airs big episodes for Babe Smith next week as she is left panicking when her drugs secret comes under threat.
Babe's dodgy dealings with her niece Tina (Luisa Bradshaw-White) are exposed to the rest of the Carters after some of her hash cakes accidentally end up in the hands of Bianca's children
Annette Badland as Aunt Babe
Needing a plan B once the police get involved, Babe teams up with Dean Wicks to hide her stash of cannabis for the time being. However, when Dean's mum Shirley interferes, Babe turns ruthless by threatening to reveal her biggest secret as revenge…
Here, Annette Badland - who plays Babe - reveals more details of the drama to come and her time with EastEnders
so far.How does Aunt Babe react when she realises that the Carters know what she and Tina have been up to?
"I think she would want to protect her family from what she's doing privately. She's quite a private person, so she wouldn't like the exposure. She would also be very embarrassed because she loves her family and she's very proud to now have contact with them again, so she wouldn't want to lose them. She would want to hold onto them very much."What do Aunt Babe's family make of it? A while ago, she did approach them with the idea of selling weed to make money.
"She offered them an idea that they might do it and said that she has dealt in weed, but they wouldn't know the scale of it and they've also said no. She involved Tina for good reasons, as Tina wants to have a baby and it's helping her with the money for that - but even so, she shouldn't have involved the rest of the family and I think she probably regrets that she involved Tina."Did Aunt Babe ever see the business with Tina as a long-term prospect?
"I think she's got a huge soft spot for Tina and will try and help her in any way she can, as Tina desperately wants that baby. Aunt Babe isn't sure of Tosh or their relationship, but she's got a big soft spot for Tina and so tries to help her. She does try and contain it and says, 'Maybe we should just stop for a bit and cool it'."
Is Aunt Babe upset that Tina is in trouble after what happened?
Babe recently teamed up with Tina
"Yes. She's also annoyed at Tina when it happens because she has warned her, but it's not Tina's fault either and she didn't do it deliberately - the hash cakes were taken from her. But Aunt Babe doesn't want to be found out, and if it gets traced back to her, she's in terrible trouble."Aunt Babe lies to her family and says she is getting rid of the drugs, but then she teams up with Dean to stash them at the salon! Why?
"Babe sees it as an awful lot of money to lose! It's her livelihood. I think possibly her root into growing the weed wasn't straightforward. I think she is caught in something that she can't afford to let go. That is the crux for her - it's a lot of money and it's her livelihood.
"She will try and hold on to it, because she doesn't really trust Dean either. He's a slippery fish for her, he's not entirely real, he's hot headed and young and that's not really what she needs, but she can't manage alone."
Dean and Aunt Babe are keeping the cannabis
Shirley finds the stash and then it goes missing! How does Aunt Babe feel when she realises that Shirley is involved in that?
Dean and Aunt Babe tell Shirley they are partners
"That's enormous for her. She likes to keep control in a social way. She has the front of being jolly, as she does have a sense of humour and she's bouncy and bubbly - but here I tried to be very angry, just one line of real anger because she'd lost control.
"Babe can't let that out, she has to rein that anger in and use it in some other way. She won't expose herself by being furious, so she suppresses it and torments Shirley with what she may do next.
"It's terribly complex because she does of course love Shirley. She really does love those three children and brought them up and she isn't a mother, but it's the closest thing she's ever had. Loving those three children and wanting to protect them and help bring them up, she's thrilled to be back there. But, you know, like every human being, there's a whole complex scenario going on there."Babe threatens Shirley by threatening to expose her big secret at a family dinner. Does she really have it in her?
"Sadly yes, I think she is that ruthless. She loves Shirley, but she also needs to protect herself…"
Aunt Babe tells Shirley she has an announcement
How do you feel about all of these different dimensions to Babe?
Will Aunt Babe reveal Shirley's secret?
"I must say as an actor I found it quite shocking. If you read my character breakdown, she's the aunt you'd want and she's jokey and all - and then all that came out and she's clearly a liar and defensive. She's protective of her family but protective of herself and you don't really know if there'll be other things about her.
"Everyone has a dark side somewhere and there are still things that you don't know about her."Is there anything you can tease?
"Wait for Christmas!" How did the role on EastEnders come about?
"I'd worked with [executive producer] Dominic [Treadwell-Collins] on an independent film and he knew my work, so I was asked to come in for a chat and they gave me some scenes to read. It was all go from there. I was terrified initially and am still terrified!" How does this compare to your previous acting work?
"The speed of it is different. It's a very fast-moving machine and you have to just jump on, not let anyone down and be up to speed with everyone. My analogy is that I took a dive into a swimming pool and my head's come up in a shipping lane of the English Channel and there's a tanker coming and a ferry, and if I doggie-paddle long enough, I might not drown!"
Have you bonded well with the Carter family?
Aunt Babe with the Carters
"Oh yes, everyone! Luisa and I dance together! Everyone in the family is generous and kind and fun and I feel they have just been tremendously generous to me.
"In the show the Carters love their Aunt. Even Shirley, we're almost like sisters. I've got a niece who is five years younger than me, and so I understand that dynamic."Have you had more people coming up to you since you've been on the show?
"Very much so. I'm surprised because at this point, I've only been in for about six episodes. I go to Belfast and the ladies in the hotel say 'Ooh it's Aunt Babe, we'll get you a nice wee room'. Lots of people say 'I know you!' People like the character so far, but they might not after this week. They might not be so keen to come up to me in the street!"Read more EastEnders spoilers and newsEastEnders airs Babe's threats towards Shirley on Thursday, July 31 at 7.30pm on BBC Two.