Here’s your full guide to the six-part EastEnders spin-off that sends Kat and Alfie Moon to Ireland:
When’s it on? Kat and Alfie: Redwater begins on Thursday 18 May on BBC1 at 8:00pm (RTE One shows it on 14 May)
What’s the series about? The drama takes the beloved EastEnders characters over to the coastal village of Redwater, where Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) – accompanied by husband Alfie (Shane Richie) and son Tommy (Henry Proctor) – is on the hunt for her long-lost son. As fans of the soap know, Kat gave birth to twins at the age of 14 after being raped by her uncle Harry. Daughter Zoe was raised as Kat’s sister, but her son was taken by nuns to Ireland. Having only recently been made aware of his existence, Kat is now determined to track him down.
What happens in episode one? Kat, Alfie and son Tommy arrive in Redwater (the last known location of Kat’s son), where celebrations are in full flow for a lively annual fundraiser.
Despite promising Alfie that she will keep a low profile, Kat can’t resist making her presence felt and is soon on the hunt for her son. Andrew (Peter Campion), the son of Roisin (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Padraig (Stephen Hogan) and wife of local Garda Bernie (Susan Ateh) seems the perfect fit. Could Kat have found him so soon?
Kat (Jessie Wallace) with Andrew (Peter Campion)
Alfie tells his wife not to get her hopes up – but this Kat we’re talking about, a woman hardly known for her caution. Soon, the inhabitants’ tongues start wagging and conspiracy theories form as people start to wonder if the Moons really are just visiting for a holiday.
As the celebrations spill into the local pub, Kat finds an ally in Lance (Ian McElhinney). He’s been in Redwater forever and seems to know everyone and everything. And as the party progresses, Kat is soon in danger of exposing her identity and her secret.
As Kat relentlessly pursues her quest for confirmation that Andrew is her long-lost son, she ruffles feathers with Andrew’s mother Roisin at their family farm, further fuelling the rumour mill – until matriarch Agnes (Fionnula Flanagan) intercepts and sends Kat politely on her way. Alfie once again has to play peacekeeper, pulling Kat into line and making peace with the locals, while allowing the dust to settle.
But distracted by her quest, Kat fails to notice that Alfie – who lest we forget is suffering with a brain tumour – is hiding his failing health from her…
Where is the series filmed? Redwater is shot in Dunmore East, County Waterford, Ireland. Says Jessie Wallace of her filming experiences: “It’s a little jewel that I’d never heard of. Every corner you turn there’s something beautiful, with stunning beaches, and the people here are so friendly and welcoming.”
Adds co-star Shane Richie: “I hope when this goes out it will certainly put Dunmore East on the map! I just hope it runs and runs and Redwater goes on forever.”
Alfie (Shane Richie) with Dermott Dolan (Oisin Stack)
Will there be lots of references to EastEnders? In short, no. Show bosses have made sure that Redwater stands on its own two feet, so there will be no “You ain’t my mother!” callbacks. Says executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins: “We’ve created a companion character piece to EastEnders, a whole new world of secrets and lies and a new cast of characters that we hope viewers will take to their hearts, as much as they have Kat and Alfie.”
Comments Shane Richie: “It’s not a spin off – it’s a stand-alone drama. The whole Kat and Alfie thread, looking for a son, and Alfie’s brain tumour, is just part of a large tapestry of other stories that are happening in Redwater. It really is an ensemble piece.”
Agnes (Fionnula Flanagan) and Kat (Jessie Wallace)
Who plays who in Kat and Alfie: Redwater? There’s a big cast revolving around four families: the Moons (obviously), the Byrnes, the Kellys and the Dolans. Here’s a full cast list for episode one:
Kathleen Moon – Jessie Wallace
Alfie Moon – Shane Richie
Agnes Byrne – Fionnula Flanagan
Lance Byrne – Ian McElhinney
Roisin Kelly – Maria Doyle Kennedy
Padraig Kelly – Stephen Hogan
Bernie Kelly – Susan Ateh
Andrew Kelly – Peter Campion
Adeen Kelly – Ebony O’Toole-Acheampong
Dermott Dolan – Oisin Stack
Peter Dolan – Stanley Townsend
Iris Dolan – Orla Hannon
Tommy Moon – Henry Proctor
Director: Jesper W Nielsen
Producer: Victoria Wharton
Writer: Matthew Graham
Is there a trailer to watch? Of course!
And – the big question – is it any good? Whether you’re a die-hard EastEnders fans or someone who has never had much to do with Kat and Alfie before, there’s so much to enjoy in Redwater. Atmospheric, intriguing and with a primetime sheen that seems a world away from soapland, it’ll have you hooked from episode one. As exec producer Treadwell-Collins says, “It’s Shane and Jessie giving their best Broadchurch.”