Luisa Bradshaw-White will appear for the first time as Tina Carter in tonight’s episode of EastEnders (BBC1, 8pm).
Her debut will come as Phil (Steve McFadden) finally discovers the whereabouts of ex-girlfriend Shirley (Linda Henry), who has been living with her estranged sister Tina (Linda Henry) after being chased out of Walford by bad boy Carl White (Daniel Coonan). After Shirley reveals that she has run out of cash, Phil convinces her to return to E20, only for Tina to follow her back there later in the week.
Bradshaw-White, who previously played Kira in This Life and nurse Lisa Fox in Holby City, recently said of her casting: “I’d never wanted to do EastEnders. I always thought, ‘God no, I can’t cope with that sort of fame’. But all of a sudden I got older and felt more chilled out.”
Speaking to TV Times, the 37-year-old also revealed that the role of Tina had been reworked especially for her: “The casting director said she had me in as her wild card for Shirley’s sister. The character was originally supposed to be an overweight 50-year-old who’s past it. I turned up looking lovely to ask them if they had anything else, and they rewrote it for me.
“It’s such a good part. Tina is really funny and has some brilliant one-liners. She and Shirley spend a lot of time shouting, but there’s real love there. They don’t shout through anger, it’s just what they do, and the next minute they’re talking normally or giggling.”
Bradshaw-White’s casting comes amid a general expansion for Shirley’s family – her brother Mick Carter (as played by Danny Dyer) will arrive this Christmas, along with wife Linda (Kellie Bright) and two children Nancy and Johnny.