Returning EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite has admitted she is not as “up to speed” as she used to be after a near 16-year absence from the show.
The actress, who famously played Melanie Owen, is soon to return to the BBC One soap with her never-before-seen teenage son Hunter (Charlie Winter) in tow.
Last seen in Walford in April 2002, the 47-year-old confessed that it has been tougher to keep up with the fast-paced production routine this time around.
“It’s much faster now, I’m treating it as a whole new job,” she told the Radio Times magazine.
“And I’m older, so my memory’s not as good. I’m not as up to speed as I could be. But they’re ramping things up slowly.”
She continued: “Sometimes you’re walking about with 16 scripts in your hand and flitting between all of them. It’s relentless and dealing with it is a skill in itself.”
Outhwaite’s original four-year stint on the show, after she first stepped onto Albert Square in 1998, saw Melanie embroiled in a series of dramatic storylines, including two marriages and a kidnapping, as well as a secret affair with Steve McFadden’s Phil Mitchell.
The mother-of-two agreed to reprise her role after being approached by returning EastEnders producer John Yorke.
After securing roles in New Tricks, Doctor Who and Hotel Babylon, she said: “That climb up the career ladder just doesn’t exist. I feel I’ve achieved everything I set out to achieve, as far as work goes.
“I really do feel that I’ve been extremely lucky and have almost been chancing it a bit… so the rest is now a bonus.”
But, she added: “Once you get into your 40s, you’re no longer leading-lady age. Generally, those roles get offered to women in their 20s and 30s.”
:: Radio Times is out now