Jessie Wallace on Kat's big EastEnders return: ‘She turns up at her own wake!’
Actress Jessie Wallace explains all about Kat Moon’s return from the dead, Alfie’s mysterious absence and why Kat’s back in the lippy and leopard print.
It’s been a long time coming, but Kat Moon is back to reclaim her rightful place as queen of Albert Square and actress Jessie Wallace has shared the juicy details with Soaplife.
What’s the story?
We’ve been waiting for Kat Moon and the rest of the Slater clan to make a comeback ever since producer John Yorke announced it last Christmas. But no one saw it coming when Big Mo Harris turns up first and reveals Kat is dead!
Kat may be without hubby Alfie Moon, and it seems Kat’s got a few things to sort out with Big Mo but Jessie’s says they’re loving getting the family back together.
“It’s great coming back in EastEnders,” Jessie told Soaplife. "There’s the hustle and bustle of the Slaters supporting each other, arguing with each other, laughing… It’s great fun.”
What’s happening in EastEnders? See the latest soap storylines
Jessie Wallace’s interview with Soaplife about the shock return of Kat Moon
Soaplife: What you can tell us about Kat’s return?
Jessie Wallace: “She turns up at her own wake and she’s got all the debris to clear up, all the damage a certain person has caused by saying Kat’s dead.”
S: Is it Kat’s first scene when we see her walking into The Vic?
JW: “No. She just sees what’s going on, then she goes to deal with it.”
S: Does Kat know she’s ‘dead’?
JW: “Yes. She turns up in a cab and she sees a leaflet on the floor saying ‘RIP Kat Slater’ and there’s this picture on it that made me laugh. I’ve never looked so orange. I never realised I was so orange!”
S: What’s going on? Her life was in danger in Redwater the last time we saw her…
JW: “That’s mentioned a few times. I was worried because the way Kat was in Redwater felt a million miles away from Kat in the Square, the whole costume and everything. Then when I knew Redwater wasn’t going to a second series, I thought where do I go from here?”
S: Did you think that was it for Kat?
JW: “It could have been. But, luckily, John brought me back. He said, ‘Kat belongs in the Square.’ I said, ‘Yeah, she does.’ It does feel like coming home. I also asked him, ‘Please let her be full whack Kat!’ And I am. I’m so pleased. I’ve got the cleavage out, the red lips, the red nail varnish, the leopard print… I just love it!”
S: Has it been strange coming back without Shane?
JW: “Yes. It’s always been Kat and Alfie. We’ve worked together over the years and we’ve got a strong bond. He’s like my best friend and my brother and we bounce off each other really well, so I do miss him, yeah.”
S: Is the Alfie absence going to be explained?
JW: “I don’t know. That’s up to the writers and up to John. I’m just doing what they’re giving me and working with it.”
S: Would you like to see other Slater women return, such as Little Mo or Kat’s daughter, Zoe?
JW: “I’d love Michelle Ryan, who played Zoe, to come back. I’d love Kacey Ainsworth, who played Little Mo, and Elaine Lordan, who played Lynne, to come back, too. It would be great, but I’m sure they’re busy doing other stuff.”
S: Does Kat run into Hayley Slater?
JW: “Yes, and Katy Jarvis - who plays her - is a fantastic actress. She was in the film, Fish Tank, with Kierston Wareing. She’s got a real rawness about her. We’ve done a few scenes together and she’s a perfect Slater. She’s loving it here as well. She’s a big fan of the show.”
S: Is there anyone from the new characters you’d like Kat to have some scenes with?
JW: “Karen Taylor, definitely. I could tell you so much, but I can’t. It’s really exciting. I was screaming with laughter when I got the scripts.”
S: Were you nervous to be back?
JW: “I was so nervous I was shaking! Luckily, I was with Laila Morse and Gillian Wright, who play Big Mo and Jean Walters. We sort of came in together, so that softened the blow. I was really nervous before I did my first scene. But as soon as I did that, I was on the floor and running. It was just like being home and I haven't stopped smiling since I came back.”
EastEnders continues on BBC1.
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Rachel is a soaps and TV writer for WhatToWatch.com, soaps podcaster and resident soap expert for UK TV listings magazines What's On TV and TV Times. After graduating with an art and design degree from Birmingham City University, she found her true calling in all things soap and has been writing about them for magazines and websites for over 20 years. A self-confessed soap addict, she's always had a great love of all the UK and Aussie soaps and owns everything from a Neighbours 1990 Annual to a DVD box set of classic Corrie episodes to prove it.