EastEnders cast Khali Best as Ava’s son, Dexter!

by Anna Howell

With news that Cora Cross’ long-lost daughter, Ava, will be turning up in Albert Square later this month, fans of EastEnders will be interested to know that she is not coming alone!

Fans of the hit BBC soap will know how after Tanya (Jo Joyner) discovered a birth certificate for a sister she never knew she had, her mother, Cora (Ann Mitchell) told her that the baby girl, named Ava, had died shortly after birth. However, reports emerged last month that this was, in fact, not the case, and Ava is very much still alive and kicking.

Ava, played by Clare Perkins, is set to rock the already questionable relationship between Tanya and Cora when it is revealed that Cora actually gave her up because she was of mixed race.

Mitchell told Soaplife of the storyline: “The baby’s father was black and he left Cora before he knew she was pregnant. She was 18 and unmarried, and at that time, having a baby in her situation was a social stigma. She was made to feel enormous shame by her parents, who forced her to give the baby up for adoption.”

On why Cora kept quiet for so long, the actress continued: “It’s partly through an enormous sense of guilt, and to keep things as safe and uncomplicated as they could be.”

And with the arrival of Ava, also comes the arrival of her son, Dexter!

Dexter will follow his mum to Walford in the New Year, played by Khali Best, full of questions for the long-lost family he never knew existed either!

Speaking to Digital Spy Best described his excitement to be joining the hit soap, explaining: “I am delighted to be joining the cast of EastEnders and working with such great actors so early in my career is an amazing opportunity. I am really excited to see what the writers have in store.”

Meanwhile, EastEnders’ executive producer Lorraine Newman added: “Dexter is a force of nature: cheeky, forthright, confident but highly protective of his mum and vice versa. He’ll work at the Arches and be a great mate for Jay and Lola. I am sure he’ll be hugely popular with the audience.”

Dexter Hartman’s first scenes will air in January 2013.

Watch Cora telling Tanya that Ava had died in the clip below:

EastEnders can be seen Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings on BBC1/BBC1 HD.