Tanya Franks (EastEnders' Rainie) interview

Actress Tanya Franks rose to fame playing a bi-sexual mother in Five soap Family Affairs and a drunken primary school teacher in BBC comedy Pulling. This August, she returns to her role as Tanya Branning's drug addict sister Rainie in EastEnders.

> Find out the latest EastEnders spoilers.

LastBroadcast caught up with Tanya to find out more...

It’s over two and a half years since you last appeared in EastEnders - did you expect to return again?

"No, I had no idea. They asked me back in 2008 and I couldn’t make it, so I thought my time was done."

When will you reappear onscreen?

"From 3rd August I believe, for three weeks."

What brings Rainie back to Walford?

"Well, let’s just say that Rainie is unlikely to return without stirring up a bit of trouble."

What’s it like working with Jo Joyner, who plays Tanya?

"She is lovely to work with. A very sharp and generous actress. I am very happy to be Tanya Branning’s sister."

Rainie and Tanya’s dark past has been hinted at, with Tanya’s drug-taking. Did you and Jo Joyner discuss their past to fill in the blanks yourselves at all?

"There was a lot of detail of our past in the first two episodes, so there really wasn’t an awful lot of blanks to fill in. There certainly are the odd bits you have to fill in with any role you play though. The producers arranged for us to meet before we started filming to run through it and that helped too."

If Rainie was to find a love interest on the Square, who would you choose?

"I loved working with who my next storyline is with - wish I could be more specific."

Were you disappointed that BBC Three didn’t commission a full third series of Pulling?

"Absolutely. We were all very sad about it. And all this time later I still have members of the public, of all ages, asking me why the BBC pulled their favourite comedy show for years."

Did you enjoy your run in Really Old, Like Forty Five at the National Theatre?

"Loved it! Being at the National is a joy in itself, it always feels like home. You bump into so many people you haven’t seen for ages which is a bonus. The play itself was a smashing new piece of writing by Tamsin Oglesby, and it was a pleasure working with some of the crème of the profession like Judy Parfitt and Marcia Warren."

How do you find working in theatre compares to working on TV?

"They are very different disciplines. A lot of TV doesn’t give very much rehearsal time, so to refine a piece of work in the theatre over a number of weeks is worlds away from learning lines cold, having a five minute camera rehearsal, and delivering your performance on first instincts and hoping that you have made the right choices."

Do you prefer one over the other?

"They offer me different adrenaline rushes, so no, I love them both for different reasons."

It’s almost five years since Family Affairs ended - what are your memories of working on the show?

"It’s actually seven years ago since I left FA. It was a very fast show to work on. It was also my first break into TV and I had an experience of working with the camera that I couldn’t have paid for. Also some long-lasting friendships were forged which I am grateful for."

Apart from acting, what are your other hobbies and interests?

"Writing and eating Paul A Young chocolates. Theatre and cinema-going, travelling abroad, weekends away, painting and drawing, and hot air ballooning is an interest that I have only taken part in once, but would love to do more of!"

Last film you saw at the cinema:


Last TV show boxset you bought:

"In Treatment."

Last album you bought:

"Anthony Newley: 'The Best Of'."

Interviewed on 2nd August 2010
by Will Martin.