Jacqueline Jossa was nervous’ to return to EastEnders

The 30-year-old actress initially starred as Lauren Branning in the BBC soap opera from 2010 until 2018 but is due to return to the role as part of two special episodes depicting the funeral of legendary character Dot Cotton – who died off-screen on 1 December following the death of actress June Brown at the age of 95 earlier this year – and eventually felt as if she was “back at home” on set.

She said: “I was really nervous because, no matter what, it’s always such a big thing to be at EastEnders. But when I got there, it didn’t feel like anything had changed. It just felt like being back at home. The two episodes are very emotional from top to bottom because there are so many layers.”

The former ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ winner went on to add that Lauren – who is the granddaughter of Dot – is still the same as she was but admitted that the return was “bittersweet.”

She told DigitalSpy: “She’s still the same old Lauren, but maybe grown up a little bit! I think she’ll be able to provide some updates about other members of the Branning family! Hopefully, Lauren coming home is something positive and light. Obviously, Lauren is upset to lose Grandma Dot, but it’s a bittersweet feeling to be back.”

However, Lauren added that June – who played launderette assistant Dot from 1985 until 1993 and again from 1997 until 2020 – “deserved” the special send-off and that she had “learned everything” about her craft from her co-stars.

She said: “June deserves the send-off she’s going to get at EastEnders, and I wanted to be a part of that and be involved. It was nice to be there to represent that side of the Branning family because there are family members always off gallivanting and doing different things. was always so lucky to work with the best of the bunch. I was like a sponge, and everyone I worked with, like Jo Joyner (Tanya), Jake Wood (Max), and June, were massive inspirations in my life. They were so good at their job that it was crazy. I learned pretty much everything from them.

“June was always so kind. Lauren called her character Dot, but June always made sure it was ‘Grandma Dot’. Everyone always listened to June – the choices she made were always right, and she was brilliant.”

The special episode of ‘EastEnders’ will air on December 12 on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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