ENTERTAINMENT

Denise Welch Speaks Out On Potential 'EastEnders' Return

She appeared as guest character Alison Slater last year.

18/05/2017 06:00 BST | Updated 18/05/2017 12:08 BST

‘EastEnders’ bosses faced calls to make Denise Welch a full-time cast member after her guest stint last year, but soap fans shouldn’t expect her back in Walford any time soon.

The former ‘Loose Women’ panellist appeared in two episodes of the BBC soap as Alison Slater - the secret wife of Stacey Fowler’s father, and the mother of transgender character Kyle Slater.

And while Denise greatly enjoyed her time on the Square, she told HuffPost UK she is reluctant to take up a full-time role, admitting she enjoys her down time too much.  

BBC
Denise Welch appeared in two episodes of 'EastEnders' last year

“It was really great fun going in and doing those episodes - especially as I had a stomach bug and was vomiting in between scenes! That filled everybody full of confidence,” she joked.  

“It was only ever a one-off and I really loved it. Never say never, but being in a soap is incredibly time consuming and I quite like the time with my husband and going off to see Matthew [Healy, her son and frontman of The 1975], which if I was restricted to those hours, I wouldn’t be able to do.”

Denise, who is a passionate mental health campaigner and has just released her own short film about depression, was also full of praise for the way the soap has tackled serious issues.

Naming Stacey’s battle with postpartum psychosis as a stand-out example, she said: “I thought it was incredible. I know the women who educated Lacey [Turner, who plays Stacey] for that and they said her depiction was phenomenal. That was done very sensitively and very, very well. She’s great, and a fabulous actress.”

BBC Pictures
Denise played Alison Slater, the mother of Kyle and step-mum of Stacey

The star, who previously played Rovers Return landlady Natalie Horrocks in ‘Coronation Street’ in the late ‘90s, has returned to her acting roots since leaving ‘Loose Women’ in 2013, and her latest role will see her tread the boards in a West End production of ‘Wind In The Willows’.

“I’m so excited and so honoured,” she said of her role as Mrs Otter. “I’m in awe of being in it. It’s terrifying the thought of it, but also it’s so exciting - the London Palladium!”

She added: “Because of the media coverage I’ve tended to have garnered, people see more of the light-hearted side of me work-wise, but most of the most dramatic work I’ve done has been done in the theatre.”

‘The Wind In The Willows’ runs from 16 June at the London Palladium. You can get tickets here

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