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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 10:21 GMT
EastEnders star back at work
Wendy Richard
Richard has worked extensively for cancer charities
EastEnders actress Wendy Richard has returned to work on the soap, despite her ongoing battle with cancer.

Richard, who has played Pauline Fowler in the hit soap since it launched in 1985, started filming again at the end of October, a BBC spokesman confirmed.

She will be back on screens by the end of the year.

The 56-year-old discovered a lump on her neck while on holiday nearly three months ago.

Wendy Richard
Richard played Shirley Brahms in Are You Being Served?

She underwent an operation to remove the lump soon after and has been undergoing treatment since then.

A BBC spokesman said the EastEnders cast were all "delighted" to see her back on the show.

"Wendy always said she would return to EastEnders by the end of October and that is what she has done," she said.

Richard - who has worked extensively for cancer charities - had been given the all-clear by doctors after an earlier battle with breast cancer seven years ago.

A spokesman for the actress said she was working mornings only and having treatment in the afternoon.

Bill Treacher and Wendy Richard
Richard with EastEnders colleague Bill Treacher in 1985

"The show's bosses are working around her treatment schedule," he said.

He added that Richard was "fine" and "remaining positive".

Richard's 17-year-stint on EastEnders has seen her character bury her husband, mother and twin brother.

She has also seen her daughter emigrate and coped with her son being diagnosed as HIV-positive.

But she is also known for her earlier role as glamourous sales assistant Miss Brahms in sitcom Are You Being Served?

The BBC show - set in the fictional Grace Bros department store - ran from 1973 to 1985 and its repeats still draw large audiences.

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