jack's one night stand with Selina. However, she went against his advice the following day and told her.
Towards the end of April, Christian became involved in a love triangle between Stacey Slater and Steven Beale, as Steven began to experience confusion over his sexuality. He and Steven shared a kiss in an alleyway, next to R&R. After this, Steven falsely claims that Christian made a move on him, resulting him to leave the Square. His whereabouts were unknown.
Christian returned on May 12 after Steven was exposed as a liar. Ian organised a meal to celebrate Lucy coming back, and to apologise to Christian for the way he treated him.
In June 2008 he was tricked by Lucy into letting her use his flat so she could spent some "quality time" with her boyfriend, Olly. When Lucy and Olly were together in the flat they were about to have sex, but were stopped when Christian walked in on them.
On June 18, Christian was punched by Ian after he found about what happened with Lucy and Olly, which he hadn't informed Ian about. Later, When Ian caught Lucy attempting to leave with Olly, he insisted she move in with Christian again.
- "Partridge to play Jane's brother", BBC, 2007-11-20. Retrieved on 2007-11-20.
- Dadds, Kimberley. "New gay character to join 'EastEnders'", Digital Spy, 2007-11-07. Retrieved on 2007-11-07.
- John Partidge Video Interview. BBC. Retrieved on 2008-02-24.
- Kilkelly, Daniel. "'Enders not copying Corrie's Sean Tully", Digital Spy, 2007-12-08. Retrieved on 2008-02-24.
- Ellis, Sarah, “Going to work terrifies me!”, Inside Soap (England): 18-19, 22 April 2008
- "EastEnders to air new bisexual storyline", Pink News, 2008-02-23. Retrieved on 2008-02-24.
- McLean, Gareth (2008-01-22). Are EastEnders viewers ready for a realistic gay character?. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2008-02-24.
- Ellis, Sarah, “Out of the closet?”, Inside Soap (England): 27, 15 April 2008
- Woodward, Kate, “Roxy's guilty secret!”, Inside Soap (England): 4-5, 22 April 2008
- Christian Clarke at bbc.co.uk