EastEnders fans will rejoice to learn that Sam Mitchell, the legendary EastEnders character, is returning to BBC soap after almost six years.
Kim Medcalf will be replacing Danniella Westbrook as the original star, who played the role from 1990 to 2002 and then reprised it in 2016.
Kim, 48 years old, was Sam’s character from 2002 to 2005. EastEnders bosses selected her to play the role again after Danniella was relegated on multiple occasions.
On stepping into Sam’s shoes once more, Kim said: “When the BBC approached me last year to reprise the role of Sam I was thrilled. She’s a brilliant character and I can’t wait to get back in the Square this spring and work with the amazing cast of both familiar and new faces.”
Kate Oates, BBC’s head of continuing drama, said: “The Mitchells are one of the most iconic families in soap, and I have long wanted to bring Sam back into the family fold. With Phil potentially facing a long spell inside, Sam arrives back in Walford ready to take what she sees as her rightful place in the Mitchell empire.
“But with strong grudges against Kat, Sharon, Jack and Denise, to name but a few, her return is guaranteed to be explosive…”
Sources claimed to Silver Screen Beat that BBC soap bosses have been in talks with Kim since autumn last year.
One of them said: “Sam’s return has been on the cards for some time. They felt [Kim] was a natural fit for this version of Sam. It’s nothing against Danniella, she created an icon as the character.
“As is often the case in soaps, the bosses wanted Sam to be recast and taken in a completely different direction. Kim will begin filming in just two weeks, and everyone is excited.”
Earlier this month, Danniella opened up about the recasting rumours on Instagram as she wished the best of luck to whoever would be taking on the role of Sam.
She wrote: “The @bbceastenders have not contacted me to say they are re-casting or if they have. But that’s OK. Who plays Sam next I wish all the luck in the world to. Enjoy.”
She added the hashtag #OutWithTheOldInWithTheNew.
And Danniella has previously praised Kim’s performance as her iconic character, recalling an opportunity to speak to her at an awards show in 2009.
She stated: “I had never seen [Kim] before, so I went up to her on the red carpet and I said: ‘Kim, I just wanted to say well done on the part. I know you took a lot of backlash and everything for stepping in, but you did a fantastic job. You’re a very talented actress and thank you for keeping Sam alive, keeping her going’”.
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