EastEnders recasts Branning family character ahead of explosive return11/07/2023
Jacqueline Jossa admits she disliked her name as a child
EastEnders’ Jack Branning (played by Scott Maslan) is about to be reunited with his long-lost daughter Penny – but she will look very different.
The character hasn’t been seen on screen in 15 years and has seemingly been living in France with her mum Selina Branning (Daisy Beaumont).
Now, she is back as part of the storyline that sees the long-awaited return of Jack’s niece Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa).
Rising star Kitty Castledine will be taking over the role from previous actress Mia McKenna-Bruce, who has gone on to appear in the Netflix film Persuasion and the Cannes Film Festival hit How to Have Sex since leaving the soap.
Having recently graduated from LAMDA this is her first role and she is understandably excited at the prospect.
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“I didn’t expect to start my EastEnders journey so soon out of drama school,” she said. “I can’t actually believe it! My whole family are EastEnders fans, and I remember sitting on my Nanny Kay’s lap to tune in, and now they get to watch me in Albert Square.
“The inclusion of disabled talent on screen is so important to me as a wheelchair user, so I’m thrilled to be playing a character as feisty and cool as Penny. She’s thrown into the middle of the drama straight away, and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to.”
Penny was left paralysed from the waist down when one of Jack’s criminal associates ran her down and left her for dead and he still struggles with guilt over it.
This is sure to lead to some fireworks, especially when coupled with the fact that Jack has a new wife in the shape of Denise (Diane Parish) who Penny has never met.
She also hasn’t spent any significant time with her siblings, Jack’s other children Amy (Ellie Dadd) and Ricky (Frankie Day) which will no doubtr make for an intneresting dynamic.
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Her return comes as Jacqueline Jossa makes a permanent return to the Square, after a brief cameo earlier this year as part of the storyline that reintroduced Cindy (Michelle Collins), Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Peter Beale (Thomas Law) to the show.
Jacqueline confirmed that her upcoming return would be a lengthy one in a recent Q&A with fans.
“It’s as permanent as anyone there is permanent. Obviously, you can get written out at any time, but yeah. It’s not a flying visit this time, it’s back back. I think it’s been so good recently. I’m actually worried to come back and ruin it.”
EastEnders is on BBC One Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm.
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