The TV actress, who famously played Rovers Return landlady Natalie Barnes for three years in ‘Coronation Street’, has bagged the role of Alison Slater, the mother of Albert Square newcomer Kyle Slater.
Speaking about her short stint in ‘EastEnders’, Denise has gushed: “I'm thrilled to be part of such an iconic show. I have friends in the cast and can't wait to start.
"It's a short stint but such a powerful role and I'm thrilled to be taking it on."
Although it’s not yet clear how long Alison will remain in Walford, it has been reported that Denise’s character will be revealed to be struggling to come to terms with the fact that her son is transgender.
A soap insider tells The Mirror: “Denise will star in a few episodes that see a lot of focus on her character… the storyline will follow her meeting Kyle for the first time. It will deal with very sensitive issues.”
Since winning ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ in 2012, Denise has left her recurring spot on the ‘Loose Women’ panel and returned to her first love of acting, appearing in a touring production of ‘Steel Magnolias’ and the new BBC sitcom, ‘Boy Meets Girl’, which was recently picked up for a second series.
Although Kyle - played by Riley Carter Millington, the first ever transgender actor to land a permanent role in a soap - first appeared in ‘EastEnders’ last year, his storyline has only been developed recently.
In Tuesday night’s episode, he was shown revealing his transgender status to his half-sister Stacey Slater, who previously insisted they couldn’t be related because all of her other siblings had been girls.
The scene was praised by viewers, who lauded the soap on Twitter for handling the story sensitively.