EastEnders‘ Jo Joyner talks to Soaplife about how Tanya tackles her cervical cancer…

Tanya’s cancer treatment begins and while most sufferers would want friends and family rallying around for support, there’s only one person by her side: Lauren. But is it too much responsibility for the sulky teen? Soaplife talked to Jo Joyner about the storyline.

Is Tanya relieved that Lauren knows?
“She is hugely grateful that Lauren is with her when she starts treatment, but she still wishes that she didn’t have to be burdened with it. It is a lot of pressure on Lauren, but she’s the one who says to her mum, ‘Let’s not tell Abi. I can handle it.'”

What does Abi think is going on?
“She thinks Tanya is pregnant! Tanya’s so self-absorbed she isn’t noticing Abi’s teenage rebellion. And Abi, bless her, she’s really having to make a fuss to get noticed.”

Why doesn’t Tanya just tell people the truth?
“She doesn’t want pity. She has nursed her father and seen the disgust at somebody who is ill. She doesn’t want people treating her differently and wrapping her up in cotton wool.”

It must be a huge effort to carry on as normal…
“She’s of the mind that it’s probably a healthier place for her head than to be reminded of it by everyone and everything all the time.”

How does Tanya feel about chemo?
“She’s just starting her chemotherapy and it’s a very scary time, as she doesn’t really know what to expect. At one point she bottles it. She goes to the toilet and thinks, ‘I’m too scared’. Then she meets a woman called Siobhan who has lost her hair, but is very vibrant and lively and she changes her mind.”

Does Tanya fear she is going to die?
“Obviously she knows there’s the possibility of that, but she’s remaining positive and thinks that she has got a good chance. It’s not until later that she will go, ‘Oh God no! Maybe I will die from it and this is actually horrifying’ and spin out.”

Will Tanya start to look ill?
“I would like her to and I made a point of saying, ‘Unless we ever see her looking tired, these references are going to be rubbish’ because she’s keeping up the pretence and putting on lots of make-up. But I have had my extensions out and the false lashes are coming off. It will be a slow decline. You don’t lose your hair from cervical cancer treatment though.”

Is she thinking about Max?
“All the time. He’s the love of her life. There’s some really great stuff to come with Max, Cora and Tanya and her past. It all comes to a bit of a head.”