One of returning boss John Yorke’s first major plans for EastEnders when he took the reigns again was to bring back Tamzin Outhwaite as Mel Owen – and the actress has heaped praise on him for his vision for the show.
Mel was John’s creation when she first arrived in the show in the late 90s and Tamzin has admitted that she wouldn’t have returned if it hadn’t been John in charge. When Metro.co.uk sat down with her for a chat, she explained: ‘It’s been talked about but John Yorke has never come to my house and sat in my kitchen until now! He’s very persuasive! I don’t think I’d have come back unless it was him. How John views the show is quite similar to I do.
‘We both were part of the show at a really lovely time and I him being back helped to persuade me. The way he was talking about it is the way I view it. I like his view that the representation of East End London in the show works best when you have really strong women driving it. He really wanted the female characters to drive it again. It’s going to be a lovely challenge.’
Discussing how it first came about, she continued: ‘I spoke to (casting director) Julia Crampsey first who approached me at the Soap Awards and asked what I was up to. I told her I couldn’t really do theatre at the moment as I had a foot injury. My pool of work possibilities was smaller – I could only do TV in London which is quite minimal. When I worked out what I need to do to still be an actor and a mum, the timing was so aligned.
‘Julia told me John Yorke was back and that made it all very interesting. We all went for dinner and then John came to my house and we chatted about it. John got to know my family when we worked together – he was a very close part of my life and I could go to him with anything about the show.
‘The idea of working for him again was great – I knew he would get great writers and that he would make sure that EastEnders is the best that it can possibly be. His vision is pretty spot on I think. It was more about how do I resist but then I realised I didn’t want to. It’s a lovely, cushy thing to do, particularly as I can get home at night.’
And Tamzin added that it was her daughter Flo who got the final say on her comeback – and being able to see her mum at night was the biggest selling point.
She explained: ‘I discussed it with friends of mine who have nothing to do with acting and I discussed it with both my parents. We went from one to another – one day it was yeah and another it was no. I then spoke to friends who were actors who had very different views from those who aren’t. The final vote was taken by my nine-year-old. At the time, there were a couple of other projects on the table which would have meant I’d have had to go away and I asked Flo, “what do you think about this?”.
‘She basically asked if I could come home every night and when I said yes, she said “well, do it then!” The certainty in her answer just made me think she is absolutely right. I’m doing different scripts every day, I’m working with people I respect, I can get home every night – then it was a no brainer really.’