Her character’s tragic descent into alcoholism has gripped the nation.
But today, EastEnders’ Kellie Bright exclusively tells Talk TV how her harrowing portrayal provided a vital lifeline to an 11-year-old boy trapped in an alcoholic home.
Kellie – who plays Queen Vic landlord Danny Dyer’s wife Linda – was delighted to learn of the positive outcome.
The 43-year-old actress says: “Someone at work recently told me about her godson who had been removed from his family home because his mother is an alcoholic.
“He is only about 11 or something but since he has been removed, he has not spoken at all.
“But I was told he has been watching the show and he has actually started to talk again. She told me that story with tears in her eyes.
“This is the impact that the storyline has had. I do believe the soap has the incredible ability to reach millions and millions of people on a level that perhaps others don’t.”
In the show, Linda hit the bottle and fell asleep while looking after son Ollie, who then climbed up on to the pub roof.
Kellie, who is mum to Freddie, eight, and three-year-old Gene, adds: “People are sharing their stories and I find it moving when perhaps it is a woman similar to Linda that may have a family.”
There are tough times for EastEnders’ fans as the show is taking a break because of the coronavirus – but it will provide Kellie with a welcome breather.
She admitted she filmed herself drunk to research the plot, and found acting intoxicated rather “daunting”.
“Acting drunk is incredibly difficult,” she says. “You feel very vulnerable as you expose yourself.
“I don’t mean literally, but it is like taking off all of your clothes and running around a bit as you are like, ‘This is me. I’m out here. I am going for it’.
“I tried really hard to keep it grounded and as authentic as possible and let the drama come out of that, really.”
In real life, Kellie is not a big boozer because she has to get up at the crack of dawn with her kids.
“I am not a huge drinker,” she says. “I get up so early in the morning there is no way I can stay up late.
"And also, I think as you get older, the hangovers get worse. I can nurse a glass of wine all evening – I am one of those people.”
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