When did you find out you’d be returning?
“It’s been kept a secret for some time. I had a meeting with Dominic [Treadwell-Collins, executive producer] and Julia [Crampsie, casting director]… It was quite a few months back now.”
How did you react when you found out?
“EastEnders is a home away from home for me. I’d been away for a good couple of years but I felt very good about the return. I felt refreshed and recharged and had missed the people I worked with. There’s a whole new bunch of cast members there now and new management. Everything’s changed so it’s exciting to go back. The show’s got lots of exciting things going on at the moment. It was like coming back to my family.”
Was it hard to keep it a secret?
“Yes … kind of! A few people like my family knew but I had to say don’t say anything. It’s going to be interesting seeing the response because I don’t think anyone’s expecting it. I’m constantly getting tweets saying they want Ronnie [Samantha Womack] and Jack back together so it will be good to see how everyone reacts.”
Ronnie is shocked to see Jack Branning is back in Albert Square
Can you give us a little tease about why Jack is back in the Square?
“He’s actually back to see his daughter, Amy [the child he had with Roxy]. Everyone will probably think he’s back for Ronnie but that wasn’t his initial plan. Of course, though, if Ronnie and Jack see each other then something’s going to happen. As much as they avoid each other, as soon as they see each other things tend to spark off and that’s the case here. It shows they are destined to be together. But it’s not straightforward. It will be interesting because he has no idea what’s been going on with Ronnie. Jack’s not stupid, though and knows when Ronnie is performing. So he’s back to see his daughter but ends up spending time trying to work out what’s going on with Ronnie.”
Jack sees Ronnie – but does he want her?
How did it feel to be part of Christmas in Albert Square?
“It felt great. You sometimes don’t realise how big an institution the show is at Christmas. People sit down with their families and watch it together, it’s a big event. So it felt good to be asked to come back for this time of year.”