Linda Davidson is back on the square next week after 31 years

Linda Davidson has opened up about her highly publicised return to the soap as former punk Mary Smith, and admitted that it was “overwhelming” to be back in EastEnders after 31 years.

Mary will feature in the episode that transmits on 19th February when she makes a brief visit to Walford with daughter Annie to attend the wake of GP Harold Legg. She’s not the only former resident making a comeback, as ex Queen Vic barman Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt) will also put in an appearance.

Asked about how she felt to return to her old stomping ground, Linda said: “It felt amazing, and we had such a laugh. But the first time I walked out onto the lot and walked past number 23, where Mary lived, it was a little overwhelming to begin with.

“They were quite clever actually, because they got us in to do a photo shoot first, and that sort of got us over the fact of ‘Oh my God, it’s been over 30 years!’ Because I was 25 then and I was a girl, and now I’m not 25 and I’m a woman.”

Linda quit the soap in 1988 and continued to act for several years before having a career change. The star, now 54, wrote the website for BBC1 science show Tomorrow’s World, before launching the EastEnders website for BBC Online. She’s currently Director of Digital and Technology for the Jamie Oliver Group.

Back in the 80s, her alter-ego, single mum Mary, worked as a stripper and was unable to read. But EastEnders fans will learn that she has since turned her life around and is quite the success story….

EastEnders continues on BBC1.