EastEnders: Denise Welch to play Kyle’s mum Alison Slater

"It’s a short stint but such a powerful role and I’m thrilled to be taking it on," says the actress

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Ex-Loose Women panellist and former Coronation Street star Denise Welch has joined the cast of EastEnders.

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The 57-year-old actress is to play the role of Alison Slater, the mother of transgender character Kyle, and will appear on screens from spring.

Welch said today: “I’m thrilled to be part of such an iconic show. I have friends in the cast and can’t wait to start. It’s a short stint but such a powerful role and I’m thrilled to be taking it on.”

Alison’s arrival is set to cause a stir when it’s revealed she’s struggled to accept her son’s choice to transition. How will Alison react to seeing her son as Kyle for the first time and will Stacey be able to look past the bigamous marriage Alison had with Brian?

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Denise Welch (right, as Natalie Barnes) in Coronation Street with Liz Dawn and Bill Tarmey

Since playing landlady Natalie Barnes on Coronation Street between 1997 and 2000, Welch has gone on to feature in dramas such as Waterloo Road, Benidorm and Casualty. She has also recently turned to writing fiction, her debut novel If They Could See Me Now having been published last month.

Of what viewers can expect to see from the character of Alison on EastEnders, a source added to the Mirror: “Denise will star in a few episodes that see a lot of focus on her character.

“Alison is finding it difficult to accept her daughter is now her son and the storyline will follow her meeting Kyle for the first time. It will deal with very sensitive issues.”

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.

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And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.