Belfast Telegraph

New EastEnders boss 'hopes Slaters can save soap'

The new boss of EastEnders is reportedly planning the return of several old characters in a bid to save the show.

New EastEnders boss John Yorke reportedly hopes to lure back show legends Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace to help boost the soap's ailing ratings.

Yorke was appointed by BBC bosses as the show's creative director last week (end25Jun17), after executive producer Sean O'Connor's exit.

Sean only took over the reins on the beloved east London-based soap last year, but was dismissed last week over the show’s declining ratings.

His replacement John previously helmed the show from 2000 to 2002, introducing well-liked character Kat Slater and her family to Albert Square.

To help restore the show's popularity John reportedly wants Jessie, who played Kat, and Shane, who starred as her onscreen husband Alfie Moon, to return.

"He has a soft spot for the Slater family, so don't be surprised if they figure prominently in his plans," a source told The Sun newspaper. "His skill is getting an episode to build to a brilliant cliff-hanger which has been lost recently. He will be looking for real high-impact stories."

Editors at the publication report that John will be holding personal meetings with former and current castmembers in a bid to take the show forward after a disastrous year.

Sean’s decision to kill off popular characters and introduce a new family, the Taylors, to Walford, the fictional London borough in which the show is based, was unpopular with fans.

Jessie and Shane permanently left the soap in 2016 but have since played Kat and Alfie in spin-off show, Kat & Alfie: Redwater.

Redwater followed the couple, previously the landlords of Walford's Queen Victoria pub, as they looked to make a new life for themselves in Ireland.

John’s previous reign as EastEnders boss is regarded by many as a golden era for the soap opera, as he was the man behind its famous Who Shot Phil? storyline, which kept viewers guessing who was behind the attempted murder of Walford bad boy Phil Mitchell for weeks.

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