Jean Slater is to face medical trauma on EastEnders later this year when she's diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Speaking today about the upcoming drama, actress Gillian Wright said: "It’s an honour and a huge responsibility to be taking on such an enormous issue, affecting so many women and their families.
"I’m aware of the impact such stories can have. It’s important we treat the issue of cancer diagnosis and treatment with huge sensitivity, dignity and respect. I hope the storyline helps awareness of the disease and is supportive to those that are affected."
Kate Oates - EastEnders's senior executive producer - added: "Jean’s diagnosis will impact every aspect of her life, including her family, her friendship groups and her mental health, and I know an actor of Gillian’s calibre will approach the story with great truth and depth.
"The Slaters are an amazing ensemble family, full of complex and well-drawn characters, and this story is a completely fresh subject for them to tackle. I know they’ll do it justice and in turn raise awareness of such an important issue that affects so many people."
EastEnders has already announced that actor Rob Kazinsky - who plays Jean's son Sean - will be returning to Walford for a short stint. And fans can expect to see Jean's new storyline start to play out in the coming weeks.
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The soap is working with Macmillan Cancer Support on the plot, with the charity's treatment and recovery advisor Georgina Wiley commenting this morning:
"Being diagnosed with cancer can turn someone’s whole world upside down and stories like Jean’s can genuinely save and improve lives.
"It’s been a privilege to work with EastEnders to ensure the plot and the language used in the scripts are a true reflection of the impact that cancer can have. We want all the 'real-life Jeans' watching to know that we are here to help."
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