Linda and Stuart to KISS! Kellie Bright previews EastEnders two-hander episode

"Linda is disgusted with what she's done," reveals the actress as the plan to trap Stuart reaches a climax

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EastEnders will air a special two-hander episode on Thursday 13 December in which Linda Carter goes to desperate lengths to elicit a confession from Stuart Highway that he shot himself and framed her husband Mick Carter, landing him in prison and tearing the family apart.

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Linda seemingly turned her back on her beloved when he was jailed and declared their marriage was over and claimed she believed sly Stu’s side of the story Mick was capable of murder. But the brave landlady is secretly playing a long game to lure the horrid Mr Highway into thinking she’s siding with him in order to get him to admit the truth so she can prove Mick’s innocence.

It’s a risky move and in the coming weeks, L is pushed to breaking point as she cosies up to Stuart to the point where they kiss, leading to the latest in the soap’s famed occasional two-hander instalments in which she makes a final attempt to expose her nemesis. RadioTimes.com caught up with Kellie Bright to discuss the special episode, and what it means for the Carters’ future.

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How would you sum up Linda’s plan to get save Mick by getting close to Stuart?
She knows Stuart manipulated the situation and made Mick look guilty and Linda feels she’s the only one able to find out the truth. But she’s aware of how clever Stuart is so to get one over on him she needs to make everyone believe she’s rejected Mick so has to be be seen to walk away from him completely and turn against her family, which is why she dismissed Ritchie from the case. It’s a slow process and Linda has to make Stuart come to her.

What was the first point she thought she was starting to reel Stuart in?
He turned up at the pub wanting to see the crime scene and let slip the gun was pointed at his face, when Linda knows he was shot in the side – that was the pivotal moment where she thought ‘If he’s let that slip, what else can I get him to say?’ It progressed from there, then they started to get close.

Shirley is in on it, but is Linda worried she’ll blab?
It reaches a point where Mick is refusing to have anyone visit him in prison at all, so Shirley warns her she has to do something now or she’ll pull the plug and do it her way! Leading up to the two-hander it becomes a question of ‘What won’t Linda do?’ if she’s got any hope of getting anything out of him.

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Linda kisses Stuart, does she feel she’s gone too far?
She’s disgusted with herself and tormented, but is also annoyed she can’t just get on with the plan. Having put all this work in, Linda can’t let it go now – she has to see this through. Everything is driven by hoping this will free Mick.

What can you tell us about how the plan unfolds in the two-hander?
Nothing, you’ll have to watch! There is a plan and it doesn’t just involve her hearing Stuart confess. There is more to it than that. All I’ll say is when I got the script I read it like a book and was really excited. It’s very dynamic and has a lot in it, because with two-handers it’s only two people talking for half an hour so you have to make it exciting to watch. And it is!

How did you feel knowing you and Ricky were doing this special episode?
I was really honoured. There’s something special about the two-handers and they don’t come along very often. I also felt daunted because we work so quickly here and you don’t get any extra time so it was a lot of preparation but I loved it. There was mixed emotions as I think I would’ve felt differently had it been with Danny, as I’m not used to working with Ricky as much – but I have to say he is absolutely brilliant and I really enjoyed it.

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Did you feel like you were cheating on Danny in a way?
It was odd but it’s given Linda and Mick some good stuff on the other side of it as well which is nice to play. Some interesting things come out of what happens.

How did it compare to last year’s three-hander with Linda, Mick and Whitney?
It was a bit harder, although I did the three-hander in my first week back after eight months maternity leave! I felt more out of the machine at that point and hadn’t had to learn anything for a really long time which made it daunting. That episode went under the radar a bit but I really loved it, in some ways it was a baptism of fire for me coming back after having a baby but it was a great way in, and great to do with Danny and Shona McGarty who are amazing.

What has been the fans’ reaction to Linda’s plan for Stuart?
To be honest I don’t read a lot of social media, but I think most of them have got it and are on board which I’m secretly glad about because I wanted to play the truth of it. It can be tricky to be truthful but also have ambiguity, especially when the audience hasn’t been let in. Once they are in on it you have more freedom to show them what Linda is thinking. As an actress it’s been great to play a completely different side to the character – suddenly I’ve discovered Linda is a brilliant actress! It has been a really interesting story to play and builds up to a crescendo in this episode.

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