Rita Simons: ‘My heart will always be with EastEnders’
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Rita Simons: ‘My heart will always be with EastEnders’

Departing soap actress, also the niece of businessman Lord Alan Sugar, speaks out on life after Albert Square

Departing EastEnders star Rita Simons has said she has a “huge loyalty” to the show, even after her character was killed off.

But after almost a decade playing half of the Mitchell sisters duo, the Jewish actress did not rule out the possibility of joining another soap.

In a dramatic New Year’s Day episode, her character Roxy drowned in a swimming pool, shortly followed by her sister Ronnie (played by Samantha Womack) who jumped in to save her.

After her final episode was broadcast, Essex-born Simons, 39, who is the niece of businessman Lord Alan Sugar, told the Press Association: “I would never say never, but my heart is probably always going to be with EastEnders.

“It’s such a massive part of my life and I do love that place.

“Honestly, I have a huge loyalty to EastEnders at the moment.”

After becoming best friends with Womack on the set, she described filming the pair’s deaths as similar to losing a real sister.

“We are ridiculously close, we are like one person,” she said.

“We speak to each other multiple times a day and I know her every movement and she knows mine.

“I am going to miss not having her in my dressing room… she has been with me the whole time… and I do believe we will work together again one day.”

But Simons added that the end of her 10-year stint on the show would allow her to pursue other projects, such as a comedy or gritty drama.

Speaking about being cut from EastEnders, she said: “It’s always quite difficult in a soap because you’re never quite sure when you’ve outstayed our welcome and when it’s time to go, and I do believe it was the right time to go.

“That doesn’t make it any easier but, as an actor, 10 years in a soap, I was ready to go out and try other things.

“My passions are TV and film and there are so many things I would love to do – a comedy, maybe something gangster and gritty.

“I would even love to do a few episodes of (dark US drama) Ray Donovan. We’ve got a few Brits branching out into some of these box sets, which is brilliant.”

After a busy pantomime season starring in Snow White in St Albans, Simons is set to return to the stage in August for a year-long touring production of Legally Blonde.

She has also been using her new-found freedom to do more charity work.

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