Jo Joyner is returning to EastEnders for the show’s 30th anniversary.
The actress’s popular character, Tanya Branning, will appear in two episodes of the BBC One soap next month. Tanya is lured back to Walford by her best friend Jane’s (Laurie Brett) plans to remarry Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt).
Tanya’s return will also coincide with the conclusion of the Who Killed Lucy Beale? storyline in which her ex-husband Max (Jake Wood) and daughters Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) and Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald) remain suspects.
“All of Tanya’s family are suspects in Lucy’s murder – so her return is bound to have a major impact.” – An EastEnders source told the Sunday People
After seven turbulent years in Walford, Tanya left the square in June 2013, after realising that her toxic relationship with Max was harming their children. The final straw came when Lauren was diagnosed with acute hepatitis, brought about by sustained heavy alcohol consumption. Tanya was last seen escorting her troubled daughter to an Exeter-based rehab facility and currently resides outside of Walford with son Oscar.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the 30 year celebrations of a show that I am proud to have been a part of. One of the best things about soap is that it’s steeped in history, we all had a generation of characters that we grew up with, mine were ‘Chelle and Sharon and Tiff and Bianca! It’s great that people can pop back in and help create that depth to the show. I’m really looking forward to working with everyone again, no matter how briefly. I hope I didn’t kill Lucy!” – Jo Joyner
Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins adds “Tanya is one of EastEnders’ most beloved characters, played by one of the best actresses the show has been lucky to have. Tanya and Max’s rows were legendary and it’s going to be thrilling to watch Jo Joyner and Jake Wood go head-to-head again – but this time, live”.
EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One