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Loads more from 'EastEnders' Tracey The Barmaid

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EastEnders fans will recognise Jane Slaughter as Queen Vic barmaid Tracey. With no surname, she's more commonly known on the streets of Walford as The Silent Assassin - a woman of very few words, who only speaks when spoken to.

Despite Wikipedia's claim, Jane's been with EastEnders since the very first episode (she was the woman on the flower stall) and has been in a crazy number of instalments since - so many that she's actually lost count.

Last week, I was given the opportunity to catch up with Jane to chat about her 25 years on the show. And unlike Tracey, Jane could give Jean Slater a run for her money.

Click here to read the main part of the interview, or read on for more bonus cuttings!

Do you know how many episodes you've been in up to the anniversary?
"I'd love to know. Apart from when I had time off to have my children, apart from a holiday, pretty much every week I've been on one or two or three or four - I don't know how many. I have two sons and I had them after the programme [started] - it's really strange that EastEnders existed before they did! They're 21 and 17 now!"

What do they think of their mum's role?
"I think proud, it would be fair to say. My son was telling me the other day there's a [Facebook group] that says 'Let Tracey Speak' with 47,000 members. It just blows my head. I said, 'Oh, Ollie - I think you mean 4,700' and he went, 'No mum, forty seven thousand!' It makes me go a bit 'Woah!'"

What's been your favourite moment as a viewer?
"Very early on I was so surprised that it was so gritty - that's what sticks in my mind of the early years, not particular scenes. I'd worked on period dramas and I'd actually worked with Julia Smith as a child in all those Sunday afternoon series. Suddenly to be with working with her on something EastEnders was like nothing else on earth I'd ever worked on or been near. It was amazingly real and - that's what struck me. I'd never seen anything like it."

You're one of the people who've probably seen the most key scenes out of the entire cast...
"Yes, because she's always there whereas other cast members such as Adam [Woodyatt] - who's been there as long as I have - wouldn't necessarily have a storyline that puts him in The Vic at all."

What do we know about Tracey at the moment then?
"We know she's married - that came out when Phil was absolutely vile to her and said 'What are you going to do? Get your old man on me?' Even when I read it I though 'Ooh, hello!' I knew there was one husband years ago - that was mentioned by Sharon - but since, there's been little red herrings along the way. She apparently slept with Dennis Rickman and you think, hang on a minute - what's she been up to?!"

She's got this family hidden away - do you think we'll ever meet anybody else?
"Good lord - you know I don't know. I would never say never because anything's possible there. They seem to be able to weave all sorts of things in. Whether there would be a demand for it or enough interest I don't know."

Apparently you've never had a character biog?
"No - that's what's so lovely and so clever. She's this loyal but strong, opinionated woman. They've done that and they've suggested that she's married and they just do enough to keep people interested and wanting to know a bit more. Whether they will ever develop her character [I don't know] - equally, I think it would be wrong to suddenly make her into this talkative, all-singing, all-dancing person with a fully-fledged family and surname - it wouldn't make sense. That's why it's been done so well."

Maybe that's something Bryan Kirkwood will do when he takes over?
"I would just be happy if he knows the character and likes the character and thinks he could use her. I think there is potential to use her but like I said, not in a ridiculously nonsensical way, but I think it's also down to the public. It sounds like I'm deferring my opinion but I'm not, I think the public actually would like to know. "

What storyline could you see her involved in - maybe being told a secret?
"Yes - and is witness to things and the viewers knowing the she knows. I think an intrigue would be very plausible for her."

How do you feel when you look through a script and you find a line?
"I get very excited! It's always interesting as well. Even when it's just 'Oh, out the back', or 'I don't know'. I still get an incredible buzz."

Do you bribe Christopher Reason for lines?
"[Laughs] No - I've never met him! I always imagine that, like me, he walks about in life and hears people talking about EastEnders - and that's great, that's how it should be. If people are watching and they think 'Oh, it'd be nice to see her' I think that's such a good way to do it. Maybe sometimes he's sat there and thought, 'You know what? I'd like to know a bit more about her!'"

Do you watch EastEnders?
"Yes - life interferes obviously. Travelling back from work is normally the main reason so I try and catch up at the ten o'clock. I love watching the stunts. I will always watch those because when you're filming those table-turning, glass-smashing scenes you don't really see how the end product is going to be."

Has Tracey ever had a 'duff duff'?
"No. Would that be a little far fetched? I don't know. I think at the moment it might be a bit lame!"

Which characters would you like to see come back?
"That's a difficult one. There's so many that I would really like to see. [I'd have to say] Ange. I loved that character. I think that character was incredible. I'd just love to step back in time for a little while! If I could revisit those first few years with Wendy and Bill Treacher just to remind myself of those. So many characters have gone - Alan Wickes, Lofty!"

Additional reporting by Philippa Warr Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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