Is EastEnders actress Lucy Benjamin returning to the soap as Lisa?

EastEnders lisa fowler

… Tamzin Outhwaite who plays her best mate Mel certainly hopes so!

Friends are thin on the ground for Mel Owen in EastEnders.

With all the plotting, scheming and betrayal that is buzzing around in her brain as Mel prepares to for her New Year’s Day wedding – during which she is secretly planning to get revenge on her bigamist fiancé Ray Kelly – she could certainly do with a squad. And there’s one woman who would surely lead the pack…

“Lisa [Fowler] could come back!,” said Mel’s alter ego Tamzin Outhwaite of her character’s lonely predicament.

“Mel doesn’t really have any mates. Her mate was Lisa.”

Mel Owen in EastEnders in her wedding dress

Mel doesn't have many mates in EastEnders

Lisa Fowler, who was played by Lucy Benjamin, is Louise Mitchell’s mum, and was last seen on the soap in 2017 when her daughter was hospitalised after being burned by bullies. Lisa soon left again, with her fragile mental health in decline, after trying to snatch Louise.

“The last time Mel saw Lisa she was going into an institute. It was fraught,” recalled Tamzin. “I’d love to work with Lucy again, we used to have a brilliant time.”

Mel’s deftly plotted revenge will play out at her New Year’s wedding day. Though Mel’s not actually planning on becoming another Mrs Kelly, she’s got the big dress, the church, the guests, the reception in The Vic, the lot. But no bridesmaids.

“There’s a line when Mel is getting ready for the wedding when Ray says: ‘Shouldn’t your maid of honour be doing that?’ And Mel says: ‘Oh yeah, look at the queue of women out there’. Mel has no bridesmaids,” revealed the actress.

“I’d love Mel to have some female friends,” she added. “Maybe Ray’s ex wives could stay on!”

To find out how Mel Owen’s New Year’s Day wedding plays out, watch EastEnders on New Year’s Day on BBC1 from 8pm.

Sarah Waterfall
Soaps Editor at What's On TV

Sarah has been writing about soaps for over 20 years! She’s worked for Hello!, WOMAN, PA News, Closer, TVeasy – and is currently What’s On TV's Soap editor as well as writing for 

She’s interviewed tons of famous people from movie stars to pop stars, TV stars and of course, soap stars. The soaps have always been at the heart of Sarah's work; visiting the sets, getting the goss, and writing about all the soapy shenanigans week in week out, earning her a place on the judging panel for The British Soap Awards in 2017 and 2018 and on the BAFTA TV Awards in 2022 … and the nickname Soapbird!