Lisa Fowler is back in EastEnders as Lucy Benjamin reprises her iconic role once again meaning more drama for the Mitchell family, particularly daughter Louise Mitchell (Tilly Keeper) and ex-lover Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden).
The last time we saw fragile Lisa on screen was in August 2017 when she was dragged away by paramedics after suffering a mental breakdown, having kidnapped terrified Lou from hospital where she was recovering from serious burns and keeping her captive in a hotel room to get her away from her toxic father.
Phil and wife Sharon Mitchell tracked them down but were shocked as the extent of Lisa’s unstable state became apparent when faced with the former partner she once tried to kill as revenge for his psychological abuse. Having not been seen for seven years prior to this point, it emerged that Lisa had stopped taking the medication key to maintaining her mental health and she was sectioned.
Since then she has been mentioned a few times as still being in recovery, but her exact whereabouts have been kept deliberately vague as her comeback looms.
After her 2017 return, Lisa was hospitalised but eventually released. It was established that Lou was in touch with Lisa and in the loop about her health, but the schoolgirl was shaken by the news in late 2018 that her troubled mum was back in hospital again.
When the teenager became the subject of playground gossip earlier this year after her pregnancy was revealed, Mel Owen supported her absent best mate’s daughter and encouraged her to call Lisa and tell her about the baby.
More recently, Mel was heard on the blower to Lisa herself begging for help as she mounted her desperate campaign to raise money for killer son Hunter’s appeal (before he broke out of prison).
Since Lou went on the run with lover Keanu Taylor, framed for Stacey Fowler’s attack on Phil, remorseful Ben Mitchell has been trying to track Lisa down hoping she will lead him to his sister and his dad will forgive him for driving her away, seeing as he framed Keanu in the first place.
But here’s where it gets weird – Ben has been hounding Mel for the name of the hospital Lisa was in, only to discover when he rang it that she had been released some time ago. Confronting Mel for lying, and possibly harbouring missing Hunter, Ben bullied her into giving him a direct contact number, implying Lisa does not want to be found.
As Lisa returns, it emerges she’s helping Lou and Keanu try to flee the country and she wants Mel’s help, so we can assume the couple have been in hiding with Mrs Fowler all these weeks. But are we going to get definitive answers about her movements in the last few years? And what will happen when Lisa and Phil are face to face again and arguing over the welfare of their offspring? Don’t expect a friendly catch-up over a cuppa…
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers