According to Jacqueline Leonard, she left EastEnders because of how young cast members like Paul Nicholls and Danniella Westbrook were treated at that specific time.
In a recent interview, the actress who portrayed Lorraine Wicks on BBC One from 1996 to 1997 reflected on her time on the show and how it was “difficult to watch” as some of the younger performers “got themselves into trouble.”
Rita Simons, who plays Roxy Mitchell, said that EastEnders can sometimes be “toxic” behind the scenes, which generated a conversation.
Jaqueline said, “I didn’t directly encounter the toxicity that Rita mentioned, but I could tell it was occurring. There was undoubtedly a hierarchy on site, so I simply avoided it. However, after a while of viewing that, I decided it was time to move on.
Paul [Nicholls] and Danniella, two younger performers, weren’t really taken care of. They were getting into problems on their own, which was tough for me to see as a mother.
Nearly three decades after she left, Jacqueline acknowledged that this was one of her reasons for departing, telling The Sun that she ‘didn’t like what [she] was witnessing’ and ‘had enough’.
It was clearly time for her to go, she admitted, but she was departing on a high.
Just in time for Chesney Brown (Sam Aston) and Gemma Winter’s (Dolly-Rose Campbell) wedding, the actress makes her long-awaited return to Coronation Street this week, resuming her role as Linda Hancock.
Jacqueline said that she ‘liked’ returning to Corrie and would be open to’sticking around’ on a more permanent basis, adding that the plot could ‘go in so many different directions’.
BBC One broadcasts EastEnders from Monday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ITV1 broadcasts Coronation Street at 8 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.