Former Bad Girls and Downton Abbey actress Simone Lahbib is joining the cast of EastEnders, creating a "bit of a Bad Girls reunion" and creating drama for the Carter family.

Lahbib played the HMP Larkhall governor Helen Stewart in the ITV prison drama Bad Girls, which ran for eight series between 1999-2006, alongside current EastEnders stars Linda Henry (Shirley Carter), Kellie Bright (Linda Carter) and Luisa Bradshaw-White (Tina Carter).

According to The Sun, she said: "I’m thrilled to be joining EastEnders. I can’t say too much about who I am playing just yet, but it’s fair to say that she is set to have a lasting impact on the Carters and will test their strength as a family.

"It’s also been lovely to be reunited with Linda, Luisa and Kellie – it’s been a bit of a Bad Girls reunion!"

EastEnders' executive producer Jon Sen said: "We’re delighted to welcome Simone to Walford. Her character’s links to the Carter family will form part of an important new storyline for Mick in particular. It’s a story that we look forward to sharing with the audience – with its impact on the Carters set to be everlasting."

An insider told The Sun: "She's a mystery woman connected to Mick and is going to play havoc with the Carters.

"Bosses are staying tight-lipped on who exactly she is and what she wants but it's set to be explosive.

"She'll be on screen from next month and it will definitely be one to watch."

Lahbib reportedly began filming scenes for EastEnders after the COVID-19 production shutdown lifted on the set of EastEnders in Elstree earlier in the summer.

The Scottish actress has also had a recurring role in ITV's Wire in the Blood as DI Alex Fielding and appeared in the 2012 Downton Abbey Christmas special.

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