Former EastEnders star Tanya Franks has said she believes her character’s crack cocaine addiction storyline was important as it highlighted a serious issue.

The soap star played Phil Mitchell’s drug addict and alcoholic girlfriend Rainie Cross, whose drug use on the pre-watershed soap sparked complaints, but the teetotal actress told The Independent she is proud of the storyline.

Tanya said: “I think it can be massively helpful when a popular show like EastEnders covers an issue as important as drugs.

“If EastEnders has saved one life by putting this story out it’s worth it.”

The 44-year-old star – who left the show at Christmas – was helped by the charity DrugScope while researching the storyline and is now campaigning to save young people’s drug and alcohol services from tax cuts.

Tanya also revealed she doesn’t even drink because she is so scared of addiction.

She said: “In real life I’m a very cautious person. I’m fearful of things and not into experimentation.

“I’d always think, what if I’m the person who gets addicted? I’d think I might not be able to handle it. I’d think I’d be the one to get caught. I’ve been like that all my life.”