ATV Today editor Doug Lambert picks some acting talent who could be easily added to the cast of BBC One’s EastEnders.

With news that Maggie O’Neil, of Shameless fame – who played my favourite character in the series, Shelia Jackson – is set to join EastEnders in the summer we cast our eye over other actresses and actors we’d like to see join the Capital soap.

Jane Asher

Currently enjoying a stint in Holby City which is actually filmed in the same studios as EastEnders. As well as Holby Jane Asher has previous soap experience playing bitchy Angel Samson in the short-lived 2003 version of hotel soap, Crossroads.

We’d love to see Jane Asher pop up in Albert Square as an Angel-esque style character who can’t help but bitch and scheme her way through Walford. She could also work her way through a fare share of the male residents until she found she’d run out of wealthy men to rip-off, or until there was just Ian Beale left and no one really wants to go there, do they?

Stephaine Beacham

Of The Colby’s/Dynasty/Bad Girls fame, another actress famed for playing glamorous and bitchy roles. To be frank we’d like to see her reprise her role of Costa Con Phyl and turn up in Albert Square with Bev (Amanda Barrie) and rip off several of the thicker residents – lets be frank they’d have a field day in Albert Square!

And with Bad Girls axed its the only likely way we’d see them back on our screens as the fab Costa Cons – and Yvonne Atkins is already there pretending to be Shirley Carter!

Update: Since this was published Stephaine had a spell with Coronation Street.

Scott Neal

Played sexy/cute gay copper Luke Aston in The Bill several years ago and hasn’t been seen on our screens since – simply criminally!

Scott could turn up as a new boyfriend for Christian but end up playing away with another male resident too. And its not as if Walford doesn’t have its share of ex Bill cast members – Phil Hunter is parading around the square as a Branning after all!

Update: Since this article originally was published Scott has turned up in a short-term role at Yorkshire TV’s Emmerdale.

Linda Robson

Best known for roles in Shine On Harvey Moon and Birds of a Feather Linda also popped up in Crossroads alongside Jane Asher. EastEnders needs a new rough character, a schemer, a chancer, someone to work with Big Mo on her various dodgy schemes and Linda Robson would make the perfect addition to the cast.

We could just see her drinking in the Vic or giving her all in a slanging match with various residents!

Lesley Joseph

Again best known for Birds of a Feather, alongside Linda Robson, but was a regular character in Night and Day. The defunct ITV soap may have been confined to the archives forever but Lesley Joseph’s character, as Aunt Rachel, was one of the better points of the wacky daytime soap.

She was dam right creepy and utterly bonkers, always scheming and manipulating, and she’d be just perfect for Albert Square. A new resident with a dark secret and connections to the Square’s past.

Bonnie Langford

She proved herself capable of dramatic performance co-starring in the original Doctor Who opposite Colin Baker and later Sylvester McCoy. Some may think novelty these days, especially with all her early work prior to Doctor Who – notably as a child star in shows such as Junior Showtime – but behind the light image there is a serious actress just waiting for a soap opera role.

While television may not take Bonnie too serious when it comes to soap and drama, missing out on a great performer, the West End stage has seen the actress appear in many productions including Peter Pan, Cats, The Pirates of Penzance and Chicago.

Update: Since this article was first published in 2008 Bonnie has since joined the cast of EastEnders.

Who would you like to see arrive in Albert Square? Send us your suggestions!

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