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'EastEnders' baby-swap plot was implausible, says Samantha Womack

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Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders

© BBC

Ex-EastEnders star Samantha Womack has admitted that she thought the show's controversial baby-swap plot was "implausible".

The 2011 storyline saw Womack's character Ronnie Mitchell lose her newborn son James to cot death and switch him with Kat Moon's (Jessie Wallace) healthy child Tommy in her grief-stricken state. Womack made her on-screen exit in July when Ronnie was imprisoned for her actions.

Reflecting on the plot, which attracted a record 13,400 complaints from viewers, Womack said that she could understand why producers wanted to create "sensationalism" rather than present Ronnie with realistic adversities.

"I thought it was implausible. Most women who lose a child would not go out and abduct one," she told The Mirror. "But Ronnie is a soap character and she is not necessarily representing real life.

"Soap is based on controversy and sensationalism because bosses are trying to get high ratings and they can't write things like 'Ronnie had a cup of tea'. Otherwise people wouldn't watch it."

Womack added that she has no regrets about leaving EastEnders at the climax of the plot, saying: "It was emotionally and physically exhausting. It was the right time for Ronnie to be put to bed.

"If you want to do good work, you have to take yourself out of your comfort zone. It was very frightening leaving a job that I got on so well in and it did feel like a very big risk."

On a potential return to the show, she added: "Had it served [EastEnders's] purpose to get rid of Ronnie for good, they would have done it. But I don't think they wanted it and I think they thought the audience didn't want it."

The EastEnders baby-swap storyline was cleared by Ofcom last August, following over 1,000 complaints to the regulator.

> Samantha Womack: 'EastEnders baby plot stayed truthful'
> Samantha Womack: 'I cried every day for two years at EastEnders' Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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