Actress Martha Cope is to join EastEnders as Sandy Gibson, the troubled mother of Dotty Cotton.
Cope has appeared in TV dramas including Doctors, Family Affairs, Doctor Who and Holby City and will make her debut in the Square in scenes due to air in autumn.
Sandy’s surprise arrival in Walford will cause friction with her estranged daughter, played by Milly Zero.
Past alcohol problems led Sandy to have a short-lived relationship with the infamous Nick Cotton (John Altman) during which she fell pregnant with Dotty.
She eventually told Nick about their daughter while he was in prison and he took over custody upon his release, lying to Dotty that Sandy had died in a car crash.
Sandy’s last appearance on the Square was when Dot Cotton, played by June Brown, helped reunite mother and daughter. The character was played in 2010 by Caroline Pegg.
Since Dotty returned to Walford in 2019, Sandy has stayed away, until now.
Cope said: “I have watched EastEnders since it began and I’m beyond excited to join such an iconic show and having a great time playing Sandy.”
Jon Sen, executive producer of EastEnders, said: “Martha is a brilliant addition to our cast – we’re excited to welcome her to Walford. To say Sandy has a chequered past is an understatement and it’s no secret that Dotty’s upbringing was marred by her parents.
“Sandy’s arrival catches Dotty off guard and she’ll be forced to confront everything she’s tried to leave behind.”