|Portrayed by||Jessie Wallace
Kate Peck (flashback)
|First appearance||18 September 2000|
|Created by||Tony Jordan|
|Introduced by||John Yorke (2000)
Kate Harwood (2005)
Bryan Kirkwood (2010)
|Slaters in Detention (2003)
"East Street" (2010)
Kathleen "Kat" Moon (also Slater) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Jessie Wallace. She was also played by Kate Peck in a flashback in 2001. Kat is the daughter of Viv and Charlie Slater (Derek Martin), and arrived with her sisters Lynne Hobbs (Elaine Lordan) and Little Mo (Kacey Ainsworth). Her daughter Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan) is initially believed to be her sister as well until Kat reveals she was raped by her uncle Harry Slater (Michael Elphick) as a child. She later marries Alfie Moon (Shane Richie). It is later revealed that Kat gave birth to a son, Zoe's twin brother. She appeared in the show from September 2000 to November 2004, then returned in May 2005 following a period of maternity leave. She left on 25 December 2005, and returned on 17 September 2010, to leave again in January 2012 and return on 7 June 2012.
Kat is described as "a bit of a floozy", "a bitch" and "very lazy". The EastEnders website says that as soon as Kat arrived in Walford with her "fake tan, heavy make-up and hoop earrings", viewers would know that Kat would bring a dose of "Viagra to the men of Albert Square". Richie revealed in an interview with This Morning that Kat and Alfie would be involved in an ongoing storyline, which he said is "going to be the biggest soap story in probably the history of soaps." At the end of 2010, Kat and Ronnie both give birth on the same day, but Ronnie's baby, James, dies and while Kat is in hospital and her baby, Tommy, is unattended, Ronnie swaps the infants. The storyline received over 6,000 complaints, making it the second most complained about EastEnders storyline. It was then decided to end the storyline earlier than originally planned.
Wallace has won multiple awards for her portrayal of Kat. At the National Television Awards, she was named "Most Popular Newcomer" in 2001 and "Most Popular Actress" in 2003. Wallace was additionally nominated for the "Best Actress", "Best Dramatic Performance" and "Hero of the Year" awards in 2002, and Zoe's maternity was nominated "Best Storyline". She was again nominated "Best Actress" from 2003 to 2006 consecutively, and shared "Best On-Screen Partnership" and "Best Exit" nominations with Richie in 2004 and 2006 respectively. In February 2011, following Kat's return to EastEnders, Wallace was nominated for Best Actress at the 2011 All About Soap Bubble Awards for her portrayal of Kat, and was also nominated alongside Richie for Best Comeback. She won the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) Award for "TV Soap Personality" in March 2011.
- 1 Storylines
- 2 Creation
- 3 Development
- 4 Reception
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Kat arrives in Walford on 18 September 2000, along with her family: father Charlie (Derek Martin), sisters Lynne (Elaine Lordan), Little Mo (Kacey Ainsworth) and Zoe (Michelle Ryan), and grandmother Mo Harris (Laila Morse). She finds work in The Queen Victoria public house as a barmaid, where she is an instant hit with the customers. Fiercely defensive of her sisters, Kat is the archrival of Little Mo's abusive husband Trevor Morgan (Alex Ferns), though has a fling with Lynne's boyfriend Garry Hobbs (Ricky Groves). Much to Zoe's frustration, Kat is often over-protective of her. When Zoe announces her decision move to Spain with their uncle Harry (Michael Elphick), Kat refuses to allow her to go. She reveals that she is Zoe's mother, having been sexually abused by Harry aged thirteen. Zoe flees Walford, and Kat attempts suicide by cutting her wrists. She recovers, is romanced by local doctor Anthony Trueman (Nicholas R. Bailey), and later finds Zoe and brings her home. Their relationship improves, but after Kat breaks up with Anthony, he and Zoe begin an affair. Zoe disowns Kat for disapproving of their relationship, and later runs away when Anthony reveals that he is still in love with Kat.
Anthony and Kat's relationship resumes, but she fails to impress his colleagues and breaks up with him as he is about to propose. Kat discovers she is pregnant by him and decides to have an abortion. Her boss Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) persuades her not to, but she suffers a miscarriage shortly after telling Anthony of the pregnancy. Alfie comforts her and realises that he is in love with her. Local gangster Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs) takes an interest in Kat and they become engaged. Kat confesses to Alfie's grandmother Nana (Hilda Braid) that she loves Alfie, and upon discovering this, he stops Kat and Andy's wedding and confesses his love for her. Kat leaves Andy, and she and Alfie marry on Christmas Day. Alfie later borrows money from Andy which he is unable to repay, so Andy threatens to kill him unless Kat has sex with him. A reluctant Kat does so, but unbeknownst to her Andy films the liaison and sends it to Alfie. Alfie becomes cold and distant and Kat resorts to alcoholism. After a one-night stand with a stranger, Roger (Russell Boulter), a disgusted Kat leaves Walford.
Several months later, Kat's grandmother Mo discovers that she is in prison for prostitution. Upon her release, Mo convinces her to return to Walford. Kat is determined to win Alfie back, but he is now in a relationship with Little Mo. Though he opts to reconcile with Kat, she is unwilling once she learns of his relationship with her sister. Kat rebuilds her relationship with Zoe, and they part on good terms when Zoe leaves to work as a holiday rep in Ibiza. When Nana Moon dies, Kat comforts Alfie and their feelings for one another once more become apparent. On Christmas Day 2005, they confess their love and depart Walford to travel across the United States.
Kat returns to Walford in September 2010, fleeing from a man she and Alfie conned for money. Alfie arrives but Kat is displeased to see him. She reveals to her family that while Alfie was serving time in prison, she had an affair with another man, who proves to be Alfie's cousin Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd) and is now pregnant with another man's child. In an attempt to prove himself responsible, Alfie leases The Queen Victoria. He struggles to raise the rent, and enters into a partnership with Michael, unaware that Michael is the father of Kat's baby. After an argument with Alfie, Kat agrees to move to Spain with Michael, but ultimately changes her mind and reconciles with her husband.
Kat gives birth to Tommy, and is rushed to hospital the next day due to complications. While she and Alfie are absent, James, the newborn son of local resident Ronnie Branning (Samantha Womack), dies of sudden infant death syndrome. Ronnie swaps the babies in an act of desperation. A devastated Kat believes her father is to blame for Tommy's death, as he left him alone to go for a drink. After the funeral, Ronnie attempts to return Tommy, but Kat misunderstands and believes that she is rejecting James. Charlie opts to leave Walford, although Kat forgives him before he departs. She is shocked when Michael returns to see his son, and upset when he shows no emotion at learning that he died. Kat's friend Martina Quinn (Tamara Wall) and her daughter Shenice (Lily Harvey) visit from Spain. After they leave, Kat and Alfie miss Shenice, and consider IVF to try for another baby. Their consultant feels it is too soon, and their relationship breaks down again, but eventually they reconcile. Four months after taking Tommy, Ronnie returns him and hands herself in to the police. Kat reacts with disbelief, but a DNA test reveals the truth, and Kat is reunited with Tommy. Kat is initially furious with Ronnie, but forgives her when she is sentenced to three years in prison.
Kat and Alfie holiday in Spain, and bring Shenice back with them. Upon their return, Kat gets pregnant again. Alfie believes that he cannot have children and assumes Kat has cheated on him, despite her insistence to the contrary. Alfie learns that he is wrong, but Kat is hurt by his accusation and will not let him near her, even after suffering a miscarriage. Kat has a one-night stand with Mark Garland (Chris Simmons), which she instantly regrets. She eventually confesses to Alfie, and tells him that her behaviour is how she is and always will be. Alfie tells Kat he would rather have her cheat on him than not have her in his life. The couple attempt to mend relations with each other over Christmas, but Alfie overhears Kat saying that she thinks he no longer loves her. Alfie books a session with a marriage counsellor, which Kat initially refuses to attend. She turns up late, and Alfie tells her the counsellor never arrived. Alfie pays his friend Gerry (Paul Reynolds) to pretend to be a marriage counsellor, who comes to their home. Kat tells Gerry that she believes Alfie does not love her any more and so she wants to end their marriage.
After Charlie suffers a stroke, Kat stays with him for a number of months, until Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) calls Alfie, who is with Kat, asking him to return as Kat's relative Jean Slater (Gillian Wright) has gone through many troubles involving Michael. Kat returns with Alfie and comforts Jean, who has broken down. She confronts Michael about it, but he continues with his lies, saying that Jean has been stealing things. However, Kat is not fooled and says she will rip him apart when she finds out the truth. She continues to harass Michael and his fiancée, Janine (Charlie Brooks), until the police get involved and caution Kat and Jean. Alfie informs Kat that he has taken a loan from Eddie Moon (David Essex) but Kat later learns that Eddie is in financial difficulties and so could not have lent them money. Kat is introduced to Derek Branning (Jamie Foreman) who reveals that Roxy and Alfie grew very close while she was away. Kat confronts Roxy who admits she had a crush on Alfie and confesses to giving Alfie the loan. Kat sacks her from her job as a result.
Alfie tries to start a football team for the pub, and Kat takes it over. She flirts in order to get people to sign up, and continues flirting at a party, with Ray Dixon (Chucky Venn), Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), Derek, Max Branning (Jake Wood) and Michael, sharing a close moment with each of them. While in the kitchen alone, an unseen man enters and he and Kat have a sexual encounter. She feels guilty the next day and attempts to neglect calls and texts from the mystery man, who has bought her a new phone. Kat eventually responds and talks with the man to tell him to leave her alone, but changes her mind and they begin a frequent affair, and he supplies them with a flat to use. Kat endeavours several times to end it, but she continuously succumbs. He falls in love with her, with Kat reciprocating, and when he sends Kat flowers, Alfie becomes suspicious. Kat lies they are from Charlie, but Alfie does not believe her and asks her to be totally honest, to which Kat reveals her three-month affair, telling him he does not know the other man. Alfie is furious and throws her out. After a heart-to-heart with Michael, Kat returns to The Queen Victoria to ask for Alfie's forgiveness and suggests going away for a while.
Alfie forces her to end her romance, which Kat does, and they go away together to try and salvage their marriage. When they return, they are shocked to be sacked by Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). However, Kat convinces Phil to give them their jobs and home back, by telling him she is trying to repair their relationship after the affair. When her mystery lover gives her another key to their flat, she writes "Kat loves Alfie" in lipstick on a mirror. As time goes on, Alfie becomes steadily more paranoid of Kat's activity, believing she is still having the affair. Alfie follows her the bedsit where there are petals on the bed and candles are lit. She refuses to answer his questions but Alfie finds a letter address to Mr Branning. Alfie goes back to The Queen Victoria where he confronts all three Branning brothers. One of their phones rings, and Alfie answers Kat's call. The phone is Max's, but Kat reveals that it is Derek she was having the affair with. Alfie kicks Kat out of their home and Kat stays with Derek, who promises to show Alfie a message on her phone where she tries to break up with him, but he plays a message where she begs to see him. Kat discovers this and an argument between them, along with Derek's other family arguments, lead to him dying from a heart attack.
Alfie starts a relationship with Roxy, who moves in with Alfie, upsetting Kat. Kat teams up with Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer) to earn money cleaning, first at the R&R and then at The Queen Victoria after being given a job by Roxy. Kat and Bianca are fired from both jobs, so they decide to set up a market stall together, with Alfie offering money to help them start. Kat is upset when Alfie changes the licensee name from Kat to Roxy on the plaque above the Queen Victoria doors. Alfie helps Kat when she is questioned over stolen goods, but to prove his love to Roxy, he decides he wants to divorce Kat. Kat fights with Roxy, and has sex with Michael, which she regrets the next day, Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) tells Kat to take control of her life, so Kat tells Roxy and Alfie she had sex with Michael and that he is a better lover than Alfie. Kat has an ongoing feud with Roxy, and is upset when she finds out Roxy and Alfie are trying for a baby. When a man named Josef (Aleksandar Mikic) tries to steal money from the pub's safe, Kat helps Roxy by convincing him not to. Roxy thanks Kat but then accuses her of trying to win Alfie back, which Kat denies. Kat and Alfie receive their decree nisi. Kat says it is not too late to cancel, but Alfie insists he has moved on and proposes to Roxy.
When Kat learns that Roxy is not going to meet Ronnie at her release from prison, she goes instead. Ronnie is unwilling to talk to Kat at first, but soon the pair discover that various tragedies in their past mean that they have plenty in common. Kat offers Ronnie a bed for the night, and then gradually persuades Alfie to accept Ronnie's presence back in Walford. This and Michael's death bring Kat and Alfie closer together. The night before his wedding, Alfie visits Kat and it leads to them kissing passionately, but she stops it. Distraught that she cannot be with Alfie, Kat decides to leave Walford, but Bianca takes her to the wedding and Kat walks in to see Alfie say ″I do″ to Roxy. She leaves the church and heads for the airport, but after she has boarded the plane, Alfie embarks and declares his love for her. He is forced off by security and Kat follows, reuniting with a kiss.
Phil decides to sell The Queen Victoria, as revenge for Alfie's treatment of Roxy, and Kat and Alfie move back in with Mo. Kat then reveals that she is pregnant by Alfie, and discovers that she is having twins. Having spotted Stacey from the top deck of a bus, Kat decides to track her down. She visits Janine in prison, and agrees to provide a false witness statement for Michael's murder, in return for Janine dropping false charges against Stacey, so that she can return to Walford. At her trial, Janine confesses to her crimes, and Kat is charged with perjury. She is devastated when Stacey hands herself over to the police for Archie Mitchell's (Larry Lamb) murder, five years previously. Kat attends a hearing, and is given a suspended sentence. After the market is merged with Spring Lane, Kat immediately clashes with her new rival, Donna Yates (Lisa Hammond) and is later surprised when Alfie reveals he has bought a pitch on the market. Kat gives birth to Bert and Ernie Moon. Stacey is released after she appeals her sentence and comes to live with Alfie and Kat. The financial situation becomes worse for the Moons when Alfie reveals they are to be evicted as they have not been paying their bills.
Kat briefly works the market again, but marker inspector Aleks Shirovs (Kristian Kiehling) forces her off her stall when he discovers she is working and claiming maternity benefit. Alfie lies to her that he has managed to convince the council to give them more time to rally together the money they need, but secretly plans to claim house insurance by setting fire to their house. He does so, but is unaware Kat is inside. She becomes trapped although Alfie rescues her. She is badly burnt. On leaving hospital, she and Alfie remarry with two nurses as the only witnesses, before returning to the square and moving into a flat Alfie has organised for them to squat in. When the owners arrive, they are thrown out and Kat is angry with Alfie, although out of desperation they squat in a new flat with help from Donna. Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hanchard) calls the landlord of the flat when trying to fix the boiler, so they are evicted again and they stay at the Vic with Alfie's friend Mick Carter (Danny Dyer). After Kat makes an emotional speech to the social housing manager, they are offered a council house in Hull. Stacey tries to stop her but before they leave Kat discovers a photo of Nana that was not lost in the house. Alfie confesses that it was he who started the fire. Kat, appalled by the disclosure, insists their marriage is over and stays with Stacey and Lily.
Mo tells Kat that Harry left her some money in his will. Alfie finds out, and tries to convince her to use the money to make a fresh start after the divorce. She takes the cheque from Mo and later rips it up in front of Alfie, insisting it doesn't change the past nor their impending divorce.
Kat begins to have second thoughts about the divorce after Pam Coker (Lin Blakley) gives a speech about love and family. Stacey reveals to Alfie that their rent is increasing and Kat is struggling with money. Alfie then invites Kat to his flat for lunch and they reminisce about their relationship. The next day, Kat lashes out at Alfie for leaving leftovers for the kids, but at the urging of Stacey, she agrees to be his date to Ian and Jane's wedding if he makes more effort for making up for the fire. On the wedding day, she gets heavily drunk, and during the reception, shoves Sonia Fowler's (Natalie Cassidy) head into the wedding cake. When the nursery raise their rates, Kat is forced to leave the kids in Mo's care to work her shift at the market, but ends up having drinks with Kim Fox-Hubbard (Tameka Empson). When Mo brings the kids over to the pub, they misbehave and Kat is thrown out of the pub. Undeterred, Kat and Kim continue drinking and sneak into the pub to steal another bottle of wine. Linda Carter (Kellie Bright), catches them, and while Kim leaves to find the cash to pay for it, Linda prepares to call social services to tell them of Kat's irresponsibility as a mother, but Kat snatches Linda's phone and throws it across the ground. When Kim returns with Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), she confesses her fears about being a bad mother, resulting in the other three women sharing their experiences of motherhood and reassuring her. Kat also tells Linda to speak to Mick (Danny Dyer) about her fears that the baby may not be his. Linda then realises that the phone call was still connected, and promises to fix things to make sure social services do not know about what happened, however Kat receives a call from a social worker requesting to visit her. Kat is surprised when a lawyer visits her about Harry telling her about a compensation case with four other women also raped by Harry. After the visit from the social worker, Kat tells Stacey and Mo that she will start saving up to visit Zoe in Spain. Two days later, Kat receives a text from Zoe saying she does not want to see her. Kat is devastated and she writes a letter to the solicitors about receiving all the remaining money from Harry's will, and intends to post it the next morning. The next day, following a conversation with Shabnam Masood, Kat changes her mind and throws the letter away but Mo retrieves it and posts it on her behalf. After Kat is robbed, Stacey discovers that Kat has been overdosing on Tommy's medicine. Kat admits to drinking the medicine to numb out her thoughts about Harry, but promises to stop. When Stacey tells Mo that the money would not be good for Kat, Mo has a change of heart and has Harry's money transferred to her own account. Kat later finds out about this, and then, after burning the money, falls into a depression and tries to kill herself. Alfie finds her and calls an ambulance, at the hospital he admits that he is still in love with her. He takes her home and decides to stay temporarily in order to help her with the kids and her upcoming visit from another social worker. During the visit, Kat remains withdrawn from answering questions about how she is feeling and why she attempted suicide and insists she is fine, but Alfie says on her behalf that she is not fine but that they are working on it, and admits to the social worker his feelings of guilt from starting the fire. Kat visits the nunnery where she gave birth to Zoe. A nun remembers her going into labour and they talk about the past and the future. Kat then leaves and goes to the police station to make a statement about Harry. Unknown to Kat, the nun checks their records and reveals that Kat also gave birth to a son. Later, a content Kat returns to Walford and tells Stacey and Alfie that she has finally made her peace with the past and is no longer willing to let Harry control her.
In 2000, EastEnders ' executive producer John Yorke decided to introduce the "classic" Slater family. He felt the show needed to go back to its roots and bring back some traditional values. BBC's head of drama, Mal Young commented, "We do not have enough solid families in the soap, there were a lot of fractured families and people who were alone." The family were created as a replacement for the di Marco family, who were axed by Yorke. The family consisted of, grandmother Mo Harris (Laila Morse), father Charlie (Derek Martin), his four children, Lynne (Elaine Lordan), Kat (Wallace), Little Mo (Kacey Ainsworth), Zoe (Michelle Ryan), as well as Lynne's boyfriend Garry Hobbs (Ricky Groves). It later transpired that Kat was the mother of Zoe, after being raped by her uncle Harry Slater (Michael Elphick). Actress Jessie Wallace was cast in the role of Kat after the character was developed at an improvisation session for thirty actors and actresses earlier in the year. Speaking of her casting, Wallace commented: "I'm pleased to be playing the champion floosie in the square. I want to achieve Cindy Beale proportions! Basically, Kat goes clubbing, steals other people's men and gets into fights. I love her. Everyone's warned me to expect a lot of stick in the street – Kat's such a full-on character. But I'm prepared for the fact that my life's going to change completely. I can't wait, but at the same time I'm scared." Wallace made her first on-screen appearance as Kat on 18 September 2000.
The character was described as "a bit of a floozy", "a bitch" and "very lazy". Kat is described by the EastEnders website saying that as soon as she arrived in Walford with her "fake tan, heavy make-up and hoop earrings", viewers would know that Kat would bring a dose of "Viagra to the men of Albert Square". It continues to read: "Her mum had died, dad was grieving and nan (Mo) was touting stolen meat off the back of lorries (some things never change). Kat wasted very little time in establishing herself as a drama queen by shocking everyone with the revelation that her youngest sister, Zoe was in fact her daughter. Then she stole her dishy doctor boyfriend for good measure." It continues: "With her enemies closing in, there was nothing to do but return home to Walford for help, complete with a huge baby bump"
|“||Unwanted pregnancies, suicide attempts, miscarriages – Kat has been through it all. But it was her relationship with Alfie that changed everything. Obvious to everyone that Alfie and Kat were meant for each other from the moment they met, he tamed her for a while but she couldn't be happy for long."||”|
—The BBC describes Kat (2010)
In February 2010, it was announced that Richie and Wallace would be reprising their roles as Alfie and Kat respectively, with Wallace commenting that she was "excited to slip back into Kat Slater's stilettos." Controller of BBC drama production John Yorke predicted that their return would make "fantastic viewing", given the wealth of new characters introduced since their departure. Wallace signed an initial one-year contract, and returned to filming in July. Wallace and Richie were the first cast members signed by new executive producer Bryan Kirkwood. The decision was made following the resignation of Barbara Windsor, who played Peggy Mitchell, which left what Kirkwood described as a "hole" in the programme. Kirkwood decided that the time was right for Kat and Alfie to return, saying that they "very much herald the new era of EastEnders."
The plot saw Alfie and Kat regaining control of The Queen Victoria public house after it burned down, and Kat returning to Walford pregnant, with some public suspicions about the paternity of her child . To promote the characters' return, the BBC released a trailer across the BBC network in September 2010. The western-themed trailer sees Kat outside of The Queen Victoria, with various characters looking on and Kat saying "Where d'ya get a drink around 'ere?" with Alfie replying "I think you're gonna' need one." The advertisement uses the tag line "It's all kicking off in the square". The return, in September 2010, drew 9.22 million viewers and 37.7% of the total TV viewing audience. Kat returned on 17 September 2010.
Wallace admitted she was nervous about reprising the role of Kat. Speaking to TVTimes, Wallace said she'd feared she forgot how to play Kat. She commented: "I missed playing Kat," she said. "Now it feels like I've come home. I was nervous at first because I thought I might have forgotten how to play her, but as soon as I stepped back onto the Square she came back to me. Even when I was out of the show, people called me Kat every day in the street. I was flattered and now I'm having a great time. The recent scripts have been brilliant."
Talking to What's on TV, Wallace commented on Kat's reunion with Alfie. She said: "She punches him! Alfie has come looking for her and hasn't seen her for months. He keeps saying to her 'You're fat' and she says 'I'm not fat. I'm pregnant!' Then she says, 'Don't worry Alfie, it ain't yours'. She's peed off with him. He's been in prison and she's had to survive on her own pregnant. But she loves him unconditionally. No matter what they do, they will always end up together. She wants stability... a future for the baby and her. She sets him this challenge and he buys it."
Temporary break (2012)
Kat was written out of EastEnders temporarily in January 2012. The writers for EastEnders organised "emergency script changes" which saw Kat called away to care for her father Charlie after a stroke. A source said: "It was a very easy decision to make for the show. She is a great actress and extremely popular on set. She'll come back stronger than ever." It was announced shortly after Wallace's break from EastEnders that Sharon Watts, played by Letitia Dean will be returning to the series. Numerous tabloids reported that the purpose of Dean's return is to replace Jessie Wallace or to "fill the hole left behind by Wallace". This was later denied by an EastEnders spokesperson. The spokesperson commented: "There is no link between Letitia's return to EastEnders and Jessie not being around at the moment. We have been working on plans to bring Sharon back for quite some time." An insider added: "Jessie and Letitia are two fantastic actresses and their characters are firm favourites with fans. Viewers can look forward to seeing them back on screen together later this year." Kat will return to the show on 7 June 2012. Wallace praised EastEnders writers for bringing back Kat's funny and feisty attitude. Wallace added that it's like going home to her family and that she has missed Shane Richie. Wallace further explained: "Before [my] break, I had the baby swap story and towards the end of last year, Kat was becoming very downtrodden. Now she's coming back fighting fit. It's almost like when Kat first arrived on screen in 2000. She's come back with those original feisty, tarty, funny and a bit cold sides to her. It's a new Kat."
Break and spin-off series (2015–16)
On 4 April 2015, the BBC announced that Wallace will appear in a six-part BBC One drama series alongside Richie. In the series, Kat and Alfie will visit Ireland in the "search for answers to some very big questions". Speaking about the show, Wallace commented: "I have always loved working on EastEnders so when I heard of this new drama to take Kat and Alfie outside of Walford, I couldn’t believe our luck. To be exploring the next chapter for Kat as well as working alongside my best mate, Shane, is a dream come true and a huge compliment."
On 24 April 2004, it was announced that Wallace was pregnant with her first child and that she would take maternity leave from EastEnders later in the year. Wallace was intended to depart in December, however a pregnancy scare meant that she was forced to stop filming in August, and scripts featuring Kat subsequently had to be re-written. She returned to filming in February 2005 and made her on-screen return in May. Wallace signed a six-month contract in a reported bid to boost the show's ratings. In July 2005, the BBC announced that Wallace had decided to leave EastEnders in a mutual decision with producers. A spokesperson for the show praised Wallace's talent and thanked her for her contribution to the series, stating that "Jessie and the writers want Kat Moon to go out on a high." Kat's exit storyline centred upon her on-off relationship with husband Alfie. Shane Richie, who plays him, also announced his decision to quit in April 2005. In 2009, Wallace stated that she missed playing Kat but had no immediate plans to return to EastEnders, despite rumours to the contrary. She noted that the public still associated her with her role, and that she was flattered people still remembered her.
Shane Richie revealed that viewers dislike seeing Kat and Alfie happy. Speaking to Inside Soap Richie commented: "People don't like it when Kat and Alfie are really happy. I never used to believe that, but I do this time around. The way that Jessie and I like to think of it is that there's the curtain in the Queen Vic that separates the bar from their home – until you go behind it, you'd never have any idea there were problems. The bar is Kat and Alfie's public stage." With the possibility that Alfie could be the father of Tommy, Richie added: "As soon as I found out, I thought, 'If Alfie isn't infertile, then surely Tommy could be his son'. Jessie and I spoke about the dates of when Alfie was in prison, and when he saw Kat before she had the fling with Michael. The writers reckon they don't match up, but we think they do. Jessie is quite adamant about it!"
Upon the return of Kat's father Charlie, Wallace said that this will provide a "big boost" to her character. Talking to We Love Telly, asked whether it's important for Kat to see Charlie again, Wallace replied: "Yes, definitely. With what happened the night they thought Tommy died, things were still unresolved for them. Although they cleared the air before he left, things weren't right between them, so to have him back with her now makes it all the more special. It's also Charlie that makes Kat realise that she needs to bond with Tommy. He makes her see that she can do this." Discussing what type of mother Kat will be, Wallace added: "I think she wants to be the best mum possible. She knows that this is her second chance to make a go of it and she is determined to do a good job."
Richie revealed in an interview with This Morning that Kat and Alfie would be involved in an ongoing storyline, which he said is "going to be the biggest soap story in probably the history of soaps." At the end of 2010, Kat and Ronnie both give birth on the same day, but Ronnie's baby, James, dies and while Kat is in hospital and her baby, Tommy, is unattended, Ronnie swaps the infants. The storyline received over 6,000 complaints, making it the second most complained about EastEnders storyline. It was then decided to end the storyline earlier than originally planned. It was reported by the Daily Star Sunday that Ronnie experiences a change of heart after visiting relatives in hospital and seeing the midwife who delivered her son. An EastEnders spokesperson said, "We do not comment on future storylines but we have always said Ronnie will do the right thing and Tommy will be reunited with Kat." Wallace revealed that she doesn't regret her involvement of the baby-swap storyline, saying that she was "just doing her job". Wallace told Bang Showbiz:"I stand by it. We're actors at the end of the day, we do our job and then we go home. It's drama, that's it." She also praised Womack's acting and will move on to "bigger and better things" once she departs later this year. She added: "[Samantha is] a fantastic actress who played a brilliant role in a fantastic storyline so I wish her all the best."
Derek Martin said he was surprised by the new baby swap storyline when it was published in the media. Speaking on This Morning, Martin commented: "I'm one of those actors – I don't know how many others do it – but when I get the scripts, I only read my bits. So I looked [and saw], 'Charlie leaves his grandson upstairs, goes downstairs, gets on the drink, gets drunk – the baby's dead'. So that's terrible guilt obviously – because I feel as though it's my fault that he's died. I was surprised when I saw the story come out – because I don't read the others' [lines] – that it was a baby swap." Discussing the surrounding controversy of the plot, Martin added: "Don't forget, there's millions of people – there's 60 odd million here, and they've all got different opinions. Every subject, everything that comes up… everybody will have opinions about that. So therefore you have to accept that's the public – some are for, some are against, and that's the way it is." He continues: Over the years, don't forget, EastEnders have always had subjects. When [Charlie's] brother had raped Kat and we didn't find out until later on, that was a very strong storyline. And when Little Mo was bashed by her husband Trevor. These stories are all part of real life."
Nina Wadia has praised Womack and Wallace for their "acting skills" during the storyline. Wadia told The Sun: "Sam and Jessie were amazing and it all got taken away from them because people made it out like a real baby had died. It's a soap. It's portraying fictional characters!" Marc Elliott added: "The storyline got whipped up into a massive frenzy. It's not representative in any way, shape or form of mothers who have lost their babies." EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer has also praised the plot for its "great acting". In an interview with Take It Easy, asked whether the show's bosses handled the storyline well, Palmer replied: "I think they did. I know there's been loads of bad press, but something like that is always going to be sad to watch and it will upset people. But at the end of the day, it's a drama and it's not real. I think it got blown out of all proportion. Unfortunately, things like that do happen in real life. Babies get swapped and snatched in hospitals. I'm sure that any parent who has lost a child will find even talking about their experience very difficult, let alone watching it being acted out on television. Even my daughter got upset but she is only 9 so maybe I shouldn't have let her watch it. I just didn't realise it was going to be so heart-wrenching, which was down to the great acting."
Samantha Womack admitted that she thought the plot was "implausible". She commented: "I thought it was implausible. Most women who lose a child would not go out and abduct one," she told The Mirror. "But Ronnie is a soap character and she is not necessarily representing real life. Soap is based on controversy and sensationalism because bosses are trying to get high ratings and they can't write things like 'Ronnie had a cup of tea'. Otherwise people wouldn't watch it." On 1 August 2011, Ofcom cleared the storyline. The baby swap storyline prompted a huge 1,044 complaints reported to Ofcom. Ofcom also added that many of the complaints were made because the storyline was presented "in an offensive manner" because it "appeared to suggest that a mother who has suddenly and tragically lost a baby through cot death would react by stealing another baby to replace that loss". Kym Marsh supported Ofcom's decision to clear the storyline. Marsh wrote in her magazine section: "Last week, EastEnders was cleared of wrongdoing by Ofcom, the media regulator, over its baby swap storyline, and I think that's the right decision. It's just a storyline, like any other. I understand why people got upset about it, but no-one meant to upset anybody. Soaps are supposed to portray real life to a certain extent, but it's meant to be high drama for entertainment purposes. I mean, how many murders can you have in one square? There's a nod to real life but, for the most part, soaps help take people out of the real world."
Wallace previously stated that filming the baby swap storylines "did not stretch her acting abilities". She told Buzz: "None of it's been really tough for me, to tell you the truth. I go in, do my scenes and then I go home. As an actress you want to get roles you can get your teeth into. I leave it at the gates when I leave work. Years ago, with the storyline when Kat told Zoe Slater she was her real mother, I found it tougher because I was new to the game. But I've been doing it a lot longer now, and can detach myself from it. You have to." On a lighter note, Wallace added: "There are two babies playing Tommy, called Ralph and Shane, and they're dressed in outfits like zebra-skin babygros and little denim jackets – that's the Alfie (Shane Richie) influence. They keep going for Kat's big earrings and they're always grabbing at the chicken fillets I have to wear."
|“||It's so lovely having the chance to work with a baby all the time. It's made me really broody. But it's definitely not going to be easy for Kat and Alfie. They've grieved for the death of their child. They thought they'd buried him, and now they've suddenly got him back. That's a massive thing to deal with.||”|
—Jessie Wallace explains Kat's emotions after receiving Tommy.
In an interview with Buzz, Richie said that although that Kat and Alfie have received Tommy back, the couple still have problems to face. He commented: "Kat and Alfie are happy to have Tommy back, but they still buried the baby they thought was their son. That destroyed them and their relationship. The cot-death storyline is just the start of what's going to happen to Kat and Alfie. I've also heard rumours about whether Alfie is really firing blanks. He had a fertility test in Spain. Could it be wrong?" Wallace and Richie have hinted that the plot could have a long lasting impact on Kat and Alfie. Shane Richie added: "While Alfie happily throws himself into being a dad to Tommy, it's Kat who's going to be finding things difficult."
Shortly after Kat is reunited with her baby, it was announced that Kat is to fall pregnant by Alfie, despite Alfie thinking he's infertile. Shortly after finding out she's pregnant, Kat will fall ill and is rushed to hospital and discovers that she has suffered a miscarriage. The Daily Star reports: "The pregnancy takes Kat and Alfie completely by surprise and neither of them know how they really feel about it," a source said. "Kat is understandably very nervous and anxious about having another baby. Her head is all over the place. But before she has a chance to get used to the idea she suffers a miscarriage. It is a cruel thing to happen to them after everything that they've already been through this year. And once again viewers will be in tears as they watch Kat come to terms with losing her baby." An EastEnders spokesperson added: "There is a little bit more heartache for Kat and Alfie as they try to rebuild their lives with Tommy."
An additional EastEnders insider also commented: "The fact that Kat gets pregnant at all is amazing. Alfie has believed that he was infertile after trying to have kids with his wife for ages with no luck. So when Kat finds out that she's expecting, it's devastating not least because it raises some big questions in Alfie's mind." The insider added to Inside Soap: "Who can blame Alfie for asking some questions here? He stood by Kat while she had his cousin's baby and through the misery of losing baby Tommy. It would be absolutely devastating for him to learn that all this tragedy has driven them apart again." STV added that after forgiving Kat for cheating on him with Michael, Alfie will find it hard to get over another betrayal.
In 2011, Kat has a one-night stand with Mark Garland as Alfie is showing no interest in her. An insider said: "The trouble is that while Alfie is busy playing that game, a delivery driver who calls at the Queen Vic makes a big play for Kat – and soon she's facing serious temptation." The insider added: "Kat is vulnerable, insecure and at odds with Alfie. It's exactly the sort of state that could see her do something very stupid indeed. Alfie has done serious damage to their marriage but Kat could destroy it completely." Another source added: "In accusing her of cheating on him, Alfie has undone years of good work in building up Kat's self esteem. No matter what he says now, she feels as though he still sees her as a woman of loose morals. He cooks up a hare-brained plan to keep Kat by treating her mean – and starts ignoring her, basically."
In an interview with All About Soap Richie revealed how Alfie reacts. He commented: "It's the last thing he expected to hear. He didn't see it coming. He's upset and angry, especially when Kat tries to explain how he made her feel when he accused her of sleeping with someone else when she got pregnant again. He obviously didn't mean the things he said then – he just said them in the heat of the moment, but those words have stuck with Kat." Asked whether Alfie appreciates Kat's honesty, he replied: "Not at all – he'd rather not know. Deep down, Alfie knows that Kat has done things in the past that maybe she shouldn't have, but he didn't know all the details. Now he knows Kat has been unfaithful, he has got to confront the fact. The jury is still out on that one," he explained. "I don't know, if I'm honest. They always seem to take two steps forward and then one step back... They do tend to come through these things, so who knows?"
In June 2012, it was announced that Kat would embark on a long-running affair with another Albert Square resident after becoming bored with the lack of attention at home. The identity of her lover was kept secret from both the cast and the crew; all scenes of Kat with her lover were filmed with an extra. Speaking of the storyline, Executive Producer Lorraine Newman said: "The consequences are not only great for Kat and Alfie, but also for each individual suspect. The audience will join the cast and crew guessing across the summer and autumn as we eliminate the suspects one at a time, leading to one almighty explosion." After the storyline was announced, five suspects were revealed as potential candidates: Ray Dixon (Chucky Venn), Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd), Max Branning (Jake Wood), Derek Branning (Jamie Foreman) and Jack Branning (Scott Maslen). In a poll on the website Digital Spy, Jack Branning was shown to be the favourite with 43.5% of the votes. Ray was eliminated when he walked in on Kat while she was on the phone to her lover.Michael was eliminated when Kat confessed to him that she was having an affair. With only the three Branning brothers left as suspects, it was revealed on 20 December that Kat's mystery lover was Derek.
Wallace has won multiple awards for her portrayal of Kat. At the National Television Awards, she was named "Most Popular Newcomer" in 2001 and "Most Popular Actress" in 2003. She also received "Most Popular Actress" nominations in 2002, 2004 and 2005. At The British Soap Awards, Wallace won "Best Newcomer" in 2001. The following year, EastEnders won "Best Single Episode" for the episode in which Zoe learns Kat is her mother. Wallace was additionally nominated for the "Best Actress", "Best Dramatic Performance" and "Hero of the Year" awards in 2002, and Zoe's maternity was nominated "Best Storyline". She was again nominated "Best Actress" from 2003 to 2006 consecutively, and shared "Best On-Screen Partnership" and "Best Exit" nominations with Richie in 2004 and 2006 respectively. She was further nominated in 2011 for 'Best Actress'. The Inside Soap Awards named Wallace "Best Newcomer" in 2001, Zoe's maternity "Best Storyline" in 2002, and Kat and Alfie "Best Couple" in 2004. A 2009 poll by Inside Soap magazine named Kat as the UK's favourite drama queen in a soap opera. Wallace was named "Best Soap Actress" at the 2003 TV Quick Awards. Following Kat's suicide attempt, Wallace received the 2002 Mental Health Media Award in the "Soaps and Continual Drama" category. Kat came third in a poll of the most sexiest women in the world in January 2002.
A 2010 poll by Just Eat to find the "most desired dinner companions" from EastEnders put Kat in second place. After the announcement of Jessie Wallace playing the role of Kat, Steve Hendry from the Sunday Mail referred to Kat as a "stunner". In February 2011, following Kat's return to EastEnders, Wallace was nominated for Best Actress at the 2011 All About Soap Bubble Awards for her portrayal of Kat, and was also nominated alongside Richie for Best Comeback. She won the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) Award for "TV Soap Personality" in March 2011. Also in February, the scenes revealing Kat as Zoe's mother has become "one of the most iconic moments in the history of EastEnders". In September 2011, Kat and Andy's wedding was voted as a "wedding from hell" by Yahoo!. After the announcement that Kat is to have a miscarriage, Tony Stewart from the Daily Mirror said that after the baby swap storyline, this is perhaps "too much agony for Kat to bear". An EastEnders source added that "It is a cruel thing to happen to them after everything that they’ve already been through this year".
In popular culture
The character of Kat Moon has been spoofed in the cartoon sketch show 2DTV, as well as the sketch show Bo' Selecta!, where she appears constantly paranoid about her "big fat saggy bingo wings". British rap group Fierce Girl have a song, called "What Makes a Girl Fierce", with a chorus containing the lyrics, "Kat Slater is our sister." The Kat and Alfie storyline is referred to in the multiple Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
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- Karl Matthews - Bandcamp
- Karl Matthews - Gary Hobbs/Kat Slater