EastEnders: Louisa Lytton returns as Ruby Allen as part of “biggest storyline of the year”

What brings Stacey’s old mate back to Albert Square?

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Louisa Lytton is returning to EastEnders as Ruby Allen, 12 years after her last appearance. Ruby was introduced back in 2005 as the teenage daughter of gangster boss Johnny Allen, and became firm friends with a young Stacey Slater.

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Having already lost her mum and sister in a house fire, Ruby then had to cope with the death of her volatile father who died of a heart attack in prison, having been jailed for his part in the murder of Dennis Rickman. Ruby also found herself caught in the middle of a complicated feud between Johnny and the Mitchell brothers.

Falling into the arms of Stacey’s bad boy big brother Sean after Johnny died, Ruby realised he only wanted her for her dad’s inheritance and she fled Walford in 2006, heartbroken and alone after a big bust-up with Stacey.

Now back and all grown up, Ruby will try to reconnect with her old pal later this year, but after leaving on bad terms what will Stacey’s reaction be to this surprise return after all this time?

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Speaking about reprising the role of Ruby, Lytton said: “EastEnders was my first acting job out of drama school and opened so many doors for me. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to come back and explore the character and I’m excited to see what’s in store for Ruby.

“We last saw her 12 years ago as a young girl, now she returns as a woman with scope for major change and challenging storylines.”

John Yorke, the show’s executive consultant, teased: “Viewers will see a much more mature and confident Ruby who is set to be involved in one of our biggest storylines this year. I’m delighted Louisa is returning to EastEnders, she is a fantastic actress.”

Playing Ruby launched Lytton’s career – shortly after leaving EastEnders she was a big hit on Strictly Come Dancing, getting as far as the quarter-finals in the fourth series, paired with professional dancer Vincent Simone. From there she secured a two-year stint in axed ITV cop drama The Bill as PC Beth Green.

In recent years she has notched up a raft of stage and screen credits, and in 2016 took part in Channel 4’s reality endurance competition The Jump.

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