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Samantha Womack on 'EastEnders' return: "Drama is where my heart lies"

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EastEnders star Samantha Womack has admitted that she always planned to reprise her role as Ronnie Mitchell.

The actress left the BBC One soap in July 2011 following the controversial baby swap storyline, but announced that she will return for a six-month stint last week.

The 2013 Baftas - arrivals: Samantha Womack

© PA Images / Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Samantha Womack



"Deep down, thought-provoking, psychological drama is where my heart lies. EastEnders gives you an opportunity to do all that," Womack told the Sunday Mirror.

"It was only when I came away that I realised, ­actually, you don't really get to do that anywhere else. I'm very, very fond of my character, I love the place and I love the people. I was knackered when I left but I never ruled out going back.

"People would recognise me as Ronnie in the street all the time. When other characters started talking about Ronnie being due for release from prison earlier this year, it intensified.

Jack Branning played by Scott Maslen and Ronnie Branning played by Samantha Womack, EastEnders

© Rex Features / Beretta/Sims/Rex Features



"That's how powerful that ­storyline was - people are still talking about it two years on. It was a brilliant plot-line but it was so intense and emotionally draining, I was exhausted.

"It was the right time to leave. Imagine going to work every day and screaming and crying and going through that whole range of emotions. I was really spoilt with the storyline and I wouldn't change it, but I really lived it.

"I was ready for a break, but I was conscious that the viewers were probably ready for a break from me, too. You can never take fame or popularity for granted." Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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