Honey Mitchell has been absent from Albert Square since mid-January, when Emma Barton was temporarily written out of EastEnders to accommodate her Strictly Come Dancing commitments, but we can reveal she's back on set soon.
The actress made it to the Strictly final with partner Anton du Beke, beaten to the glitterball trophy by Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse, and recently finished the tour. Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com at the 2020 Radio Times Covers Party, Barton teased details of her imminent Walford return.
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"I've been off for a bit but I'm back there in a few weeks. Back behind the Minute Mart counter! Honey's gone to visit Auntie Caroline, who was in it a few times played by Una Stubbs. I still love saying Una Stubbs is my auntie!"
Her alter ego had a heartbreaking exit storyline that saw her battle an eating disorder as a reaction to her toxic relationship with lothario Adam Bateman, whose coercive abuse and infidelity sent her mental health spiralling. Eventually, Honey opened up about her bulimia and left to get help for her condition.
"Poor Honey really had a battering at the end of last year," continues Barton. "It was right that she had to go and find herself. It will be interesting to see where they take that storyline when she returns, I haven't seen any scripts or discussed anything as yet but they can't ignore why Honey went away."
With Barton being twirled around the ballroom these last few months it sadly meant she wasn't able to be a part of the special 35th anniversary episodes, with most of the ensemble boarding a Thames river boat cruise that ends in a tragic death. The identity of the deceased remains a closely-guarded secret, even to her!
"I don't know anything about the 35th! So I'll be avidly watching it as a fan again, I can't wait."
With evil Adam gone, fans may be hoping Honey ends up back in the arms of estranged husband Billy, who helped his wife fight her demons and encouraged her to take control. Barton, it seems, couldn't agree more:
"I'm not going to lie, speaking as Emma I do think Honey and Billy belong together," she smiles. "They write so brilliantly and truthfully for them so it's not like they will just simply pick up, there is always a journey with those characters and I love that. Let's see where her and Billy's relationship goes…"
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