Jo Joyner and Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning
Soaps

EastEnders’ Jo Joyner reveals she wasn’t told about Lauren Branning recast

The Tanya actress said she wasn't consulted about the changes

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EastEnders star Jo Joyner has revealed bosses didn’t tell her that her on-screen daughter was being recast.

The actress played mother-of-four Tanya Branning in the soap on and off from 2006 until 2018.

Jo Joyner played Tanya Branning from 2006 (Credit: ITV)

However when bosses decided to replace child actress Madeline Duggan with Jacqueline Jossa after four years, no one told Jo.

Speaking to Distinct Nostalgia podcast, Jo said: “It was weird for me because you’re not consulted and I was on maternity leave.

“So if Jake hadn’t have told me, I would have just come back from maternity leave to a different daughter.

Read more: EastEnders shock split for Denise Fox and Jack Branning over Phil Mitchell

“It’s a machine and it just keeps going regardless of you. He had rung, and Maddie had rung and said that was happening.

“I think I spoke to them about it and I felt for Jacs coming in, actually, because of being in a show where people are fond of the show.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like having to come in and replace someone in the show.”

BBC
Madeline Duggan played Lauren for four years (Credit: BBC)

Speaking further, she said: “It must be double hard. I just remember thinking to make sure she’s comfortable. I’m not going to not like her because she’s not my original daughter.”

And she revealed she isn’t worried about Tanya being recast – as she would definitely return if asked.

“I’ve never even thought about being recast,” she said.

Lauren Branning left viewers confused as she left EastEnders last night
Jacqueline Jossa took over the Lauren Branning and played her for another eight years (Credit: BBC)

EastEnders actors are never bigger than the show, says Jo Joyner

“It must be bizarre. I don’t think they’d recast without asking if I’d go back so I’m sure I’d get some forewarning about it.

“It’s whatever’s best for the show – you’re never bigger than the show.”

ED! contacted the BBC for comment.

Jo also spoke about why she finally decided to leave the soap, with a year left to go on her contract.

She added: “It was my decision to leave and I was really lucky actually because I had another year in my contract. I had a sabbatical coming up and I said, ‘I don’t think I’m going to want to come back’.

“It was purely because of the life circumstances, because our family were very much in story for a good few years.

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“The rhythm of the soaps used to go six weeks on, six weeks off.

“So as soon as you’re exhausted, the story lets up, it goes to another family and you’re in a bit less.

“And then it hams up again. But for whatever reason the couple of years where my babies had been born were my heaviest. We were never out of story and there was no let up.”

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