Is Sonia set for relationship heartache in the coming weeks? Upcoming episodes of EastEnders will see Sonia turn to ex-husband Martin for support when she makes an appointment with the surgeon to have both a mastectomy and oophorectomy. But how will Sonia’s partner Tina react to the news?
Here, actress Natalie Cassidy tells us more about the drama that lies ahead for her character – and why it’s Sonia’s relationship with daughter Bex that sets her on the painful road ahead…
How has Sonia been feeling since her cancer scare?
I think it was a big shock, as it would be to anyone. It is in the family though, and since she learned she was at risk of cancer, it’s always been in her mind that this might happen. Although that doesn’t make it any easier. I think she’s frightened, like anyone would be when they hear that C word. She’s a good mum and wants to keep it together – she works hard and she throws herself into her work.
She also has a lot of stuff going on with Tina, and I’m starting to feel like they aren’t meant for each other anymore. It’s apparent that they’re the best of friends – they’re so close, but they’re very different people. Sonia said at the beginning she needed something more exciting in her life and Tina was that at first. Tina’s very quirky and I think Sonia wants to be like that, but never will be. It’s not in her.
So she’s got to a point now where Tina’s cheated on her, she has a lot on her plate and I think if it wasn’t for the cancer scare, she probably would have broken up with Tina. I think it’s the same the other way round too – Tina would have left Sonia by now, she even told Mick she was going to. So really, she’s having a bit of a rubbish time!
Can you tell us how Bex spurs on Sonia to go to the hospital?
Bex tells her she’d be lost without her, which makes Sonia realise she has a responsibility for her daughter. It’s then that she makes the call to go. Martin goes with her and doesn’t really know what’s going on. I think he’s very shocked. But Sonia is absolutely certain about this.
We’ve seen that Sonia thinks it’s unfair, and it’s very hard for her, but I do think after taking time to think about it. She thinks that whatever might make her ill in the future needs to go. She’s so sure. If it’s going to make her survive and be there for her family, that’s what she’s going to do.
How does she feel about having Martin there and not Tina?
It’s really good, actually. It’s been a real circle with them. They can’t be together, that didn’t work out. Sonia really gets on with Stacey and is so pleased for her and Martin. I think Martin, even though he found it strange at first, now really genuinely likes Tina and Sonia. He supports Sonia and it’s nice that they have that friendship and get on for the sake of their daughter. They probably wouldn’t get on so well if they didn’t have a daughter.
Out of anyone on the Square, they will turn to each other because they know each other best. They’ve known each other for such a long time, more than half their lives, and they’ve had such a huge connection. I hope they’ll always share each other others secrets and problems and carry on to help each other.
Maybe they will fight at times but they have that link and that’s what EastEnders is so good at. Because of the longevity of the show, you can make those relationships. They don’t just happen. You can’t make it happen. It’s genuine. The audience has grown up with you and they know the characters. It’s very special. It’s the same as with Sharon and Phil.
What’s Sonia’s relationship like with Bex at the minute?
It’s perfectly written as a mother and daughter relationship. You argue, you make up, you share experiences, it’s a turbulent relationship. It’s very difficult for Sonia to sit in a room and talk to Bex about relationships when Sonia had her so young. Like we all do, I think Sonia sometimes forgets the mistakes she’s made, but I think on the whole, Bex is very supportive of her mum. Bex has had to go through a lot over the years.
What’s Sonia’s stand on Bex and Shakil?
I think she likes him! She’s quite laid-back about it. She’s very happy with it, as far as being boyfriend and girlfriend anyway. It will be interesting to see how it develops.
Do you think Tina and Sonia can survive in the long run?
I actually think Sonia might need some time on her own. I know it sounds boring but it would be nice to see her at home with her daughter and giving herself a break.
What’s it like to have Luisa Bradshaw-White as your telly wife?
She’s lovely! She’s brilliant and good fun. At one point I genuinely thought Tina and Sonia would get married. But I think it’s taken a different turn now.
Do you think Sonia misses her mum?
Yes I do. I think she misses having her around and I think she misses her sisters and brothers too. She misses Robbie, Bianca… she also doesn’t have Billie anymore.
Can you describe Sonia’s journey with this story in three words?
Painful, scary and strong-willed.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
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