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'Shameless' actress joins 'EastEnders'

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'Shameless' actress joins 'EastEnders'

ITV/Rex Features

Maggie O'Neill has joined the cast of EastEnders as another member of the ever-growing Branning clan.

O'Neill, known for her role as Sheila Jackson in Channel 4's Shameless, will play Suzy Branning, the fourth oldest of the six Branning children - Jack (Scott Maslen), Max (Jake Wood) Carol, Derek and April being her siblings.

No-nonsense Suzy will reportedly become Phil Mitchell's (Steve McFadden) new love interest when he helps her out of a tricky situation with an ex. Suzy is Phil's type but has no idea what to make of her, while Shirley immediately forms an impression.

Speaking of her new role, O'Neill said: "The Brannings are a great family and I am really excited to become one of them. Suzy is a woman to be reckoned with and I'm looking forward to playing her."

Executive producer Diederick Santer added: "I've long-admired Maggie's work from her outstanding performance in Take Me Home to her hilarious and moving Sheila in Shameless. She's yet another top drawer addition to our wonderful cast."

O'Neill has also appeared in Midsomer Murders, Peak Practice, Mansfield Park and the Oscar-nominated film Gorillas in the Mist.

She will begin filming with the soap next month and first appear on screen in early to mid summer. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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