EastEnders pulled off one of its biggest surprises of recent times last night (January 6) as Jane Beale paid an unexpected visit to her ex-husband Ian.
As fans await tonight's episode and the fallout from Jane's return, Laurie Brett - who plays the character - has been speaking further about the shock twist and how she juggled EastEnders with her Waterloo Road role as Christine Mulgrew.
How tough was it to keep your return under wraps after having to keep it secret?
"It wasn't too difficult for me. The Waterloo Road team were kind enough to schedule for me to do a few episodes and my family knew because of child care. It did become difficult because I wanted to say I was going back to EastEnders, but it was probably harder for the press office at EastEnders and [executive producer] Dominic [Treadwell-Collins]. It was a harder secret operation for them, everyone there did a sterling job."
Were you pleased it was such a surprise for viewers?
"I was really pleased because I was thinking, 'Is this going to have the impact of what people were expecting or hoping for?' Jane is a nice character and a lot of people identify with her, but I didn't ever really think she was as popular as last night proved. So I was absolutely thrilled with last night."
What has the reaction been?
"My phone went into meltdown, with text, phone calls, Twitter and I received calls from friends saying, 'I think you have broken Twitter!' It was phenomenal and just shows what a surprise the simple stuff without spoilers makes, and I think we need more of that."
What did it feel like to return to the set?
"It was a really strange time to come back to EastEnders because I was in the middle of filming some intense Waterloo Road stuff, so I was being Christine in a dark place mentally and then coming onto the jolly Jane role, so that was a little all over the place with two different characters. However it was brilliant because I spent a lot of time at EastEnders and on the Square. It was really nostalgic and a constant déjà vu situation, but it was lovely."
What was it like to work with Adam Woodyatt (Ian) again?
"Like putting on a pair of old slippers! When you work with someone for eight years, the minute we were on set and started to do the lines it was just easy."
Did you find it hard to slip back into Jane's shoes?
"With the speed of filming at EastEnders you really have to hit the ground running, and once I got back in the swing of it, it was fantastic."
How has it been filming two big dramas with different accents?
"I kind of speak in two accents all the time. I have lived in London for over 25 years and it's my adopted accent. As an actress I don't think it's that difficult to work out, but at one point filming with Adam in the Beales' house, we were doing a take and he whispered in my ear that I did a line that sounded very Scottish! But apart from a few blips it was fine!"
Read more EastEnders spoilers and news
EastEnders continues tonight (January 7) at 7.30pm on BBC One. Waterloo Road returns with a new block of episodes tomorrow (January 8) at 8.30pm on BBC One.
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