A struggling radio playwright made the break into film-making after bumping into a former EastEnders TV star at their local supermarket.

The two got on famously and Gary Hailes, who played Barry Clark from 1986 to 1989, agreed to take part in a short movie Winchmore Hill writer Carl Chetty has been putting together, which he filmed at the newly-refurbished Fox pub in Palmer’s Green.

The film, called Off Centre, is a monologue about feeling guilty for bad behaviour, with Hailes playing the bad boy turning over a new leaf.

This follows Carl’s first short film In the Dog House being screened in Stoke Newington at the ‘Super Shorts Hackney’ event on December 3 at The Others venue in Manor Road. That one stars Tom Butcher, who played Pc Steve Loxton in The Bill on ITV.

“I’m a struggling writer,” Carl admits. “I make short films to showcase my radio plays and am also writing a psycho thriller novel.”

The “40 something” bachelor from Winchmore Hill, just 10 minutes from The Fox pub, grew up in Islington desperate to get into the entertainment industry.

He took odd jobs in the Harry Potter merchandise department, worked as a “meet and greet” assistant at a West End theatre and sold theatre tickets.

His big break came with his first radio play, but Carl's real love was television.

He knew actress June Brown, who also played Dot Cotton in EastEnders, which was filmed at the BBC's Elstree studios in Borehamwood, from one of his radio plays.

“She tried to get me onto EastEnders’ scriptwriting team,” Carl recalls. “But I didn’t have enough TV experience.

“Then I kept bumping into Gary Hailes in Sainsbury’s as we both live in the area. I told him I make films. He had free time and was all for supporting me. 

“The Fox pub allowed us to film for four hours with no fee.”

His Off Centre movie is now in the can to be edited for public screening, a scoop getting the 58-year-old TV star to take part.

Hailes, who went to Holloway Secondary School, has been in several films since his days in EastEnders, including The Killing Zone, Murder with Mirrors and Waiting for a Killer.

Now he can add Carl Chetty’s short movie filmed at The Fox pub to his portfolio.