Get ready to met Albert Square’s newest neighbours later this month as EastEnders welcomes the Atkins family led by Chantelle – daughter of Karen Taylor (Lorraine Stanley) and Mitch Baker (Roger Griffiths).
The much talked-about, but hitherto-unseen, eldest offspring of the rowdy Taylor clan will be played by Jessica Plummer and finally makes her screen debut as she moves into her mum and dad’s manor with her family in tow – handsome, successful solicitor husband Gray (Toby-Alexander Smith) , and lively young daughters Mia and Mackenzie.
Bubbly Chantelle makes a big impression on the locals, but beneath a friendly, easygoing exterior she’s definitely her gobby mother’s daughter and has all the tough Taylor traits – including family being the top priority. Mum-of-two Chantelle is devoted to her daughters and fiercely protective of her five siblings, but as she comes back into their lives she’s immediately suspicious absent dad Mitch is back on the scene, leading to immediate tension among the clan.
Charming, confident and clever Gray is a London boy done good, with an impressive job at a city law firm. A family man who’s grateful for the lucky hand life has dealt him, Gray swept Chantelle off her feet and whisked her away from her humble beginnings. As the couple and their kids reconnect with Karen and Mitch, prepare for them to ruffle feathers among the Walford residents…
Senior executive producer Kate Oates teased Chantelle’s arrival a few months back, promising to deliver the missing piece of the Taylor jigsaw nearly two years after the noisy brood first came to the Square. “I’m so excited to welcome Jessica and Toby,” says the show boss. “Chantelle is a Taylor through and through – tough, sharp and streetwise. To the rest of the family she is definitely the one who’s ‘done good’, leaving home early and landing on her feet marrying the handsome and successful Gray. Will Chantelle’s picture-perfect lifestyle put her and Gray into conflict with the rest of the Taylors?”
What have the actors playing Chantelle and Gray been in before?
Jessica Plummer has appeared in BBC children’s fantasy drama Wizards Vs Aliens and the 2017 feature film How to Talk to Girls at Parties alongside Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Ruth Wilson. She was previously a member of UK girl group Neon Jungle, who supported Taylor Swift and Jessie J. Speaking about her new role, she says: “Like the majority of the country, I grew up watching EastEnders. It’s an absolute honour to be joining the cast with all my childhood favourites.”
Toby-Alexander Smith has had roles in daytime soap Doctors, Superman TV prequel Krypton, spy thriller Berlin Station and PR satire Flack, currently airing on W. “I’m delighted to be joining EatsEnders as I’ve always been a fan,” beams the actor. “I’m looking forward to seeing what Albert Square has in store for Gray.”
The new family have already started filming and Chantelle appears first, later in March, with Gray, Mia and Mackenzie following soon after.
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