Denise van Outen said working on EastEnders was as bleak as the soap’s storylines

WORKING on EastEnders was as depressing as the soap’s gloomy storylines, according to former star Denise Van Outen.

The former Big Breakfast host, featured in four episodes in 2015 and despite being a lifelong fan of the BBC1 series, was surprised by how little her castmates at the time enjoyed working on set.

Denise’s comments come as the soap recorded one of its lowest ever ratings, with a peak of 2.76 million tuning in for Thursday night’s instalment.

In an exclusive chat, she said: “Everyone I met on EastEnders would just moan about it, just winging about everything. The day I arrived, and I’m quite a bubbly person, I was like ‘hi!’ and they were like ‘oh, you’re going to hate this’. I was like, ‘oh really’? I don’t know what’s it’s like now but when I was on I found it very intense. But I think it was quite public knowledge there was a lot of tension on set.”

Denise played businesswoman Karin Smart who was the new love interest of Albert Square lothario Max Branning, played by Jake Wood who quit the soap in February. The actress, who is starring in one-woman play Some Girl I Used To Know directed by ex-EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite, which is being streamed over the Easter weekend at, admits she preferred working on Aussie soap Neighbours.

She added: “I would go back to Neighbours in a heartbeat, I loved it, all the cast were lovely. I don’t want to disrespect any of the actors from EastEnders because they do an amazing job, but I think perhaps, there’s a lot they have to get through. They’re very focussed and I just thought I would have more fun.”

Denise and Tamzin will be teaming up for the first time on Some Girl I Used To Know having never previously crossed paths during their illustrious careers.

Denise explains: “I’m so thrilled after all these years that finally I’ve got the chance to work with her on something. She’s brought out a whole different performance from me with her directing that I never had before. For me I really enjoyed the experience, we had a lot of laughs.”

  • Denise’s one-woman show Some Girl I Used To Know streams from April 4 to 5. Tickets cost £10 from with profits benefiting the Make a Difference Trust.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “A growing proportion of EastEnders' viewing and the majority for under 35s is on BBC iPlayer, where the audience value the ability to watch it on-demand. Since the show returned to air in September 2020, it has been streamed over 154 million times on iPlayer, making it one of the service’s very best performing programmes."

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