Return to BBC’s EastEnders for Tracy-Ann Oberman

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Return to BBC’s EastEnders for Tracy-Ann Oberman

Outspoken campaigner against antisemitism will be back in Albert Square after nearly 20 years with her character Chrissie Watts

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Tracy-Ann Oberman as Chrissy Watts
Tracy-Ann Oberman as Chrissy Watts

Outspoken campaigner against antisemitism Tracy-Ann Oberman is returning to BBC soap EastEnders nearly 20 years after her infamous on-screen character Chrissie Watts left Albert Square.

Watts left Walford in December 2005 after she was imprisoned for the murder of husband, Den Watts, played by the late Lesley Grantham.

The circumstances relating to her return to the drama remain under wraps, but EastEnders has confirmed that Oberman will be back on television screens this autumn.

The actress, known also to many for her roles on Doctor Who and as Auntie Val in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner, said: “Chrissie Watts was such a great character to play – a victim or a villain. She is a real fan favourite so, when Chris Clenshaw asked me to come back and revisit her and see what has happened in the last 19 years, I jumped at the chance.

“The scripts are fantastic and I hope the viewers enjoy her as much as I am enjoying playing her again.”

Oberman also impressed theatre critics with her role in the West End reinvention of Shakespeare’s Merchant Of Venice, starring as a female Shylock, based on her own grandmother. The play was re-set in 1930s London as fascism sweeps across Europe.

Her EastEnders character left the soap in December 2005, with a whole heap of drama in her wake, and a long list of enemies.

From hacking off Kate Mitchell’s (Jill Halfpenny) hair after she discovered the affair between her and husband Den, to finding herself on the receiving end of Kat Slater’s (Jessie Wallace) wrath for getting daughter Zoe caught up in his murder, there are many people in Walford who were glad to see the back of her.

Chrissie first arrived in Walford on 29 April 2004 after she came in search of husband Den Watts, having met him 7 years previously in Spain. At the time of her arrival, Chrissie and Den’s family were not aware of each other’s existence.

However, Chrissie’s biggest enemy during her time in the Square came in the form of Den’s beloved ‘Princess’, Sharon, when Chrissie learnt the hard way that in Den’s world, his daughter always came first.

Chris Clenshaw, executive producer added: “I’m delighted to welcome the immensely talented Tracy-Ann back to the iconic role of Chrissie Watts. Although the character hasn’t been seen on screen for almost twenty years, Chrissie is cemented in EastEnders’ rich history for her murder of Walford’s most infamous villain, and Sharon’s beloved father, Dirty Den. I’m keeping tight-lipped on the exact circumstances relating to her return for the time being, but what I can promise is that it’s never quiet when Chrissie Watts is around.”

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