Chrissie Watts to return to EastEnders almost 20 years after being jailed

EastEnders character Chrissie Watts is to return to the show, almost 20 years after she was jailed.

Tracey-Ann Oberman will return in the role this autumn for a short stint on the soap, after only spending a year-and-a-half in Albert Square in her first appearance.

During that time, her character was imprisoned for the murder of her husband, Den, and buried him under the Queen Vic barrel store, with the help of Sam Mitchell and Zoe Slater.

Chrissie Watts on Albert Square
Watts will make her first appearance in the soap in almost 20 years (BBC/PA)

Watts lived for months under false pretences after the incident, with Den’s adoptive daughter, Sharon Watts, and his son Dennis Rickman.

Mitchell was initially held responsible for the murder, after she drunkenly dug up Den’s body on Watts and Rickman’s wedding day.

Watts was eventually caught, and jailed in December 2005, when Phil and Grant Mitchell returned to the square to free their sister.

EastEnders has not said why the character will be returning to the square this year.

Oberman said of her return: “Chrissie Watts was such a great character to play – a victim or a villain.

“She is a real fan favourite, so when Chris Clenshaw asked me to come back and re-visit her and see what has happened in the last 19 years, I jumped at the chance.

“The scripts are fantastic and I hope the viewers enjoy her as much as I am enjoying playing her again.”

Other memorable moments from Watts’ time on EastEnders include her chopping off Kate Mitchell’s hair when she discovered she was having an affair with Den, and receiving the wrath of Kat Slater for getting her daughter caught up in Den’s murder.

EastEnders executive producer Chris Clenshaw said: “I’m delighted to welcome the immensely talented Tracy-Ann back to the iconic role of Chrissie Watts.

“Although the character hasn’t been seen on screen for almost 20 years, Chrissie is cemented in EastEnders’ rich history for her murder of Walford’s most infamous villain, and Sharon’s beloved father, Dirty Den.

“I’m keeping tight-lipped on the exact circumstances relating to her return for the time being, but what I can promise is that it’s never quiet when Chrissie Watts is around.”

The BBC has not revealed the exact date on which the character will return.