Seeing Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) so happy with quirky Reiss Colwell (Jonny Freeman) has brought much-needed joy into EastEnders over the past few months – but we also know he’s hiding a secret.
Ever since Reiss slipped out to make that phone call and asked to speak to his wife, it’s only been a matter of time before Sonia finds out what’s really going on.
She didn’t twig something was seriously amiss when shifty Reiss swerved going to Thailand to see her daughter Bex.
In Monday’s episode (May 8), as coronation day dawns, Sonia wakes up to birthday treats but no Reiss.
When he still doesn’t show up, Rocky Cotton (Brian Conley) threatens to share his suspicions about the socially-awkward accountant with Sonia – even though Reiss was very supportive when he learned Rocky had a secret wife.
Sonia and Reiss first met when he turned up for his great aunt Dot Cotton’s funeral, and despite his quirkiness – or perhaps because of it – the pair hit it off.
‘Sonia has found a special person in Reiss,’ says Natalie. ‘He’s not your average guy. Some may say he’s a bit of an oddball but he’s very clever, he’s got a good job as an accountant, he likes the simple things in life and Sonia really likes that. They’ve just clicked and they really get on.
‘A few people don’t think Reiss should be trusted. I often get a few people tell me when I’m in the supermarket that I shouldn’t trust him. I think they know something is going to happen.’
So what can Natalie tell us about the upcoming storylines and how her relationship with Reiss will play out?
Next week, Sonia will find out exactly what secret Reiss is hiding, when he tells her the truth – on her birthday.
‘For her birthday, he dresses up the kitchen and gets balloons,’ says Natalie. ‘She finally thinks “this is someone is caring for me, it’s not always me going out and caring for other people”. It’s just lovely to be cared for.
‘So when the news breaks and Reiss reveals his secret, Sonia’s utterly heartbroken.’
When Rocky orders Reiss to tell Sonia the truth, she walks in and overhears – so Reiss has to fess up.
Furious, Sonia tells Reiss to get out of her life.
‘I don’t think she has any clue about what’s going to happen,’ says Natalie. ‘It hits her in the face like a ton of bricks.
‘She trusts him, which explains why she’s so hurt. She perhaps thought he’s nipped out to get her another present or he might have just gone off to do something. She’s quite naive to it all really.’
Reiss pours out the truth to Eve Unwin (Heather Peace), who tries to persuade Sonia to hear what he has to say.
But it’s talking to terminally-ill Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) which really helps Sonia get a good perspective on Reiss’s lies.
‘At first, she’s very angry but I think very quickly she realises there’s more to it and she eventually wants to hear him out,’ says Natalie.
‘Lola is the one, being in her heartbreaking position, that says Sonia can’t worry about what other people think, and encourages her to do what she wants. I think Lola plays quite a big part in Sonia’s decision because she puts life into perspective.’
Natalie adds that she loves working with co-star Jonny. ‘We’ve done a lot of comedy stuff which is a joy for me because I love comedy – but we understand you need a lot of the big stuff, the shocking stuff and the sad stuff.’
EastEnders continues tonight at 7.30pm on BBC One
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