EastEnders veteran Steve McFadden works so hard he should be knighted, says a fellow Albert Square badboy.

Steve, 62, has appeared in more than 3,100 episodes since first playing Phil Mitchell in 1990.

And Billy Murray, 79 – who once wreaked havoc in Walford as gangster Johnny Allen – reckons his old screen adversary deserves a gong.

He said: “Steve McFadden should be knighted. He works so hard. He should be Sir Steve.

“He has been in EastEnders forever and it is tough working in a soap...Robert De Niro wouldn’t do it, the big actors wouldn’t.

Billy Murray reckons his old screen adversary deserves a gong
Billy Murray reckons his old screen adversary deserves a gong

“You get a script, learn the lines and then it all changes. It takes a lot of your energy.”

If Steve was knighted, it wouldn’t be the first time he met the Queen. She popped into The Queen Vic, on a visit to the set in 2001.

Phil’s storylines have included drink and drug addiction, wife beating and murder. He was also terrorised by Billy’s character Johnny.

The actor with Queen Elizabeth II
The actor with Queen Elizabeth II

The club boss was killed off in 2006 – when Billy won Best Villain at the British Soap Awards.

The actor, who plays another gangster in new movie Nemesis, quashed talk of a soap return.

“I keep getting asked on social media when I’m going back,” he said. “Never, it’s too hard. I’m 80 this year!”

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Billy, who knew the Kray brothers, reckons Brits are hooked on underworld crooks.

He said: “I’m not obsessed with gangsters, the country is obsessed. Don’t ask me why.”