After it was first reported that she would be joining the soap back in July, Hollyoaks has now revealed our first look at Rita Simons's new character.


Simons, who is most famous for portraying Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders, will play Marie, who is described as "tracksuit clad" and will be seen sneaking into the village after leaving prison.

Her first order of business will be stealing Mercedes's red dress from the McQueen washing line, and it has now been confirmed that she is the mother of Joel Dexter, as played by Rory Douglas-Speed.

Simons said of her character: "Marie’s got a lot of ties here, so I think there’s going to be quite a lot of trouble between quite a few characters, and you will just have to keep watching to see..."

Rita Simons as Roxy Mitchell in Eastenders wearing a black coat standing outside a red building
Rita Simons as Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders. BBC

An after-credit trailer will give fans a first look at Marie in action following Hollyoaks' hour-long special, which is airing on E4 on Tuesday 16th January.

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Joel was first introduced as a character on the soap in 2011, played at the time by Andrew Still. He left in 2013, and when the character returned in 2016 he was subsequently played by Douglas-Speed.

Simons's EastEnders character Roxy was killed off in 2017, when she drowned alongside her sister Ronnie, played by Samantha Womack.

Simons has subsequently made two one-off returns to the soap, with the latest being just last year, when she appeared as a figment of her daughter Amy's imagination.

However, Simons has been more uncertain about whether she would want to return to the soap full-time, saying last year: "I don't know. And do you know what? It's awful, because the fans are like 'Ah!' and I did this for the fans. The fans of this show, they own this show. It's the fans' show and I did it for them."

Hollyoaks is available to stream on All4 and airs every weeknight at 6:30pm on Channel 4 and 7pm on E4. Check out more of our Soaps coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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