EastEnders boss Kate Oates reveals surprise returnees and huge new storyline

EastEnders boss Kate Oates has teased details of her plans for the soap in 2019.

The BBC’s new Senior Executive Producer has given viewers a taste of what lies ahead in Walford in the New Year.

Kate has big plans for Jean Slater, who will be at the centre of an explosive mental health storyline.

While much attention will focus on the Mitchell family as Sharon and Keanu’s affair sends shockwaves round Albert Square.

She also revealed that, as well as Lola Pearce, there will be a couple more characters returning to the show.

EastEnders boss Kate Oates reveals surprise returnees and huge new storyline

Kate Oates revealed her EastEnders plans for 2019
(Image: Twitter)

EastEnders boss Kate Oates reveals surprise returnees and huge new storyline

Jean will be central to a mental health storyline
(Image: BBC)

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Kate answered fans’ Twitter questions in a Q&A video posted on the soap’s social media pages.

On upcoming plots, she said: "I’ve got so much planned. 2019 is going to be a really big year. We’ve got some fantastic long term arcs for you guys. The storylines will be really rich and diverse."

Kate explained that there would be a "long running saga" with the Mitchell family based around the "Sheanu" affair.

There will also be a big storyline for Jean around her mental health.

Kate said: "She’s going to have a challenge coming her way where we look at her mental health through her physical health. So I’m excited about that one too.

EastEnders boss Kate Oates reveals surprise returnees and huge new storyline

Lola is coming back to Albert Square
(Image: BBC/Jack Barnes)

The EastEnders boss then teased the return of some much-loved characters to the Square.

She said: "We’ve got some great returnees planned. You may know that Lola is coming back so I’m really looking forward to seeing her in the Square.

"We’ve got a couple more secret returnees coming. One is coming back in Spring that I’m really excited about. It’s going to be a fairly short stint but I think it’s going to have a really huge impact so they’re part of my big plans for 2019.

EastEnders boss Kate Oates reveals surprise returnees and huge new storyline

Kate has some big plans in store
(Image: Twitter)

Kate is very much in favour of "championing diversity" and is bringing two new sisters into the Ahmed family.

Mitch Baker is also coming back alongside his and Karen’s eldest daughter Chantelle and another family member.

She also spoke of her desire to have more LGBTQ characters on the soap.

Kate added: "We’re looking at opening a new gay bar on the square. It will be a super cool precinct where gay and straight characters can hang out and stories can cross. It will be exciting and visual."

*EastEnders airs tonight on BBC One at 8pm

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