EastEnders is set to see in the new year with a bang with the return of iconic character Melanie Owen, who will be returning to the Square after nearly 16 years away. Played by Tamzin Outhwaite, Mel last appeared on our screens back in April 2002, after fleeing Walford to escape a wrongful imprisonment as a result of late husband Steve Owen's dodgy drug dealings. During her reign on the show, Mel was involved in some of the soap's most memorable storylines, including Who Shot Phil and her feisty relationships with Steve and Ian Beale. It has not yet been disclosed as to why Mel is back, but one thing's for sure - drama will not be far behind.
EastEnders icon Melanie Owen, played by Tamzin Outhwaite, is returning to Albert Square
Since leaving the BBC One soap, Tamzin has gone on to star in hit TV shows including New Tricks, Red Cap, and Out of Control. Of her return to EastEnders, the actress said: "When I got the call from John [Yorke] asking if I would consider coming back to EastEnders, it was something I just couldn’t refuse. John created Mel’s most memorable storylines so it is an honour that he has asked me to return."
Mel and Steve were one of EastEnders' most iconic soap couples
The mother-of-two added: "EastEnders is in my DNA and I always knew deep down that someday I would revisit Mel; she is a strong independent woman with lots more stories to tell. To be stepping back into Mel’s shoes nearly twenty years after I first started feels just perfect."
John Yorke, Creative Director of EastEnders spoke of his excitement at having Tamzin back on the show. He said: "Tamzin is one of EastEnders’ biggest stars, so it’s particularly exciting to welcome her back to Walford for an incredible storyline - one that will awaken a lot of old ghosts, some great memories, and a whole new series of adventures too. We’re thrilled and flattered to have Tamzin back and we can’t wait to reveal just where she’s been, and just who Melanie Owen is now."