Patsy Kensit has said landing a part on EastEnders has long been her dream as she joins the cast as terminally ill Lola’s mum.
The London-born actress, 54, will take on the role of Emma Harding in an “explosive” arrival next month.
Walford will be a home from home for the star whose family had ties to the East End criminal underworld.
Her pickpocket dad, known as Jimmy The Dip, knew 1960s gangsters the Kray Twins. He was involved in the Great Train Robbery and served time in jail.
Patsy said: “I’m so excited to be visiting Walford for this storyline. It has always been a dream to appear in EastEnders.
“The cast, producers, writers and crew have been wonderful, and I’ve had a ball.”
Viewers will learn how Emma left her daughter with Lola’s dad when she was aged just three. Patsy landed her role on the BBC One drama – described as a “short stint” – after saying she would love to be the next Peggy Mitchell.
“I’d like to play a really strong matriarch. I’d like to go out with a real bang,” she has said.
And in 2019, she said: “I grew up around villains. And I can pull a pint and say, ‘You’re barred’."
Her 50-year career began when she was aged just four, in an advert for Birds Eye peas. She later starred in Lethal Weapon 2 in 1989, aged 21.
She starred in ITV ’s Emmerdale from 2004 to 2006 as villain Sadie King and in BBC One’s Holby City as drama-magnet nurse Faye Morton from 2007 to 2010, and 2019.
EastEnders boss Chris Clenshaw said she was “the perfect fit”, adding: “We’re delighted to welcome the wonderfully talented Patsy to the EastEnders family. She’s the perfect fit to take on the role of such a long-awaited character that we know very little about.
“Softly spoken and measured, on one hand Emma is the very opposite of her long lost daughter, Lola. But on the other, there’s a striking resemblance; successful, the capacity to hold her own – if she says she’ll do something, she’ll do it – and she’s a fighter, just like Lola.
“Having spent a lifetime apart, Emma becomes desperate to make up for lost time, but her secret sadness and guilt are never far from the surface.
“The burden of losing her daughter has never left her, but can she find the courage to tell her shocking truth and reconnect with Lola, or will it come too little, too late?
“Patsy’s portrayal is bound to set off fireworks in Walford and cause havoc for the Mitchell household.”