Former Coronation Street actress Fiona Allen is to guest star in EastEnders.
The 54-year-old actress – best known for starring in the likes of Smack the Pony and Goodness Gracious Me – will arrive in Walford this winter as Michaela Turnbull, who is on a mission to track down her son, Leo King (Tom Wells).
Fiona, who has already filmed her scenes, told Whats On TV: “I really enjoyed being part of EastEnders and was made to feel really welcome by everyone.
“My character is strong and down to earth, a tough cookie who doesn’t give up easily in life no matter what is thrown at her.”
Fiona starred in Corrie in the 90s as Jackie Stone, who was involved with Mike Baldwin.
She blackmailed Mike after luring him into bed to win a fabric order with him. It was later revealed she was working with Greg Kelly.
Leo recently arrived in Walford and started getting close to Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty).
Viewers are aware that Leo is the son of Whitney’s late predatory stepfather Tony King (Chris Coghill), who Leo believes was innocent.
Michaela is also aware that Leo believes this and has been unable to convince him otherwise.
But her arrival in Albert Square will spell trouble for Leo, who has managed to hide his true identity from Whitney, who thinks of him as her ideal man.
And the storyline could well be a long one as EastEnders executive producer Jon Sen recently admitted he and senior executive producer Kate Oates are keen for Whitney to be “front and centre of the show” in upcoming plots.
He said: “We talk often about Whitney, her troubled past, her history with men and her bad luck in relationships.
“Shona plays tragedy so well. Whitney’s such a compelling character and she’s a character who you can give really tough stories to and she plays them with such conviction and power.
“When I joined, Kate and I had a conversation and said, ‘We’re fascinated by Whitney, the enigma, this character with this past we all know about and the fact she can never find happiness, and where do we go?’
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“We agreed we wanted to push her front and centre of the show in terms of investing in that character and this story becomes a chapter in a much longer arc that we have planned.
“Without saying too much, it becomes [clear] that this is just one more chapter in her story. But over time, over the next 18 months, she learns from everything you’re going to see coming up.”
Kate added: “We know where we’re taking Whitney across a couple of years, which is always a joy with a character because we don’t always get that.”
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