Eagle-eyed soap fans may have spotted a familiar face in Coronation Street as guest character Lucie Fernsby was introduced, played by former EastEnders star Nicola Duffett.
Lucie struck up a conversation with fellow prison inmate Yasmeen Metcalfe (Shelley King), currently on remand for the attempted murder of her abusive husband Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew).
The women found common ground as Lucie opened up about her own toxic relationship on the outside, and her battle to break free of the cycle of abuse. Later in the week, Lucie becomes a support to Yas as Geoff tries to wheedle his way back into her affections by dropping the assault charges and ‘forgiving’ her.
Duffett, playing scary-looking Lucie, is best remembered for as Debbie Bates in EastEnders, sweet-natured wife of lovable loser Nigel Bates who first appeared in 1993 and was tragically killed off in a car accident in 1995.
Debbie was recently on screen again in the repeat of EastEnders’ infamous ‘Sharongate‘ episode from 1994, shown as part of BBC One’s weekly classic instalment from the archives filling the schedule gap while the soap is off air.
Debs left behind daughter Clare (from her first marriage to abusive Liam Tyler) who Nigel adopted, and the pair consoled each other through their grief. They left Walford with Nigel’s new love interest Julie Haye in 1998. Clare briefly returned a decade later, following actress Gemma Bissix’s successful stint in Hollyoaks as villainous namesake Claire Devine.
After EastEnders, Duffett became one the longest-serving cast members on now-defunct Channel 5 soap Family Affairs, joining a year after it began in 1998 as boozy loudmouth Cat Matthews, and remaining until the final episode in 2005 when it was axed by the network.
The actress has already appeared in Corrie, playing the small role of Mrs Bird back in 2015, a council official who clashed with Mary Taylor over the parking of her motor home.
The ever-watchable Duffett has notched up numerous credits in a long and distinguished career on stage and screen, including a role in Oscar-winning period classic Howards End (1992), starring alongside Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins and Helen Bonham Carter, and true-life comedy Made in Dagenham (2010), opposite Sally Hawkins, Jaime Winstone, Bob Hoskins and a pre-EastEnders Lorraine Stanley, who went on to play Karen Taylor.
You may have also seen her crop up in hit TV shows such as Holby City, Endeavour, Waterloo Road, Doctors, New Tricks and Torchwood over the years.
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