EastEnders fans look set for a rude awakening this summer when gobby single mum Karen Taylor arrives on the scene with her brood. But what secret is the family bringing with them?
Lorraine Stanley first appeared on EastEnders last year as Linzi Bragg’s mum Thelma, but will be back as new character Karen, who turns up with children Keanu (Danny Walters), Bernadette (Clair Norris) and their younger brothers Riley and Chatham (real-life brothers Tom and Alfie Jacobs). And there will be some family pets too: Bronson the dog and Rooney the bearded dragon.
Sean O’Connor, executive producer at EastEnders, said tonight of his signings: “I’m hugely excited at the arrival of Karen and her family in Albert Square. They’re noisy, brash and not-to-be-messed-with. Karen is a twenty-a-day lioness, bringing up her kids with no support, no money and a very loud mouth.
“But though they may lack cash, the Taylors have love and warmth in spades. This summer is going to be explosive as the Taylors settle in Walford. The Square will never be quite the same again…”
EastEnders has said that Karen is a “fierce woman who won’t hear a bad word said against her children”, with sons Riley and Chatham both described as having learning difficulties.
As for the other children, a spokesperson said: “Keanu sees himself as the man of the family and is protective over his siblings. He is a charming, happy-go-lucky lad whereas Bernadette on the other hand has little interest in anything other than sitting around the house and dreaming of being famous.
“The siblings have an older sister, off-screen character called Chantelle, who lives nearby with her boyfriend and two children.”
Talking about her role, Lorraine Stanley said: “I’m chuffed to be cast in such an iconic show that I’ve grown up watching. Working with my new family is really quite special, and I’m proud to play their mum.”
Actor Danny Walters added: “Having only been filming EastEnders for a few weeks, I feel so privileged to already feel a part of the team. Everyone has been so friendly and kind and gone above and beyond to make us feel welcome and supported.
“There has been a huge buzz surrounding the new family and I am so excited to see what the future holds for the Taylors. Keanu is very grateful to live at Number 23 Albert Square and will try his very best not to disturb the peace in the Square.”
Clair Norris, who plays Bernadette, commented: “I’m so excited to go on a journey with my character Bernadette, and to be a part of the Taylor family. I never in a million years thought my first TV role would be in EastEnders. It’s surreal but I’m ever so grateful to be given the opportunity and I can’t wait to see the audience’s reaction to us.”
Watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.