EastEnders Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie to shoot spin-off series based in Waterford
Eastenders stars Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie have said they can't wait to swap the cobbled streets of Walford for the piers and jetties of Waterford.
The pair, who play Kat and Alfie Moon in the popular soap, are due to shoot a new six-part spin-off series in the picturesque village of Dunmore East next month.
The series will follow the Moons as they search for Kat's long-lost son. It should hit TV screens this autumn.
Shooting will begin once the pair finish touring with stage show The Perfect Murder.
Richie said the series will pack an emotional punch as "Alfie's got a brain tumour and Kat has a son".
"To have a whole drama focused around Kat and Alfie is a huge honour for us both and we just can't wait to start filming," he added.
It's not the first time that the Eastenders cast and crew have decamped to Irish shores.
In 1997, Pauline Fowler, played by Wendy Richard, travelled to the Republic in a bid to find her long-lost half-sister.
The three episodes caused uproar with viewers, due to the less than flattering depiction of life in the Republic. In one scene, a man poured a pint over Pauline's head before demanding that she coughed up cash for the drink.
In another scene, farm animals wandered the streets of Dublin.
But Richie assured would-be viewers of his show that it will not parody Irish life or "play the dopey card".
Wallace and Ritchie have an extensive fanbase in the Republic and brought their stage show to Dublin's Bord Gais Energy Theatre in February.
Wallace said working on the spin-off series was a dream come true.
"I have always loved working on EastEnders so when I heard of this new drama to take Kat and Alfie outside of Walford, I couldn't believe our luck," the actress said.
And she added: "To be exploring the next chapter for Kat as well as working alongside my best mate, Shane, is a dream come true."