First glimpse of Kat and Alfie Moon in EastEnders spin-off Redwater

Shane Richie says the soap's dark new spin-off series set in Ireland is "like Broadchurch"

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Feast your eyes on this – the first picture of the long-awaited EastEnders spin-off, Redwater.

And, if this dramatic and brooding publicity shot is anything to go by, it doesn’t look like things in Ireland are going to be a barrel of laughs for Kat and Alfie Moon.

Then again, they’re used to the miseries of life in Walford so that shouldn’t really be anything new.

Set on a cliff edge overlooking the sea, with a dark and stormy sky for a dramatic backdrop, the soap icons are joined by three new co-stars – one of whom is, perhaps rather foolishly, on horseback.

The ‘dark thriller’, which starts on BBC One next month, has been created by former EastEnders executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins.

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The six-part series follows the much-loved characters Kat and Alfie – played by Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie – as they arrive in the fictional seaside Irish village of Redwater, to try and track down Kat’s grown-up son.

Back in 2015, when the couple last appeared in the soap, Kat learned that when she had given birth to daughter Zoe at just 14 years old, she had actually had twins. But she was never told about her son Luke, who was given away to an Irish family.

So now the former landlord and landlady of the Queen Vic, along with their young son Tommy, have come to the village to look for answers.

Appearing alongside Shane and Jessie will be a host of Irish acting talent, including Maria Doyle Kennedy, Angeline Ball, Stephen Hogan and Oisin Stack. Star Trek and Brotherhood star Fionnula Flanagan – who is front and centre in the new official picture – plays a character called Agnes, described as “full of secrets, deceit and manipulation”.

Filming took place in various locations across Ireland last year. And BBC bosses have been so pleased with what they’ve seen that Redwater has already been commissioned for a second series.

Leading man Shane told the Irish Daily Star: “It’s like Broadchurch. It’s a dark thriller we never really referenced before on EastEnders. I hope EastEnders fans will watch it, and non-fans give it a chance it because it’s a good thriller.”

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Director Jesper W. Nielsen added: “We have a really important and fantastic story to tell.

“It’s about how one woman’s search for a lost child opens Pandora’s box; revealing the terrible lies and secrets in the little village of Redwater.

“It’s a story about how the strong bonds of love in a family can hold everything together, and yet at the same time – destroy everything.”