EastEnders star refused to film key scenes after being told Roxy would die

EastEnders star refused to film key scenes after being told Roxy would die

April 27, 2023

EastEnders star Rita Simons has revealed that she refused to film key scenes around Roxy Mitchell’s death, just in case there was ever a chance that her character could be brought back from the dead.

Roxy, as viewers know, was killed off with sister Ronnie (Samantha Womack) back in 2017 in what was undoubtedly one of the most controversial moves in soap history.

The character drowned in a swimming pool at a hotel on the day of Ronnie’s wedding, with bride Ronnie jumping in to save her, before ultimately drowning herself.

Fans were outraged that both characters were killed off, with many a campaign having been started by viewers to bring the iconic duo back, despite the sisters technically being dead.

But it’s interesting to note that, while we saw Ronnie’s body on-screen, we didn’t actually see Roxy’s, with actress Rita Simons now revealing that she refused to film such scenes, in the hopes that Roxy could potentially make a return one day.

‘I got pulled aside a couple of days before filming the final scene by an exec, who I cannot name for legal reasons, who said to me, ‘There are a lot of people upstairs who don’t agree with this,’ she told The Sun.

‘So what I was hearing was that people above did not agree.

‘Why they couldn’t help, I don’t know. The politics there was so fraught at the time.

‘And you have to let a producer do what they do and you have to let them find their way. They said: “If you want any chance at ever bringing Roxy back, you have to refuse to die”.

Rita, who is set to stage a comeback on Tuesday (April 28) for a short scene, said that she has ‘sat’ on this information for six years, feeling guilty about having not been allowed to tell anyone – not even Sam Womack. The soap star went on to confirm that she filmed her final shots as though she was ‘holding her breath’.

‘Go back and watch it online and you will see next to nothing of me at all,’ she said.

‘I also refused to do the coffin scene. I was asked directly to my face and I refused point blank.’

Rita also refused to film scenes involving her drowning, nor would she jump into the pool, reiterating that all she did was hold her breath and stay ‘absolutely still’.

Roxy will return to screens this week as part of daughter Amy’s (Ellie Dadds) mental health storyline, with the Branning family attending a group therapy session, where Amy will be encouraged to open up about her emotions surrounding the loss of her mum.

During the session, Amy will find herself zoning out and seeing Roxy as a figment of her imagination.

EastEnders airs Roxy’s ‘return’ scenes on Thursday April 27 at 7:30pm on BBC One.

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