Gemma McCluskie: Bafta award winning director Adam Deacon pays tribute to EastEnders actress

Bafta award winning director and actor Adam Deacon this week told the Advertiser Gemma McCluskie was a “great friend” as he remembered how happy she was to land a role in EastEnders

The Hackney actor, who went to drama school with Miss McCluskie, was joined by actress Evelyn Duah, who was their drama teacher, in paying tribute.

Mr Deacon, 29, who rose to fame in the film Kidulthood, said: “Gemma was in my class. We became great friends and travelled back to east London together. She always wanted a part in EastEnders and I remember how happy she was when finally offered a role.

“She was a very talented actress. She had bundles of energy and I’ll always remember her.”

Actress Evelyn Duah, who stars in TV series The Bill and Any Human Heart, also remembers Miss McCluskie from their theatre school days.

She said: “She was petite in stature but with a large, vivacious personality. “She was fantastic at improvisation and her ambition was to become a jobbing actress. I know she had a fantastic time in EastEnders.”

Although Miss McCluskie has not had other big roles since EastEnders, Ms Duah said she absolutely thought she could have landed more acting jobs.

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She sad: “She had so much to live for. We were close-knit people at the school and we’re all very shocked and saddened to learn of her death. It is really sickening.”

For the past two years Miss McCluskie had been caring for her 56-year-old mother, who is battling cancer.

Tributes to Gemma have been poured onto Twitter now suggesting that an episode of EastEnders should be dedicated to her.

EastEnders co-stars Natalie Cassidy, Martine McCutcheon and Brooke Kinsella had all taken to Twitter to help in the search for Gemma until they learned of her tragic death.

But Ms Cassidy, who played Sonia, raged on Twitter at people making jokes about Miss McCluskie’s torso.

“You disgusting excuse for a human being. Go and crawl back were you come from. Shouldn’t waste time on you but I’m angry,” she tweeted.

In another tweet she said: “And you have a daughter! That torso you joked about is somebody’s daughter.”