Only Fools and Horses and EastEnders star Sue Holderness reveals she was offered EMMERDALE role

Sue Holderness as Estelle in EastEnders
(Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)

‘I didn’t even consider it’

EastEnders actress Sue Holderness  - better known as Marlene Boyce from Only Fools and Horses and The Green Green Grass - has revealed that she was offered a role on Emmerdale back in the 1980s.

The 71 year old star says she didn’t consider accepting the part, as she had just become a new mum, and didn’t want to uproot her family to Yorkshire from their home in the South of England.

Estelle in EastEnders played by Sue Holderness

Sue Holderness has joined EastEnders as Estelle (Picture: BBC)

She reveals: “They were very interested in having me on Emmerdale in 1985.

"I had just given birth to my daughter Harriet and we’d moved to Windsor, where my husband was running the theatre. 

More: EastEnders confirms shock new baby storyline for Linda Carter next week 

“To uproot and go over to Yorkshire, I didn’t even consider it. 

“I have no idea what role it was for, and didn’t investigate it any further.

"I didn’t want to know what the part was or who was going to play it, because I would like to have done it.” 

Estelle arrives for the date in EastEnders

Estelle is set to land herself a date with Billy Mitchell this week (Picture: BBC)

Making waves in Walford 

Holderness is currently on screen in another soap - EastEnders.

She is guest-starring this week as Estelle Jones, the modelling agent of Billy and Honey Mitchell’s daughter, Janet. 

The TV stalwart says she was a huge fan of the show when it first hit screens in 1985, and hoped that her role in Only Fools and Horses would convince EastEnders bosses to give her a job - which they finally, did, 36 years later. 

“I usually played posh birds - I don’t know why,” she explains. 

Estelle asks is she can date Billy in EastEnders

Sue Holderness would love to return to EastEnders one day (Picture: BBC)

“So I thought, ‘Great, I’ve got Marlene under my belt, maybe they’ll invite me to be on the show’ because I’d shown I can do downmarket as well as posh.”

A future for Estelle and Billy?

Sue adds that she would like to return to EastEnders for another stint in the future.

Estelle quite fancies the look of Billy, and doesn’t hold back in any way. She is a very flirty, good time girl.

“Billy is clearly nervous, but thinks it could be fun. And personally, I think Billy needs to have a bit of fun in his life, because he’s had a horrible time.

“My theory is that the writers should take pity on Billy, and realise that Estelle could give this man a good time. 

“She needs to come back in for a few episodes and show him what fun he could have!”

EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings.

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.