EastEnders director Kate Saxon has denied claims that the BBC soap secretly replaced Sharon Mitchell during Tuesday night's episode. Sharon – played by actress Letizia Dean – is currently enjoying an extended holiday with her husband Phil Mitchell. But she still managed an off-screen role this week when she was heard speaking to best friend Michelle Fowler on the phone. Fans were not convinced that the voice on the other end of the line was really Sharon, however, and took to Twitter to speculate that the BBC had used a different actress.
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EastEnders director Kate Saxon has confirmed it was Letizia Dean - Sharon Mitchell - on the phone
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"That was obviously not Sharon on the phone #eastenders," one viewer wrote, while another added: "Why let us hear the voice on the phone when it blatantly isn't Sharon?" A third added: "That voice speaking to Michelle down the phone didn't even sound like Sharon #EastEnders." Now director Kate has taken to Twitter to clear up the rumours. "It is Sharon Mitchell / Letizia Dean on the phone. I directed the episode – including the recording," she confirmed.
Asked by a fan why she had decided to let viewers hear both sides of the conversation, she added: "I prefer doing so, as when I'm in a room with someone else on their mobile, I can generally hear the other end of the call." Letizia was included in the episode's credits, as was Kellie Bright (Linda Carter), who was also heard on a phone call but not seen.
She took to Twitter to clear up the rumours
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It comes just days after EastEnders star June Brown – Dot Cotton – received the TRIC special award for her role on the soap. The 90-year-old TV icon was flanked at the ceremony by a number of her co-stars, including John Altman, who played her on-screen son 'Nasty' Nick Cotton. "She's a dear, dear friend and we did a bit of celebrating the past few weeks," he said. "It's been an absolute treat. Sixty eight years she's been working in the business. She's a legend, she's incredible."
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June has played Dot since EastEnders first started in 1985 – and now her fellow soap stars are also calling for her to be recognised with a BAFTA. While attending Monday's TRIC Awards, castmates Perry Fenwick (Billy Mitchell), Emma Barton (Honey Mitchell), Harry Reid (Ben Mitchell) and Jamie Borthwick (Jay Brown) all joked they would go on strike unless June got her trophy.
June Brown pictured at the TRIC Awards with onscreen son John Altman
"[June] should get a BAFTA really. They should really think about that BAFTA," Perry told Digital Spy. Actress Emma added: "June Brown is June Brown. We all love her, we respect her. She treats every single individual at Elstree with the utmost respect and we return that. We learn so much from her. She's gorgeous. We all love her when she has to do a speech because it goes on for ages, but it's funny, it's brilliant and everyone listens. You could hear a pin drop and it was fantastic."