Former EastEnders actress Jessie Wallace is to snare Robin Hood baddie Richard Armitage in a new BBC drama.

Jessie, who was feisty Kat Slater in the soap, plays the title role in Marie Lloyd — and Richard stars as one of her three husbands. Richard, 35, is best known as the evil Guy of Gisborne in BBC1’s recent drama series, Robin Hood.

Jessie, also 35 — famed for a string of disastrous relationships off screen — plays a character with a similarly troubled love life.

Cockney singing sensation Marie was a big star in Victorian times with her nudge-nudge comedy and music hall songs like My Old Man Said Follow The Van.

A show insider said: “Jessie’s not dating, she’s lost a heap of weight and she feels great. But she gets to frolic with one of TV’s best-looking blokes.”

The BBC4 drama will be Jessie’s second project after quitting as Albert Square’s Kat Slater in 2005. She is set to star in the BBC drama A Class Apart as a single mum who falls for a posh headmaster.

Jessie is also in talks to appear in another BBC drama, playing a mum on the run with her son in the 1950s.