EastEnders’ Gillian Taylforth sums up Kathy’s return: ‘Emotional. Life-affirming. Guilt’

After two brief glimpses of Kathy Beale the EastEnders legend made her return to Albert Square proper this week… Gillian Taylforth tells Soaplife how it happened and what to expect…

What’s it like to be back at EastEnders?
“It’s lovely being back. I’m really enjoying it. It’s lovely seeing some of the people I used to work with before and to meet the new people.”

How did it feel to be such a dramatic part of the live 30th anniversary episode?
“It was amazing. It was wonderful they chose that time to have me back. It could have been any time, but it was just amazing to be involved with the legacy of 30 years of EastEnders.”

Was it hard to keep such a big secret?
“It was very difficult! I couldn’t tell my children, I couldn’t tell my sister or my family, who I tell everything to. They were all saying to me around the anniversary week, ‘EastEnders is good this week!’ and I just had to say nothing!”

How did they react when you actually appeared on screen?
“When I came on screen, my brother just texted me, saying, ‘What the…!’ And I had so many texts from people about it all saying, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe you’re back!’”

Did it take long to get back into Kathy’s shoes?
“No. Once I did a couple of scenes with Steve [McFadden, who plays Phil] and wore her jewellery, it was like I’d never been away! I can’t wait to do scenes in The Vic and in the cafe. Then I’ll think I’m home.”

What’s it like working with Paul Nicholas, who plays Kathy’s husband, Gavin?
“He’s lovely and he’s a really nice guy. We had quite a few laughs. We had some lovely stuff to do at an airfield and at a railway station, so we were thrown into it straight away.”

Can you describe what’s coming up for Kathy in three words?
“Emotional. Life-affirming. Guilt.”

EastEnders, BBC1.


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