He’s the man who resurrected Kathy Beale and reunited Grant and Peggy Mitchell for the first time in a decade, but outgoing EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins has revealed that he failed to persuade one original cast member to return to the BBC1 soap.
Speaking to Radio Times, Treadwell-Collins has revealed that he was unable to get Susan Tully – who played Michelle Fowler between 1985 and 1995 – to make a comeback.
“There’s one character that I wanted to get back and that was Michelle. And I did try. Sue Tully and I emailed back and forth, but she’s a director now,” he says in the new issue. “I briefly considered a recast, but it just didn’t sit right. And you never know, maybe someone else can woo Sue Tully to come back.”
EastEnders’ executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins and actress-turned-director Susan Tully
Following her decade in the Square, Tully – now 48 – carved out a new career for herself as a director on BBC dramas such as Lark Rise to Candleford, Good Cop, The Musketeers and The A Word.
Michelle Fowler, on the other hand, was last seen on screen in October 1995 when she left Walford for a new life in America, but not before telling her brother Mark that she was pregnant with Grant Mitchell’s baby. And it’s this paternity secret that Treadwell-Collins wanted to explore during his time on the show:
“Michelle carries the one unexploded secret – the child. But there are ways around that! So, yes, it was one of my original ideas – bringing Michelle in and the secrets she brings. I love secrets.”
The executive producer’s words are sure to fuel speculation that Michelle’s son – Mark Jr – will now turn up in Walford once actor Ross Kemp reprises the role of hard man Grant.
Speaking about what incoming boss Sean O’Connor could do with the storyline, Treadwell-Collins adds: “I’ve laid a lot of bombs, but Sean might choose not to explode them or take things in a different direction. But there will be lots of twists and turns to come.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s drama on EastEnders below.
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