EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders‘ executive producer Chris Clenshaw has spoken about the decision for Sonia Fowler to play the central role in Dot Branning’s death storyline.
Sonia has taken centre stage in emotional scenes this month following the sad news that her beloved grandmother Dot had passed away in Ireland.
In recent days, the BBC soap has shown Sonia planning Dot’s funeral and she’ll also give a eulogy during the service.
Speaking to Digital Spy and other media at an EastEnders press event this week, Clenshaw confirmed that it was always the plan for Sonia to lead the episodes.
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He explained: “I think it was inevitable. It isn’t something we mulled over. Sonia and Dot had a very special relationship. I think that Dot has shaped Sonia’s character. I know that Natalie Cassidy and June Brown had a very special, unique relationship.
“I don’t even think it was a decision – it was obvious. Sonia has always cared so much about Dot, so she had to be at the centre and I think Nat gave a stellar performance.”
On the day of the funeral, Sonia struggles with the pressure of paying tribute to Dot in front of the congregation.
Feeling unable to express how she feels for Dot on paper, Sonia starts to crumble as she prepares her speech.
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Clenshaw continued: “We wanted to do something that June would respect and that people would also relate to.
“We’ve all lost people in our lives and the story that Sonia goes through in that episode, is a very simple but relatable story of not knowing how to put her feelings down on paper and then deliver them to a congregation.
“It’s something that I hope people can relate to.”
EastEnders wrote in the funeral storyline after June Brown died at the age of 95 earlier this year.
Beyond the funeral, Sonia’s character will remain a focus for the show as EastEnders introduces Dot’s great-nephew Reiss Colwell. Reiss has already been confirmed as a new love interest for Sonia.
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Clenshaw said: “It’s absolutely lovely to have another relative of Dot’s in the show. I think Reiss is a very unique character that we’re all very excited about.
“We meet him at the wake – he can’t even step into the pub, as he’s a little anxious, a little nervous, a little socially awkward.
“But hopefully what you’ll see is that there’s a real spark immediately between Reiss and Sonia. I think he comes into Sonia’s life at the right time.”
EastEnders airs on Mondays – Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
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