Lorraine Stanley teases new storyline surprise for Karen in EastEnders: “Viewers will be shocked!”

What's coming up for Walford's mouthy matriarch after Dinah's death?

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EastEnders‘ Karen Taylor (Lorraine Stanley) is at the centre of a heartbreaking plot about the right to die debate which saw Dinah Wilson, mother of Karen’s ex-partner Mitch Baker’s daughter Bailey Baker, end her own life unable to cope with her severe MS symptoms.

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Dinah shared her plan with Karen and even asked for her help, but the lairy laundrette worker refused and encouraged her friend to remain positive for her little girl.

Unfortunately, Dinah went through with it, killing herself on Thursday 16th May, and Karen is now at odds with Mitch after confessing she knew of her Dinah’s intentions on Friday 17th May.

The fallout from Dinah’s death is set to have major repercussions for Karen and the whole Taylor clan in the coming weeks.

Stanley’s gritty, gutsy performance as one of Albert Square’s most effective matriarchs of recent times has turned Karen from pariah to national treasure in the two years since the family were introduced, and her popularity with the public has earned her a place on the Best Actress shortlist in this year’s British Soap Awards.

RadioTimes.com caught up with the star, who revealed that something very unexpected is in the pipeline for her alter ego.

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How did you react to being shortlisted for the British Soap Awards?
I was super-chuffed and proud of the show as a whole, and for Zack Morris who plays my son Keegan getting a nomination too. We’re flying the Taylor flag!

Why is Karen so popular with the public?
Everyone knows a Karen Taylor, there’s one on their road or their estate. She has a heart of gold, can have a laugh but also stand up for herself and her kids. I think she’s the best mum in the world, she hasn’t got a lot but would give you her last fiver. There is a warm quality about her – bra straps aside!

Do you think the Dinah storyline has shown a more emotional side to Karen?
The fact she would even take on Dinah, her ex’s partner, and little Bailey says a lot about Karen herself. She’s a mother of six and a natural carer. It was certainly a shock when Dinah asked her to help end her life, but Karen has got morals and I don’t think she would ever have agreed with it and gone down that route.

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Does Karen feel guilty since admitting to Mitch she knew Dinah’s plan?
She is full of guilt. Mitch is really angry with Karen which you can understand, she explains the situation but he’s not happy, he thinks she was part of it and partly to blame. If she’d told him and not taken it all on herself then perhaps he could’ve done something about it.

Karen feels she should’ve spoken out. It’s a really difficult situation as Dinah confided in her and before she died Karen thought she was being more positive. Mitch is not going to see it like that, but that’s his grief giving him a different perspective.

Karen tells Chantelle she fears could go to prison…
She discovers there is going to be an inquest into the death and panics about her involvement – because she knew Dinah’s plan Karen becomes scared what the fallout would be, if she went to jail and got taken away from her kids that would be her worst nightmare. Even the thought of it leaves her devastated.

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How will Bailey cope without her mum?
Karen and Bailey have got a lovely relationship but obviously this little girl has lost her mum and she’s going to be distraught. There will be ups and downs because Karen is not her real mother at the end of the day. We’ll see a beautiful bond between Bailey and her brother Keegan play out.

We’ve filmed some sad stuff with Bailey’s birthday which Dinah wrote a card for before she died, it was difficult to film and will be upsetting to watch. I dread to think how Bailey will process the fact her mum took her own life.

Keanu and Sharon are back on, how would Karen react if she found out?
She’d be livid! I think she’d want to have a go at Sharon. Karen is quite happy for Keanu to be with Louise, she’s not the girl she would’ve chosen as she’s attached to the Mitchells, but he could do worse. If she knew he’d slept with Sharon again she would not be happy…

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Would she carry out her threat to tell Phil?
Phil would want to kill Keanu if he found out so the mother in Karen would keep quiet to protect her son. I don’t know what’s going to happen, if it were me I wouldn’t tell Phil, I’d be too scared what he’d do to Keanu. Even though it would be lovely to give Phil a little dig! Karen is definitely capable of having a go at Phil Mitchell, she’s hard as nails!

What’s coming up for Karen?
There’s going to be a big surprise soon that the audience will be shocked about, it’s hilarious and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it! It will be lighthearted and dramatic, but in a funny way. You’ll have to wait and see, I can’t give anything away…

Finally, why does EastEnders deserve to win Best Soap at this year’s British Soap Awards?
It deserves to win every year because it is the best! I love it and watched it since day dot. As with anything there are good times and not so good times, but generally EastEnders has always been the best and I think we’re smashing it.

You can vote here for the British Soap Awards 2019 until Friday 24th May.

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