As fans of EastEnders will know, Samantha Womack left the show, and her role as Ronnie Branning, last year…
“And now that she’s had time away to reflect on the ruckus that the baby-swap storyline created, she’s told the Daily Mirror that she thinks the storyline was “implausible.”
Thousands of viewers complained about the storyline, which of course saw Ronnie ‘replacing’ her dead baby James with Kat Moon’s (Jessie Wallace) live baby Tommy.
The plotline drew to an earlier than planned close when Ronnie confessed and handed the baby back to his mother. In the show, Ronnie is now in prison for her emotionally charged acts.
Sam, who’s currently starring in the musical South Pacific in Southampton, said, “I thought it was implausible. Most women who lose a child would not go out and abduct one…
“But Ronnie is a soap character and she is not necessarily representing real life.
“Soap is based on controversy and sensationalism because bosses are trying to get high ratings and they can’t write things like ‘Ronnie had a cup of tea’. Otherwise people wouldn’t watch it.”
And of her leaving shortly after the plotline concluded, Sam explained, “It was emotionally and physically exhausting.
“It was the right time for Ronnie to be put to bed. I also left because you can end up being typecast.
“If you want to do good work, you have to take yourself out of your comfort zone. It was very frightening leaving a job that I got on so well in and it did feel like a very big risk.
“You have to remember that no one is bigger than the show and they can kill anyone off.
“The show survives because it’s the show and had it served their purpose to get rid of Ronnie for good, they would have done it.
“But I don’t think they wanted it and I think they thought the audience didn’t want it.
“Deep down fans loved her but they wanted her to go to prison.”
Sam went on to reveal that she’s still recognised in the street for her EastEnders role.
She said, “I went to Bicester Village to do my Christmas shopping last month…
“There were some kids outside the shop I was in and I didn’t have any make-up on and my hair was scraped back and they were shouting out ‘RON-NIE!’.
“I’m not a fan of the name Ronnie anyway. Rita Simons who plays Roxy used to jokingly call me Ronald McDonald.
“Ronnie sounds like an East End gangster – the name Roxy is so much cuter – so it’s not my favourite name to have shouted at me down the street.”
You can book tickets to see Samantha in South Pacific until February 4th at www.mayflower.org.uk
Here’s a reminder of the harrowing moment Sam as Ronnie discovered baby James had died…