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Exclusive: Summer Preview: EastEnders

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Summer Preview: EastEnders
I've been getting a lot of the same questions from my readers about certain characters in EastEnders – whether they're leaving, whether they're going and whether characters are coming back or not. So without further ado, here goes…

First up, Shirley's friend Heather (played by Cheryl Fergison). I'm told that she'll be around for a while yet and is now a semi-regular in the cast. The first time I saw her I wondered whether she'd work or not but I absolutely love her now. We'll see her cropping up every now and then on the Square and with Shirley. However, her next 'major' appearance will be during the Brighton episodes next month.

Next, Fin the Vet. I last mentioned him at the beginning of last month when it leaked onto the internet that Danny Alder would be the man portraying him. Well, he'll be on screen next week when Abi and Ben take 'Marge' and 'Marge Two' for their MOTs. It turns out that 'Marge Two' is, in fact, a boy who's impregnanted Marge. I blame Bradley (Charlie Clements).

Mitchell favourite Aunt Sal (Anna Karen) returns for wedding week – which, by the way, is UNMISSABLE – as her usual witty self. All I'm going to say is "Watch me Daddy…" Check back later in the week for an exclusive online interview with Sophie Thompson.

During the same week, Nina Wadia makes her first appearance as Post Office owner Zainab Masood. And it's not long before her daughter, Shabnam (Zahra Ahmadi), turns up to help her mother at work. Denise (Diane Parish), however, is completely unaware that Zainab is lining Shabnam up for the branch manager role…

Also during wedding week, Jay's (Jamie Borthwick) father, Jase (Stephen Lord), turns up out of the blue. We don't know much about him to start with but he's definitely one to keep an eye on. And for the thirty-somethings among you, he's naked on the Square in a couple of weeks. But which woman will he have is eye on first? Jane (Laurie Brett)? Honey (Emma Barton)? My money's on Pat (Pam St Clement).

Oh, and Jamie Borthwick is now being classed as a "regular" to the soap. From what I've read, that's good news for some.

Meanwhile, former Bad Girl Kika Mirylees returns to our screens next month as Garry Hobbs' (Ricky Groves) mum, Hazel. Again, she'll be there with Pat (Pam St Clement), newcomer Len Harker (Christopher Ellison), Garry, Minty (Cliff Parisi), Shirley (Linda Henry), Heather and Dawn (Kara Tointon) for the Brighton episodes.

And then onto the lovely Samantha Janus and Rita Simons, who joined recently as the Mitchell sister, Ronnie and Roxy. I can't wait for the pair (or should I say two pairs) to appear on screen. And within the first few days, they're already behind the bar at The Vic. I met them both last night, so check back next week for an exclusive interview.

Jean Slater (Gillian Wright) will also be popping back and forth onto the Square in the run up to daughter Stacey's (Lacey Turner) wedding to Bradley. And let's not forget Tanya Franks who plays Tanya Branning's heroin addict sister Rainie as well as Rory Jennings who plays tearaway teen, Craig Dixon.

Rainie definitely drags up a past which Tanya would rather forget, while Craig proves to be more that a chippy worker to the Beales when Lucy (Melissa Suffield) goes off the rails and falls for him.

And a roundup of those leaving: Bert Atkinson (Dave Hill) walks out of Walford on Tuesday, July 24 when he realises he’s not needed any more; and Li Chong (Elaine Tan) who has already gone. The door is, however, being left open for possible returns.

At the beginning of August, one of Walford’s favourite characters gets whacked over the head with a monkey wrench, resulting in a search for his attacker.

One source told me last night: “It’s a fantastic plot line and viewers will be left guessing as to who actually cracked him over the head. The fallout is great and it allows someone else to wreak their own revenge at the same time.”

Finally, following today's announcement that The Bill's Scott Maslen has jumped ship, I’ve also heard (on good authority) that there’s going to be another addition to the cast within the next few days… Watch this space.

I think it’s safe to say EastEnders has finally turned the corner. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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