EastEnders returnee Gillian Wright – “I want Jean’s darkness and nastiness to come through”

“I’m very keen to keep the writers in check,” says the actress

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 13/03/2018 - Programme Name: EastEnders -January-April 2018 - TX: 20/03/2018 - Episode: EastEnders - January-April 2018 - 5675 (No. 5675) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS TUESDAY 13th MARCH 2018* 
Jean arrives and drops a bombshell. Mo Harris (LAILA MORSE), Jean Slater (GILLIAN WRIGHT), Stacey Fowler (LACEY TURNER) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes

EastEnders star Gillian Wright is making a return to the BBC1 soap next week, but fans shouldn’t be expecting Jean to be as lovable as she was when we last saw her.

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“I’m very keen to keep the writers in check to ensure that the dark side of Jean is still present and could come through. They’ve assured me it will,” the actress says in the new issue of Radio Times.

On the topic of Jean and Stacey’s fractious mother-daughter relationship, Wright added: “Jean was vicious to Stacey in those early episodes. Nasty.

“Of course, one of the main criticisms of EastEnders is that it’s miserable. And while I don’t want it to be deeply depressing, I do want to join the dots from the early Jean that we saw, so that she remains fully rounded. She’s a character who can turn on a sixpence – you never what to expect from her.”

Wright will be making a comeback as a show regular after Big Mo turns up unexpectedly and announces that Kat has died. But with EastEnders having already announced that Jessie Wallace is reprising the role of Kat, it seems that there is a certain amount of deception on Mo’s part.

EastEnders - Jean Walters

Viewers can then expect the plotline to take a further twist in scenes to be shown on Tuesday 20 March when Jean arrives back in town after a call from Martin and drops some bombshell news of her own.

Speaking about her reunion with her on-screen family, Wright said: “The only way I can describe it is like putting on an old jumper. The banter is still there. And the years that we’ve been apart just disappear when we’re back together.

“One of the things that works about the Slaters is that they rub along. They get on each other’s nerves and say exactly what they think, but it’s never the end of the world. They wind each other up and it’s funny.”

You can read the full interview with the Slater family in the new issue of Radio Times (out today)

Watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s drama on EastEnders below. Beneath that, there’s our Week in Walford review show

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And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.