Belfast Telegraph

EastEnders’ Tamzin Outhwaite: I was shocked by gender pay gap

She said the issue must be addressed.

Tamzin Outhwaite has demanded that the female stars of EastEnders are paid as much as the men ahead of her return to the soap.

The actress, who will reprise her role as Melanie Owen after 15 years away, said she had been horrified by the gender pay gap.

She told the Mail on Sunday’s You magazine: “The one thing we need to sort out is the pay gap between men and women, which has completely shocked me.

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Eastenders

“I think we all knew about it but it was never out in the open. Now it is and we can see it, it’s time to make a change.”

Figures released earlier this year showed Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale, and Danny Dyer, who plays Mick Carter, are the top earning stars on the soap, taking home between £200,000 and £249,999 per year.

Female stars including Letitia Dean (Sharon Mitchell), Tameka Empson (Kim Fox) and Gillian Taylforth (Kathy Beale) all earn between £150,000 and £199,999.

Lord Hall, the director-general of the BBC, has pledged to close the salary divide by 2020.

Outhwaite played Owen on the soap between 1998 and 2002 and said she cannot wait to go back.

She said: “When I was asked to go back to EastEnders, I asked my eldest daughter what I should do and she said, ‘Can you get home every night?’ I replied that I could, so she said, ‘Well, do it.’ That clinched it.

“To be stepping back into Mel’s shoes nearly 20 years after I first started feels perfect. I’m very happy to be back. It has brought back many happy memories.

“Many of the original team are still here so it’s good to be among friends.”

She continued: “EastEnders is in my DNA and I always knew deep down that someday I would revisit Mel. She is a strong independent woman with lots more stories to tell.”

Outhwaite will make her return to the soap in 2018.

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