Who knew her bad eyesight would come in so handy?
The 43 year old actress says that, as much as she doesn’t like being unable to see her co-stars properly, it has proved “invaluable” in making Linda look inebriated and confused.
Kellie tells us: “I’ve worn glasses since I was about five years old, and I went to school and couldn’t see the blackboard properly. Both my parents wear glasses, so it was probably inevitable. Without my contacts, I’m pretty blind.
“At first, I hated it [taking them out] because it can make you feel a bit queasy and odd when you can’t see very well. But I’ve found it invaluable in that I couldn’t really focus on people and their faces and features – you know that detachment that you can get when you’re drunk, when you’re on your own path and you don’t necessarily engage with the people around you.”
Linda starting to drink heavily at the end of last year to help relieve the stress of husband Mick’s panic attacks and son Ollie’s autism diagnosis. Now in the grip of an alcohol addiction, she has become increasingly aggressive and paranoid, and recently stunned Mick by presenting with divorce papers; believing he had ‘turned against her’ by secretly plotting with his mum Shirley to take Ollie away from her.
Speaking about the once loved-up Linda’s acid tongue, Kellie says: “I call it my wine witch – the wine witch will come out. It all comes from a deep, dark, painful place, and I do think that we take things out on the people that we are closest to, for sure. Linda’s paranoia just grows and grows, which is symptomatic of alcoholism.”
But she adds that she has relished the chance to play another ‘side’ to her famous alter-ego.
“I’ve played Linda for six and a half years now, and to be given the opportunity to look at another aspect of her personality has been such a gift, and I have loved every second of it,” says Kellie.
“It’s been like playing a new side of Linda that we’ve never seen before, and it’s been brilliant.”
EastEnders continues on BBC1.