EastEnders‘ Nicola Stapleton talks to Soaplife about how wild woman Mandy’s not-so-fine romance with Ian leads to a marriage proposal!

Mandy Salter and Ian Beale are the unlikeliest of pairs, yet for some reason they’ve really hit it off. But Ian takes things a step further when he proposes to Mandy – even though they haven’t even slept together yet. What on Earth is he thinking?! That’s what we wanted to know from Nicola…

What do Mandy and Ian see in each other?
“He gives her stability and makes her feel safe and I think he likes her because she’s full of energy, life and naughtiness. He starts to buzz off it.”

Why is she flirting with Jack?
“Because he’s good-looking and successful! She’s constantly flirting with Jack and Ian gets really jealous. Mandy enjoys winding him up.”

Is that why she refuses to go for a drive with Ian?
“Well, she’s like, ‘In a family saloon? With a flask of tea? I don’t think so’. Then Ian comes back with this amazing sports car and Mandy changes her mind. She plays a lot of mind games with him. One minute she’s flirting, the next minute she’s pushing him away.”

And the next minute she’s smashing up the car! Why??
“Ian’s trying to be cool like Jack. He makes a suggestive remark and it comes out all wrong and sounds a bit seedy. It actually hurts her because it takes her back to those days of being abused and her feeling like men only treat her one way. She takes Ian’s golf clubs and smashes up the car.”

Was that fun to film?
“No! It was pouring plus I had open-toed shoes on and the glass was going everywhere! And I like cars, so I felt sorry for it! Ian explains it’s a rented car and Mandy throws a can of paint over the bonnet!”

And after all that he proposes?!
“Mandy tells Ian she’s come back to pick up her things and they talk and both admit all they want is to be loved. Ian then suggests they get married.”

How does Mandy feel about that?
“She’s shocked – until she sees the ring. It’s big!”

Is she going to sleep with Ian?
“At the moment, she’s dangling that carrot in front of him and using it to get him to do what she wants. She has got no intention of putting out just yet. She thinks she’s being very clever.”

Does she love Ian?
“There’s certainly a connection between them, but I wouldn’t say it was a deep, romantic love.”

Will they marry?
“I don’t know!”