Marie is set to cause a big stir in the village (Picture: Lime Pictures)
This article contains big spoilers from an episode of Hollyoaks only available to stream. The episode will air on E4 on Tuesday January 16 at 7:30pm. You can stream it now on All4.
It’s been a long time coming – and yep, I know that some of you even doubted it was cancelled or even a fever dream – but Hollyoaks has finally confirmed who EastEnders legend Rita Simons will play.
The actress was confirmed to have been cast way back last July, with a source telling Metro.co.uk: ‘There’s a real buzz in the air about Rita joining the show – she’s a great signing!
‘Bosses have big plans for the character, who is going to be at the centre of some really big storylines and make a real impact.
‘To say she is going to stir things up will be an understatement.’
Theories have been rife since then, with some speculating that she would once again play the daughter of Glynis Barber, and others even wondering if the show had re-cast Mandy Richardson after the departure of Sarah Jayne Dunn.
Rita Simons is set to film alongside Rory Douglas-Speed (Joel), Jamie Lomas (Warren) and Jennifer Metcalfe (Mercedes) among others as the character Marie, the mother of Joel who is currently laid up in hospital after being mowed down by a truck.
Rita was first announced as a Hollyoaks cast member six months ago (Picture: REX/ITV)
Tracksuit clad Marie will be sneaking into the Chester village this year after leaving prison, with her first order of business being to steal Mercedes’ red dress, as shown in a teaser clip after a dramatic hour-long episode.
Talking about her upcoming appearance, Rita said: ‘Marie’s got a lot of ties here, so I think there’s going to be quite a lot of trouble between quite a few characters, and you will just have to keep watching to see…’
Given Hollyoaks’ resurgence following big changes both on and off-screen, this seems to be a given.
The show has been changing up the cast a fair bit and tapping into nostalgia with a wave of returning characters including Jacqui, Myra, Cleo and Theresa McQueen, Freddie Roscoe and Hannah Ashworth, who was recently confirmed for a full time comeback with Emma Rigby signing on the dotted line after initially agreeing to a stint.
Rita recently made a cameo return to EastEnders (Picture: BBC)
There are also more major stories afoot with Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) facing the wrath of Warren Fox (Jamie Lomas) if he finds out the truth about Ella’s death, and a shocking shooting in the woods as Felix Westwood (Richard Blackwood) also wanting payback.
Meanwhile, Dilly Harcourt (Emma Johnsey-Smith) is forced to face the ramifications of killing husband Rafe (Chris Gordon).
She made a fleeting return to the show as a vision of daughter Amy (Ellie Dadd), in scenes which one acclaim from fans.
She will make her first appearance in Hollyoaks this spring.
After six months, we finally know!