EastEnders star would 'lay down their life' on their character’s relationship going the distance

(Image credit: BBC)

Er, hello, this is Walford!

Soap relationships are usually pretty disastrous, but EastEnders star Tanya Franks reckons her character Rainie Branning and fiance Stuart Highway have what it takes to break the mould and stay together forever.

Speaking ahead of Stuart and Rainie’s wedding day this week, the actress - who has been a fixture in Walford on and off since 2007 - says the pair’s support for one another makes them a perfect match.

Stuart and Rainie kiss

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Says Franks: “Stuart and Rainie are both pariahs. They are both characters that have been alienated and have a lot of their own demons. They can see that in each other, so they can support each other. They support wanting to change each other for the better.

“That’s what their big connecting factor is. That’s what their love is really built on; it’s a huge, supporting change system. Plus, they’re physically mad about each other. They can’t keep their hands off each other!”

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And, asked if the pair can last the distance, the 53 year old adds: “Yes, I do, I’d lay down my life on it. They are two peas in a pod.”

Stuart and Rainie, both recovering drug addicts, began dating in 2019.

Funeral director Stuart initially popped the question in Walford East, back in March, but Rainie turned him down. The following month, he made another attempt - this time declaring his love in a Dracula-inspired proposal in which he emerged from a casket, dressed as a vampire.

A horrified Rainie declined once again, but Stuart eventually convinced her of his love and she agreed to become his wife.

The pair are due to tie the knot in Tuesday’s episode but, in typical soap style, their big day doesn’t go to plan.

Rainie Stuart wedding

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Stuart decides to travel to the venue in a hearse, but chooses the very vehicle that happens to have an electrical fault, leading him to get locked inside, with no way out.

“Rainie is angry at him for doing something really stupid,” says Franks. “Out of all the cars he could have chosen...why choose the one that’s got the electrical problems? That is just so typical that he wouldn’t have thought that through.

“She thinks the wedding is not going to happen. It would just be her luck that the one day she thought would never happen in her life, something technical could absolutely ruin it.

"She can’t believe it. She’s on full throttle to try and sort it out.”

EastEnders continues on BBC1

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.