Nicola Stapleton is a murder suspect in The Bill

DS Max Carter takes charge in this week’s episode of The Bill (Tuesday, ITV1, 9pm) when the badly beaten, dead body of man, Liam Powell is found on a footpath…

When the Sun Hill team question nearby pub landlord Nick Willis and his girlfriend, Louisa Gates (played by ex-EastEnders star Nicola Stapleton) they discover that Liam was a pub regular, and was in there drinking the night before he was murdered…

Tell us more about your character, Nicola. Is she a suspect?

“My character, Louisa, is quite aloof when the police first interview her. But later they confront her with some CCTV footage they’ve found, showing Louisa arguing with Liam outside the pub. So the plot thickens and she becomes their main suspect.”

And this isn’t the first time you’ve appeared on The Bill is it?

“In a 30 year career I’ve done quite a few episodes of The Bill. In fact, it was one of the first jobs I ever did when I was younger. I remember doing an episode with Linda Robson. We played a couple of feuding women who were really skanky. We had such a laugh!”

It’s been over 15 years since you played loose canon, Mandy Salter in EastEnders. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from Albert Square?

“I still see some of the cast from time to time, including Sid Owen and Steve McFadden. I was actually back at the EastEnders studios for the 25th anniversary to watch the live episode. I was really on the edge of my chair for those actors. It was so nerve-wrecking, but such an amazing atmosphere to watch it live on set!”

What else are you up to at the moment?

“I’m actually writing a sitcom. It’s the first comedy I’ve ever written. I can’t give too much away about the story. But it’s very young and fresh, with lots of female characters. There’s not a lot of great written parts for women of my age in this genre, so this is a way of writing a role I’d like to do. But I don’t mind whether I get to play the part of not!”

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