26 JUNE 2007

What do you get when you cross a feisty EastEnders barmaid and a Neighbours heart-throb? Producers are hoping the combination of two well-loved soap stars will make for unmissable TV, as Martine McCutcheon and Jason Donovan team up for a new drama entitled Echo Beach.

The series, set in a Cornwall surfing village, begins filming next week. An insider revealed: "Viewers will soon find out that it isn't just the surfboards that are making waves. Martine plays a woman with a past, while Jason is the ghost from the past she never thought would return." The show, which is written by the man behind hit series Life On Mars, will run in tandem with Moving Wallpaper - a sitcom about a producer trying to make Echo Beach a success.

Both Martine and Jason have taken to the West End stage since quitting their TV roles, with Martine winning a Laurence Olivier award for My Fair Lady and Jason playing the lead role in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat for three years. However, bosses behind the new series will undoubtedly be hoping to capitalise on the pair's popularity with soap fans, which saw Jason's on-screen romance with Kylie Minogue capture the hearts of a nation, while 22 million viewers tuned in to watch Martine's final scenes as Tiffany Mitchell.

Photo: ©
Martine's three years on EastEnders won her legions of fans, and her supporters will doubtless be delighted she's returning to our screensPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Jason, who won over a whole new generation of fans for his resilience during last year's I'm A Celebrity... reality show, is set to play Martine's former loverPhoto: © Getty Images