Shaun Williamson and ‘secret son’ Gary Robinson celebrate Father’s Day

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Shaun Williamson and Gary Robinson were first reunited in 2013 (Picture: Rex)

EastEnders’ actor Shaun Williamson and his ‘secret son’ Gary Robinson have celebrated Father’s Day together in a pub as Gary recalled his ‘absolute amazement’ at finding out who his real father was.

The 34-year-old, who enjoyed Shaun’s character Barry in the soap, and in particular when Shaun guested on his favourite TV comedy show Extras, has said people ‘never believe him’ when he tells them who his dad is.

Shaun had a relationship with Gary’s juggler mum in the 1980s when he was a Pontins Bluecoat, and described finding out Gary was his son as ‘the biggest shock of my life’.

Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, Gary revealed: ‘My nan used to tell me I loved EastEnders as a boy. One of my favourites was Barry. Nan always told me his storylines had me hooked and made me laugh. 

‘For years I thought someone else was my dad, but some information from my mum and a paternity test revealed that it was in fact the bloke I used to watch on the TV all those years ago.

‘The guy I thought was my father left when I was six, but to now have the relationship I do with Shaun is a dream. It’s proof that sometimes miracles do happen.’

Shaun and his son Gary share a passion for performing (Picture: ITV)

Shaun, 55, added: ‘Father’s Day has never been more important to me. I now have three wonderful kids.

‘To find Gary and get on so well with him shows you the incredible things life can throw up.

‘I know I’ve missed out on a lot of his life — now I can make up for it.’

Shaun played one of the best-known characters in British soap history as Barry, and his exit from EastEnders, when he was pushed off a cliff by girlfriend Janine Butcher, was watched by 15million people.

Gary and Shaun share a love for performing as Gary attended drama school and has ‘always been into performing’. He now works as a kitchen manager.

In a further odd twist of fate, Gary came close to meeting Shaun before he knew he was his father due to his fandom of Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais’s Extras.

Gary was a huge fan of Extras and loved the ‘Barry’ episode (Picture: Getty Images)

Recalling how much he and his friends loved the show – and especially when Stephen and Ricky called Shaun “Barry” all the way through his episode – Gary claimed: ‘That was the way I got to know my dad, years before I even knew he was my actual father.’

He and his pals were ‘so obsessed’ with the comedy that they tried to meet Shaun when they saw he was performing in Gary’s hometown of Belfast, but it didn’t work out, although Gary labelled the possibility of the accidental meeting of father and son as ‘quite remarkable’.

Shaun and Gary have been in touch since 2013 when Gary’s sister revealed the truth to him, which his mother then confirmed.

Having had an initial meeting at a pub, when Gary was ‘so nervous’ ahead of their 20-year catch-up, the duo now meet up several times a year, with Gary having moved over to Leeds from Northern Ireland.

Gary described himself as ‘thankful’ that he’d been reunited with his real father, while Shaun admitted that he ‘still has to pinch [him]self’ over their relationship.

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