Jessie Wallace: First day back on EastEnders' set was scary
Jessie Wallace has confessed to feelings of nerves and fear on her return to EastEnders as Kat Slater.
The actress, who is reprising her role in the second of two episodes of the BBC One soap on Thursday, also compared returning to Albert Square with going back to school.
Wallace said: “The first day back on set was quite scary, it was like going back to school and getting my bag prepared with my highlighting pens and my folder and my pencil case.
“I was really nervous, but as soon as I did the first scene, it was just like being home again, on the floor and running.”
Wallace, 46, has played the role of the loudmouth, leopard print-wearing Kat on and off since 2000, and was last seen in EastEnders in January 2016 ahead of appearing in spin-off series Redwater.
She has promised fans that the old Kat would be out in force on her return.
“Kat has gone back to her roots when she first started with the Slaters,” she said.
“It’s that Kat, it’s the foundations of the Slaters.”
She added: “I got straight back into character as soon as I slipped the shoes on … and the lipstick.”
Kat was left fighting for her life in the closing scenes of Redwater last year, after she and husband Alfie (Shane Richie) headed to Ireland to look for her long-lost son.
In her dramatic return to EastEnders, Kat makes a surprise entrance as the residents of Albert Square are making plans for her funeral.
Her relatives Jean and Mo Slater (Gillian Wright and Laila Morse) have already returned to the soap, with Mo claiming that Kat is dead.
The people of Walford rally together and hold a fundraiser for a send-off, unaware that Kat is actually alive and heading for the Queen Vic pub.
Two episodes will air on Thursday, one at 7.30pm and one at 9pm on BBC One.