EastEnders has finally solved the mystery of who Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) has been secretly calling in her mission to secure a new co-owner of the Queen Vic, with a brand a new family heading for Albert Square.
Meet The Knights!
The landlady, as viewers know, has been struggling to work out what the future of her beloved boozer would look like, after soulmate Mick (Danny Dyer) vanished at sea over the festive season.
Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean), her best mate and former landlady of the show’s signature pub, promised to bail her out, selling shares of her gym in a bid to raise the capital to buy into the Vic.
Suki and Nish Panesar (Balvinder Sopal) and Navin Chowdhury) also showed interest, with the latter having a secretive plan to oust Linda from her own pub if he got his claws into it.
Linda, however, had an alternate buyer in mind, making a phone call to a mystery person, hoping they’d be her knight in shining armour.
Well a knight in shining armour she has found, quite literally, in the form of her mum Elaine Peacock and her lover George Knight, who will both up sticks and move to Walford with George’s daughters, Gina and Anna, in tow.
Colin Salmon, best known for his work on Doctor Who and Arrow, will join the BBC One soap as George Knight, who is a tough-talking and fiercely protective dad who dotes on his two daughters.
‘I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of EastEnders to take on the role of George Knight,’ said the Bad Girls star. ‘I’m excited to explore the character of George, a true East End gentleman having been born in the East End myself.
‘I have a great affinity and love for the show and I look forward to being part of the great legacy.’
The role of Elaine, meanwhile, has been recast, with Absolutely Fabulous actor Harriet Thorpe taking over from previous star Maria Friedman, who played the no-nonsense landlady between 2014 and 2016.
‘I’m thrilled to be playing Elaine who is an ultimate matriarch with a huge and vivid personality with a heart of gold who takes no prisoners and fights with all she’s got, but has a vulnerable side that she only shows a select few,’ said Harriet, who takes on the role.
‘The Vic needs strong women running it, and I want to honour the incredible, iconic queens who define EastEnders since the beginning. The entire company is a dream come true to work with, full of support, laughs, and creativity, with the warmest welcome from day one.
‘The East End is where my family started out, so for me this feels like coming home.’
Anna ,the youngest of the family, will be played by Nova Jones star Molly Rainford, who recently competed in Strictly Come Dancing, making it all the way to the final of the series, after wowing audiences with her routines including the Quickstep, Charleston and Argentine Tango.
‘I’m SUPER excited to be joining the cast of EastEnders,’ said Molly. ‘It’s such an iconic show which myself and my family love, so it’s an honour to bring the character Anna Knight to life who is set to stir up drama upon her arrival.
‘I’ve already met a few familiar faces from my time on Strictly and I can’t wait to meet and be a part of the EastEnders family.’
The eldest daughter, Gina, will be played by A Discovery of Witches star Francesca Henry. ‘I wish I could tell younger me that one day I would be joining the show that I watched religiously every night with my Grandma,’ said the actress. ‘It’s very surreal and a true privilege to be trusted to bring Gina to the Square, and to be a part of such an exciting, tight-knit new family.’
Of course, the beginning of a new EastEnders era wouldn’t be complete without a comment from boss Chris Clenshaw, who has oversaw the running of the show for a number of months now, restoring its former glory – with significant improvements in both storyline quality and the community-esque elements of the serial drama.
‘The arrival of the Knights brings a new dawn to Albert Square,’ enthused Chris. ‘George Knight is a charming rogue and an old-school gent who dotes on his two daughters, Gina and Anna. George will take up residence in The Queen Vic when he joins his beloved Elaine, a powerhouse of a land-lady who knows just how to have fun.
‘The couple will be joined by feisty, determined and demanding Gina, who is as sharp and cool as cut diamonds but with a temper that blazes like fire, whereas younger sister, Anna is fun, loveable, and big-hearted, but don’t underestimate her.
‘George, Gina and Anna have been bound together for years and arriving in Walford is the fresh-start the Knights are looking for.
‘We’re thrilled to welcome this hugely talented group of actors; Colin Salmon, Harriet Thorpe, Francesca Henry and Molly Rainford who will be immediately thrown into the heart of the Square, and we can’t wait for everyone to meet them.’
The Knights will make their on-screen debut in early summer.
We don’t know about you, but we couldn’t be more excited about this. A new era for the Vic is on the cusp of commencing, one that will bring in new blood, all the while allowing Linda to remain at the centre of the show where she belongs.
A winning combination.
EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One.
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