Danniella Westbrook is to return to EastEnders, the BBC announced today, nearly two decades after she first stepped out into Albert Square.
The 35-year-old, who fought a long battle against cocaine addiction, has not appeared on the show since 2000, though her character Sam Mitchell continued until 2005, played by a different actress.
Sam, younger sister to Queen Vic bruisers Grant and Phil, fled to Brazil as she was suspected of Dirty Den’s murder.
Westbrook said: “I’m really happy to be coming back, it feels just like coming home. I’m really looking forward to working with Barbara, Steve, Sid and Patsy.
“I can’t wait to get the scripts to see what Sam Mitchell has been up to since she was last in the Square.”
EastEnders executive producer Diederick Santer thanked Kim Medcalf for her work playing Sam for three years, and said: “With all the turmoil facing the Mitchells this year, it feels like a great time to bring back Sam, the original Mitchell Sister.
“What will Ronnie and Roxy make of her? Will Peggy and Phil be pleased to see her? And will Ricky’s eternal devotion to Bianca be tested by the reappearance of his glamorous ex-wife?”