Tamzin Outhwaite is back on EastEnders, after more than 15 years of the program.
She is back in Albert Square, in its role as Melanie Owen, having made his first appearance in 1998.
An EastEnders spokesperson has confirmed that she was returning to the soap as a regular character.
Outhwaite, seen most recently in New Tricks, said: “EastEnders is in my DNA and I have always known deep down that one day I’d like to see Mel.”
Her first scenes will be broadcast in the new year.
EastEnders creative director of John Yorke has promised an “incredible story” that will “awaken a lot of old ghosts, a few good memories, and a whole new series of adventures too”.
He added: “We are very pleased and flattered to have Tamzin back and we can’t wait to reveal just where it was, and that Melanie Owen is now.”
Outhwaite said that it was an “honour” to be asked by Yorke, saying that he has “created Mel’s most memorable scenarios”.
She added that her character is “a strong and independent woman, with a lot more stories to tell.
“Enter new in Mel shoes nearly twenty years after I first started this just feels perfect.”
Viewers last saw Mel in April 2002, when she left Walford following the death of her husband, Steve Owen played by Martin Kemp. She faces a prison sentence, but fled the country after Phil Mitchell has put up Â£30,000 in bail money.
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