Gillian Wright is to return to EastEnders as Jean Slater for a short stint. The reappearance of Wright – whose character is the mother of Stacey Slater – is set to tie in with Lacey Turner’s permanent return to the BBC1 soap later this year.
Speaking today about Jean’s comeback, Wright said: “I feel very honoured to be asked to reprise my role as Jean Slater, for a short while.The storyline promises to be challenging and exciting! I look forward to playing again with old friends and new and to pick up the special relationship between Stacey and Jean.”
Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins added: “We are so pleased to have Gillian back with us to reprise her role as Jean Slater, albeit briefly. Stacey and Jean have such a rich, loving but difficult history. There is still so much to plumb between them as we delve deeper into what it means to have bi-polar disorder as a mother but also as a daughter. There are some truly heartbreaking scenes ahead for our audience”.
Jean was last seen in Albert Square in September 2013 when she left Walford to start a new life with her boyfriend Ollie. However, Jean and Stacey have not been seen on screen together since Christmas Day 2010.
Wright’s portrayal of Jean’s struggle with bi-polar disorder was widely acclaimed, with the storyline winning a Mental Health Media Award in 2006.
Although the character hasn’t featured on EastEnders since last year, Jean was referenced recently as being the current carer of Stacey’s daughter Lily while her mum serves time in prison after confessing to killing Archie Mitchell.