Returning EastEnders actress Lucy Benjamin has spoken of her joy at rekindling her friendship with co-star Tamzin Outhwaite.
The pair recently reunited to film scenes for a super-dramatic plot surrounding Lisa Fowler’s comeback to Albert Square.
She says: “I was last back two years ago [but] I was only back for a four-week stint that time, and I didn’t really see many of the cast, as it was quite an isolated storyline.
“So when I came back in the middle of June this year, seeing familiar faces like Patsy Palmer and Tamzin Outhwaite there, it was just a joy. It was like coming home and it’s been a pleasure ever since.
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“Working with Tamzin Outhwaite again has also been an absolute delight. Tamzin and I were very close all those years ago. Then you know what the business is like – you don’t see each other for a while.
“We bumped into each other actually on New Tricks once, but we didn’t have the time that we’ve had over the past couple of months. We’ve renewed our friendship and the chemistry between us is fantastic.
“It was like it was only yesterday that we were working as Lisa and Mel. We have a great time and we’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.”
And the actress couldn’t be happier to play the role of Lisa again.
“I love Lisa. She’s a joy to play. She’s so layered and so multi-faceted. I think there’s still so much to discover about Lisa and about what makes her tick,” she adds.
“As an actor it’s just a delight to be given a character like that. I feel like I know her very well. It makes things easier to play when you’re so engaged in a character.
“I just get her, I see where she’s going and therefore I love her very much.
While she’s remaining tight-lipped about Lisa’s comeback next week, she’s promised explosive action.
“What a very dramatic week for her to return! It’s all going on in that week and drama just seems to follow Lisa around, which is fantastic.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way, to be honest.
“But when I first got the scripts I remember speaking to [executive producer] Jon Sen and saying: ‘Oh flipping heck! This is just crazy’. I’m thrilled to be part of this storyline.”
“Oh, I hope so – else it wouldn’t be right, really. There’s all of that to come, as you’d expect.
“I’m back to do a stint, but I can’t give too much away about how long I’m back for. But there’s more of what you would hope to come. Lisa always brings trouble and causes Phil lots of trouble.”
Lisa’s battle with mental health is well-documented on the soap, but Lucy assures that her character is currently on good form.
“She’s well at the moment. She’s on her medication, so she’s turned a corner,” she explains.
“She still has her therapy, but she’s tickety-boo, in as much as she’s taking the medication that she should be taking.
“We’ll be seeing the calmer, more sane side of Lisa now. She’s on top of her illness, she knows what she has to do in order to stay straight and together.
“That means medication probably for the rest of her life, but there is always that danger when she doesn’t take it that things could go a bit wrong.”
Lucy reveals she’s very proud to have been such a central part to one of the show’s biggest ever plots, Who Shot Phil Mitchell? (Lisa, as it turned out!)
“It’s incredible really,” she says. “People say to me all the time when I’m out shopping: ‘When are you going to go back and sort Phil out once and for all?’
“It’s something I’m really proud of and thrilled to have been the person who actually pulled the trigger. I think people have several times since, but I was the first!
“It was a very proud moment in my EastEnders career and it’s still incredible how people still remember it and Lisa’s dynamic with Phil.”
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