It’s set to be a huge week for the Carter family in EastEnders as Linda finally returns to Walford and soon finds herself fighting to save her marriage.
Even though she’s made a few brief visits over the last few months – while actress Kellie Bright took maternity leave – L will be back behind the Queen Vic bar permanently from tonight, having been begged to come home in an emotional phone call from her harassed husband. And tomorrow, she’ll find out why Mick is such a mess when she discovers her spouse and former daughter-in-law Whitney have been getting a little too cosy in a special three-hander episode.
To mark the day of Linda’s big comeback, and ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly-anticipated installment focusing solely on the Carter love triangle, we spoke to Kellie Bright about how she feels to finally be back where she belongs.
What was it like to step back into Linda’s shoes again?
I did miss her! I was watching EastEnders obsessively, it was like being a voyeur on my other life. I honestly couldn’t miss an episode. And coming back a couple of times during maternity leave really helped in terms of not feeling completely removed when I returned full-time. I tried Linda’s shoes on a couple of times at least – I may not have walked around in them but I’d at least tried them on!
How did you feel about coming back with such a big storyline?
The director had already called me before I got the scripts and told me there was an episode which was basically just me and Danny Dyer! So when the scripts arrived I devoured them as quickly as I could. I was blown away. It made me really excited to get back to work, and I felt that spark again.
What was the three-hander episode like to film?
Intense! We got to do something that we hardly ever get to do on EastEnders – we filmed the scenes it in order over two days, solidly. So we got to shoot it as it would play out which was amazing. What made it different was that we had to find the light and shade across the whole episode because there’s just one story. Our director Lance Kneeshaw was brilliant at thinking how to keep the audience engaged, he had his own ideas but also gave Danny and I as much freedom as we needed. It was a real gift.
What should viewers expect from your first week back?
Linda at her best – and her worst! I would like it to feel like she has never been away and for the audience to immediately be able to get back on board with Linda and Mick and where they’re at. She definitely makes an entrance, put it that way. I hope the viewers have missed Linda as much as I have.
How does Linda find out what happened?
Mick, being the man he is, wants to be completely honest and he tells her. Linda has obviously comes back with her own secret but she never gets the opportunity to voice it as she finds out about Mick and Whitney before she even has the chance.
Do you think Mick is in love with Whitney?
No, and Linda doesn’t think so either, certainly not to begin with. She actually says to Mick: “You don’t know what women are like, you don’t have a clue, you’re infatuated and had a crush and you think it’s love”. But if it’s put out there that your husband has kissed someone else and they say to you they think they are in love with her, you could be the most confident person in the world and you’d still be thrown. You would question everything and become a much more suspicious, insecure person because of it.
So how does Linda react?
Not well! Linda reacts exactly how you think she would react, and how any woman would react: she’s hurt, she’s angry. She doesn’t know what to do or how to move forward and she needs some space. It knocks her, and she is completely blindsided by it. She did not see it coming. I think she knew they had grown apart and things weren’t perfect between them. Linda is not stupid, but I don’t think for one second she knew what he was going to say.
And how does she feel about Whitney?
At first Mick doesn’t reveal who it is he’s had this thing with, and then she finds out it’s Whitney. I think she sort of gets it immediately actually. She feels that Whitney has tried to step into her shoes.
Do you think Mick and Linda can come back from this?
Yes, one hundred per cent. I think it’s interesting giving them something to fracture their relationship to watch the journey back from there. You don’t walk away from someone after 27 years over a kiss – and even if there are feelings involved you still don’t – she would be a fool to do that and she knows it. But it is just how to get past it. Linda doesn’t have a clue how she is going to get back to where Mick and Linda were before any of this happened.
Watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
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