The Mitchells say a difficult goodbye to one of their own (Picture: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)
However, the ever opportunistic Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) sees this as an opportunity to earn some brownie points, and secure her place as the new Mitchell matriarch, as actress Kim Medcalf revealed.
‘It’s very sad but it’s an opportunity for Sam to up her game and become this matriarchal figure because her mum is not around. She’s stepping up and trying to do the right thing for the Mitchells and for Aunt Sal.’
When Sam learns that neither Ben or Billy Mitchell (Max Bowden and Perry Fenwick) intend on coming to the funeral, she is gutted, and soon sets about dragging them along.
The Mitchells gather to say their goodbyes (Picture: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)
‘Sam is thinking about what her mum and Aunt Sal would want, and how Peggy would approach this. She wants to step into those shoes. There are some nice references in there where Sam is wearing her mum’s earrings but she’s doing it because she wants to do the right thing.
‘That’s why she’s having to force the other Mitchells to get involved. She’s having to force the younger generation like Ben and Jay to remind them it’s really important for the Mitchell family.
‘A lot of it is because she wants this to be viewed from the outside in, that they are doing the right thing. The Mitchells are such a strong unit and they are all collectively remembering Aunt Sal.’
The funeral itself is an emotional one, Kim reveals, with Aunt Sal’s husband Harold (David Sterne) making a beautiful speech.
Harold delivers an emotional speech (Picture: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)
‘It’s quite a mix of emotion and humour. It is a lovely celebration and we get to meet Aunt Sal’s husband Harold, who is just fantastic. He does this really moving speech about his wife.
‘It is emotional. Aunt Sal was loved and especially by Peggy, so it feels like there’s a bit of Peggy in that room too.’
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Aunt Sal was one of EastEnders’ most iconic guest characters, and Kim feels that this is a fitting tribute not just to her, but to actress Anna Karen as well.
‘When we were at the crematorium, it had a lovely feeling about it. We were remembering Aunt Sal but also Anna Karen as well, very much.
‘I think the writers have done Anna’s talent and the character, the justice she deserves. David Sterne, who played Harold, was so good and the speech they wrote was so beautiful.’
‘We were remembering Aunt Sal but also Anna Karen as well.’