Tamzin Outhwaite will return to EastEnders after a nearly 16-year absence.
The actress, 46, who was last seen in the soap in April 2002, will reprise her role as Melanie Owen.
According to the BBC, she is due to begin filming soon for scenes that will air in the new year.
Outhwaite said: “When I got the call from John (Yorke) asking if I would consider coming back to EastEnders, it was something I just couldn’t refuse.
“John created Mel’s most memorable storylines so it is an honour that he has asked me to return.
“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. To be stepping back into Mel’s shoes nearly 20 years after I first started feels just perfect.”
Yorke, the show’s creative director, said: “Tamzin is one of EastEnders’ biggest stars, so it’s particularly exciting to welcome her back to Walford for an incredible storyline – one that will awaken a lot of old ghosts, some great memories and a whole new series of adventures too.
“We’re thrilled and flattered to have Tamzin back and we can’t wait to reveal just where she’s been, and just who Melanie Owen is now.”
Viewers first met the character of Melanie in October 1998, and she went on to marry Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Steve Owen (Martin Kemp).
Flirty Melanie was first known to viewers with the surname Healy.
Her union with Ian Beale was short-lived when she discovered he had lied to her about his child’s illness to get her to marry him.
Her marriages aside, she had a romantic dalliance with Dan Sullivan (played by Craig Fairbrass), who later kidnapped her.
She also had a secret liaison with Steve’s enemy, Phil Mitchell (played by Steve McFadden), which saw Steve become a central character in the famous Who Shot Phil? whodunnit storyline.
Mitchell was also the partner of Melanie’s best friend, Lisa Fowler (played by Lucy Benjamin), who also made a surprise return to the soap earlier this year.
During the last few weeks on the BBC soap, Melanie fell on hard times as she had to grapple with losing her house and her husband (who was unfaithful to her) and she faced a potential prison sentence after being falsely accused of laundering cash.
In true EastEnders style, a pregnant Melanie exited on a high note leaving Phil Mitchell to pick up her debts.