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EastEnders star Harriet Thorpe reveals ‘divine’ and OTT Christmas scenes

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Elaine and George lead the Christmas light switch on in EastEnders
Elaine is very proud of the Albert Square tree – but there’s a clash of egos incoming (Picture: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

There’s trouble brewing for Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe) in EastEnders as the big Christmas lights switch-on gets underway in Albert Square.

With the Vic sponsoring the festive event, larger-than-life landlady Elaine is determined to make it a success – but when Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) suggests Yolande Trueman (Angela Wynter) heads up a community choir, Elaine’s not happy.

‘Elaine thinks a community choir is a wonderful idea and that she should be running it!’ says Harriet. ‘It makes complete sense, what with her life experience professionally and creatively.

‘It’s an outrage that Sonia suggests Yolande should run the choir because Elaine’s huge talent for community spirit, as she sees it, is being overlooked.

Elaine and Yolande in the Vic
Elaine and Yolande are on a collision course (Picture: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

‘Everything is a performance for Elaine and Christmas is the highlight of her year. So, when she is out in public, turning on the Christmas lights, it’s like starring at the London Palladium.’

Playing the scenes with Angela, as the two strong women clash, was ‘divine’, she adds. ‘These are two women trying to highlight their potential, and it’s very funny.

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‘There is very theatrical attention-seeking on both parts. They are both fuelled by their egos, and in those moments, nobody else exists.’

Elaine in the Vic
Elaine likes to be centre stage (PIcture: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Elaine couldn’t be happier to be in the limelight.

‘She’d like to commandeer the Christmas tree lights switch on every year so that it will be the ‘Elaine show’ from the start of November to the end of January. It’d be like panto in the old days – it’d go on for months. That’s Elaine’s dream.

‘She loves theatre, and this is her version of it,’ says Harriet. ‘Theatre has been Elaine’s escape from reality during some tough times in her life. She has always lived her life on show because that’s the way she knows how to survive.’

But Elaine’s not impressed with the rest of the Knight family who don’t take the event so seriously. ‘It’s really frustrating when the family don’t pull their weight, let alone when they are ‘on stage’ with her – that’s when they need to crack a bloomin’ smile!’

Harriet says that, just like her character, she thrives in a crisis. ‘She is ready – just as I am in life – to catch the ball or put out a fire.’

As for this Christmas’s much-awaited mystery murder victim, Harriet says she’s gone ‘full Sherlock Holmes’.

‘It’s great that none of us know. I’ll be tuning in on Christmas day and find out which of the men is on the floor of The Vic.’

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