Guest of Honour. Erkan, who starred as iconic fat kid Roland on TV's Grange Hill, will be cutting the ribbon and participating in the inaugural event, Rolling With Roland. Right on! Here's a little interview with the big guy.
How come you're supporting the Fattylympics?
I am supporting the Fattylympics because as a fat person I feel that this is the only Olympics that wants me to be a part of things. We know that sports people spend years in training to be the best at what they do. It has taken me years to be this fat and I want to celebrate it with like-minded people.
A big part of the way that the Olympics is playing out in East London is in hectoring kids to be more sporty. I think this is a bit of a nightmare for kids who aren't sporty, including the fat ones. What do you think?
I feel that too much is put on children to be sporty, a lot of kids hate sports and it really is hard for fat children to be accepted in sports. It would be nice if children would be allowed to be who they are, not what people want them to be. Growing up in East London, if you were not playing football or cricket it was seen that there was something wrong with you. I played my own sport, donut eating, which I excelled in. Maybe I should put this forward as an event for 2020 games.
It was pretty incredible having a character like Roland on TV every week, seeing some of my experience as a young fat person reflected in him. I think your work as Roland gave me a lot of confidence as a fatty out there, doing things in the world. Thanks for that. I imagine you hear this kind of thing from time to time, how does it affect you?
Over the years many people have came up to me a thank me for playing Roland as they feel he was the only character that they could relate to when they were growing up. Roland started off a shy lonely fat child who was bullied for being different, nothing has changed over the years since I was on TV children still are bullied for being different. As the years went on Roland was liked for just being him. He even excelled in playing basketball, which I loved. I feel that there is not a similar character on TV today that fat children can relate to.
What are your tips for surviving being an extremely famous child actor?
I have been asked many times how I survive being a famous child. I always reply "I haven't" then walk off.
We've heard that you're partial to a bit of carrot cake, how true is that?
There is a rumor going round that I love carrot cake, well the truth of the matter is that I just can't get enough of them just that I can't make it so I beg borrow and steal them as much as I can.
Yay! Catch Erkan on 7 July and, if you're a person of a certain age, don't forget to thank him for his excellent portrayal of Roland. Bonus points if you can bring him a carrot cake (banana bread also acceptable).