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Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 18:41 GMT 19:41 UK
Seven move in to Albert Square
The Slaters
Five of the Slaters, plus boyfriend Garry: They are the eighth new family in the soap's history
EastEnders bosses have revealed the latest arrivals on the BBC soap - a family of seven set to cause ructions among the established residents of Albert Square.

The Slaters will join EastEnders in the middle of September as a replacement for the di Marco family, of which all but Beppe left the square earlier this month.

They are made-up of grandmother Mo with her widower son-in-law Charlie and his five daughters.


I hope that this is going back to EastEnders' roots, the classic EastEnders family which is all about surviving and fighting back all the time

John Yorke, EastEnders executive producer

One of the girls, Kat Slater, will clash will Mel Healy while Mo resumes a feud with Pat Evans going back 30 years.

The soap's executive producer John Yorke said the new characters would bring back some traditional EastEnders values.

"I hope that this is going back to EastEnders' roots, the classic EastEnders family which is all about surviving and fighting back all the time," he commented.

The Slaters are only the eighth family to arrive on the show in its 15-year history.

The addition is considered by the BBC as a major innovation for Yorke, who took over from Matthew Robinson at the beginning of the year.

Mal Young, the BBC's head of drama series, said of the decision to bring in the new family: "We do not have enough solid families in the soap, there were a lot of fractured families and people who were alone."

Old wounds

Grandmother Mo is played by Laila Morse - the sister of acclaimed Dracula actor Gary Oldman.

Mo is the widow of Pat Evans' brother Jimmy. She has decided to return to Albert Square after the deaths of both Jimmy and her daughter, Charlie's wife.

Pat Evans played Pam St Clemens
Pat Evans, played by Pam St Clement, holds a 30-year grudge for Mo

But in coming back, Mo stokes the flames on her long-running argument with Pat, played by Pam St Clements, which began three decades earlier when Pat wrongly accused her of having an affair.

The air turns frosty around Queen Vic barmaid Mel Healy, played by Tamsin Outhwaite, when she realises she has a rival for the men's admiration in glamorous Kat Slater, 28.

Kat is played by newcomer Jessie Wallace who described her EastEnders character as "a bit of a floozy and a bitch and very lazy".

Cab driver Charlie Slater is played by Derek Martin, 69, who played Alex Morris in the BBC's ill-fated soap Eldorado.

Karaoke

The other Slater daughters are Lynne, 33, Little Mo and teenager Zoe. The fifth daughter Belinda will be introduced to the soap at a later date.

Tamsin Outhwaite as Mel Healy
Mel, played by Tamsin Outhwaite, finds competition in Kat Slater
Lynne Slater's boyfriend Garry Hobbs will also be a new addition likely to cause friction. Garry has a roving eye and becomes interested in Mel.

John Yorke said the Slater family members were developed at an improvisation session for 30 actors and actresses earlier in the year.

He chose the five actresses to play the sisters, he explained, because they got on so well.

They went on to perform a Nolan Sisters routine at the session - which will be included on EastEnders as part of one of the Queen Vic's karaoke nights.

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See also:

02 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Axe falls on five EastEnders
05 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Frank and Pat's sunshine kiss
28 May 00 | Entertainment
EastEnders cleans up soap awards
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