EastEnders’ Charlie Brooks teases Janine’s explosive return saying she’s ‘good at being bad’

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It’s been seven years since EastEnders fans last saw Janine Butcher, played by actress Charlie Brooks, sipping champagne with a wealthy victim firmly in her sights as she prepared to board a train to Paris.

But this week, the soap villain is back, as Janine returns to Albert Square to battle for custody of her daughter, Scarlett Moon.

Most recently seen on our screens in July in Channel 5 thriller Lie With Me, 40-year-old Charlie is delighted to be revisiting the character and reveals that while her “alter ego” may be older, age certainly hasn’t mellowed her…

Hi, Charlie. It’s great to see you back as Janine. How did you feel when EastEnderscalled you?

I was genuinely excited. Instinctively, straight away something felt absolutely right about this. I always think about where Janine’s been and what she’s been up to.

There was an enthusiastic response to the news of her return. Were you surprised?

I couldn’t quite believe all the social media stuff – it blew me away really. There’s lots of love for the character, which is amazing to hear. I still get, “You killed Barry!” a lot when I’m out and about. It used to be, “Here love, here’s a tenner” in the prostitution days. She’s been through a lot, this poor girl.

Have you missed Janine?

She’s so much fun – she’s like my alter ego, I suppose. I get to play out my wild side through this fantastic character and get such wonderful opportunities with the storylines. I want to go out with Janine for the night – she’d be fun!

How was your first day back on set?

I was a bit nervous. And working this hard again is a shock to the system. It’s so weird in this job, as you work so closely with so many people for such a long time, then you go away and when you come back it’s a bit like a school reunion, but better. Hand on heart, I’m buzzing to be here.

What can you tell us about Janine’s return?

As we know, we’ve got her daughter Scarlett, who is back in the Square, so Janine is heading back that way. It’s going to be explosive – we might see some flames and a big fire. There’s some great stuff with her wit and her put downs. I read the scripts and go, “Oh my God, can she say that?”

So, she’s still a nasty piece of work, is she?

People have an expectation of what they want from Janine, so you want to live up to that.

We’ve seen the softer side of Janine in the past when she’s been in love. Do you prefer that or the bitchy stuff?

She’s very good at being bad but a lot of the juicy stuff happens when we explore her being in love. She has a lot of layers but I do think Janine the bitch has got to win every time!

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EastEnders is on BBC One on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as well as BBC iPlayer

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