Denise Welch is joining EastEnders for a handful of episodes to play Alison Slater.
Alison is the mother of transgender character Kyle Slater and former mistress of Jean Slater’s husband.
On joining the soap, Welch said: “I’m thrilled to be part of such an iconic show. I have friends in the cast and can’t wait to start.
“It’s a short stint but such a powerful role and I’m thrilled to be taking it on.”
A source said: “Denise will star in a few episodes that see a lot of focus on her character.
“Alison is finding it difficult to accept her daughter is now her son and the storyline will follow her meeting Kyle for the first time. It will deal with very sensitive issues.”
Kyle, played by Riley Carter-Millington, joined the soap last year and made UK soap history by becoming the first trans actor to play a transgender character.
Welch’s EastEnders debut is expected to air in the coming months on BBC One and BBC One HD.