EastEnders: Tilly Keeper on Lisa’s return – and Louise’s dramatic future

"It's going to be a rough few weeks," says the Walford star

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Lisa Fowler is back on EastEnders – but what reaction will she get from hospitalised daughter Louise? Having removed herself from Louise’s life in recent years, it’s safe to say that the reception Lisa gets is less than welcoming. But for more on the mother-daughter reunion, who better to ask than Tilly Keeper, the actress who plays Louise? Here’s her take on all the upcoming drama:

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How did you find out about Lisa coming back?
For definite, when I got the script! Well, I got called into a meeting to be told what’s going to happen at prom and what that meant for Louise. I was told she’d have a few surprises in hospital and I kind of twigged what they meant. And when I opened up the script, I saw it for sure.

How did you react?
I was really excited. I’ve always wanted to meet Lucy. The girls who’ve played Louise before me have all got to work with her and it was something I really wanted to do. It was so lovely to meet her. I knew we would get on as soon as we met. Just from what I’d heard from other cast, such as Letitia Dean, I knew she was brilliant. I loved her straight away.

What was it like filming scenes with her?
A bit surreal, actually. It was very different to anything I’ve experienced on EastEnders. She really switched something on in me, without sounding cheesy. I kind of had this “oh, that’s how you do it” moment.

You have different experiences and learn different things when you work with different actors. But I think because this was so new and fresh, and we had to get the relationship right straight away and we were just so comfortable together from the beginning, it just felt special. We wanted to do the storyline justice. It’s Lisa’s return. It’s massive. As soon as I joined people started saying to me “where’s Lisa?”, so it’s lovely that we finally got to do it. I just felt so comfortable working with her.

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Do a lot of people come up to you and ask you about Lisa?
Yes, loads. “Where’s your mother?”, “When is she back?” I’ve asked that question too – she’s gone through a lot and I think she needs her mum there. It’s all explained though.

What was it like seeing these iconic characters – Lisa, Sharon and Phil – back together?
It was so weird! It felt like I’d been in a time machine. I’m in the hospital bed just lying back and just have this perfect view of three EastEnders legends standing before me. And they’re all playing my parents, so it was really weird.

It was a lovely atmosphere. Although everything we were filming was quite intense, the relationships between everyone off camera were so great. People were saying things like, “Oh, it feels like nothing’s changed”.

What’s Lisa and Louise’s relationship like at the minute?
Louise and Lisa had a very fractured relationship when Louise came to live with Phil. Louise said she’d left because her mum had gone off with another man, which was typical Lisa behaviour. They haven’t really spoken at all. So for Louise, I think it’s a moment of relief when Lisa steps through the door – when she wakes up the first thing she says is “where’s my mum?” because she’s so disorientated. I think every girl needs their mum at some point, and Louise is definitely at a crisis point right now.

She just wants something familiar and has lived with Lisa for most her life. She knows Phil isn’t in the country and it’s probably just that instinct of wanting her mum. She has her step mum and friends but it’s not the same. It’s been building up to this for a while. I think there would have been a point where Louise says, “I need my mum”. So there is still love there. I think Louise looked after her mum as much as she looked after Louise.

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What reception will Louise give Lisa?
Well, there’s a lot of bad blood there and also unfinished business. Louise just stormed out so there wasn’t much closure there. There’s a lot they need to settle before they move on.

What’s it like having Sharon there too?
Louise turns to Sharon quite a lot. Especially when Lisa is first brought back into the fold. Louise knows Sharon is probably the most level-headed person around her. She can trust her. I think she realises too that at the moment, Sharon is the only connection she has to Phil.

So I think she hopes Sharon is relaying everything to him so he will come home. She wants her dad there. Although when Lisa shows up she’s probably thinking “’et them away from each other’!. She wants her dad there but doesn’t want any stress.

Can you give us a tease about what’s in store for the coming weeks?
Let’s just say it’s going to be a rough few weeks for Louise. She has a lot to deal with. There’s going to be lots of drama.

You can 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

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