|Portrayed by||Angela Wynter|
|First appearance||Episode 2588|
16 September 2003
|Last appearance||26 June 2017|
|Introduced by||Louise Berridge (2003)|
Sean O'Connor (2017)
Yolande Trueman (also Duke) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Angela Wynter from 16 September 2003 to 3 October 2008. The character made an unannounced guest appearance on 20 March 2017 and again on 26 June 2017.
Yolande arrives in Albert Square on 16 September 2003, as Patrick Trueman's (Rudolph Walker) holiday romance. They had met during Patrick's visit to his homeland of Trinidad, where the middle-aged couple enjoyed a steamy affair, much the contrary to Yolande's boring marriage to a strict, uptight, and religious Victor (Ben Thomas), whose traditional customs included viewing women as objects to bear and raise children.
Before long, Yolande realises that all Patrick wants is a fling, and prepares to leave the United Kingdom, but Patrick persuades her to stay after admitting he has fallen in love with her. Her husband arrives to take Yolande home, and gives a tempted Patrick £10,000 to allow him to do so. After refusing, Yolande catches Patrick with the money in his hand (he was about to return it), and she mistakes the situation, believing that he has accepted this payment, and leaves, taking the money with her. After Victor returns to Trinidad, Yolande returns to Walford, sharing the money with Patrick. They eventually settle down and marry in 2004. They run the bed and breakfast and foster a little girl, Katie (Parhys-Jai Cato). They also manage a local convenience store, the Minute Mart, which they buy as an expansion to their little empire.
In Early 2006, Yolande strikes up a feud with Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) when she starts to become involved in another Trueman business, Trueman's Motors. Their rivalry increases when Pat begins an affair with Patrick, but their Minute Mart employee Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) catches Pat and Patrick kissing and tells Yolande. This results in a brawl in The Queen Victoria pub. Yolande attempts to play Patrick at his own game. She goes to a nightclub intending to pick up a man and have an affair. She comes onto Kevin Wicks (Phil Daniels), he reciprocates, and the pair arrange to go back to his house for sex. However she has second thoughts and backs out. The next day, she confesses to Patrick that she almost had sex with another man, and, albeit reluctantly, gives Patrick another chance. Soon afterwards, in October 2006, Yolande then has a supposed drunken one-night stand with Aubrey Valentine (Joseph Marcell), one of Patrick's old friends. This results in Patrick throwing her out, but when they call Aubrey's bluff, he admits they did not have sex, and the couple reconcile.
In September 2008, Patrick accidentally turns off the chiller cabinet at the Minute Mart and then sells the unchilled food which gives a number of customers including Dot Branning (June Brown) food poisoning. The resulting complaints result in a visit from an inspector from the Minute Mart head office. He is so impressed with Yolande's efforts to clean up the shop that she is subsequently offered a job at the Minute Mart HQ in Birmingham. Yolande accepts with delight and busily prepares for the move, however Patrick is less keen, and when confronted, he indicates that he wants to stay in Walford. On 3 October 2008, Yolande leaves Albert Square for a new life in Birmingham. She surprises everyone at her leaving party by announcing that she is leaving alone. But as Patrick waves her off at the tube station, he tells her that once the house is sold, he would follow her to Birmingham. However Patrick does not reunite with Yolande, and on 19 May 2009 Patrick receives their divorce papers.
Yolande returns in March 2017 when she attends Denise Fox's (Diane Parish) disciplinary hearing at the Minute Mart HQ. She attempts to control the meeting to help Denise keep her job. An argument ensues when Harry Beckett (Mark Bagnall) tells Denise she needs to go on a training course. However, Denise refuses to go on the training course and quits her job and Yolande says that if anyone needs to go on a course, it should be Harry. In June 2017, Yolande visits Derek Harkinson (Ian Lavender) at the Minute Mart, informing him that he failed to declare a criminal record on his DBS and if he cannot explain it in a meeting, he will be removed from the back to work scheme. Yolande goes to see her former husband Patrick for his birthday, where they have a dance and remember old times. Yolande phones Derek to tell him that they have to let him go from the scheme and he has to leave the shop.
Yolande was introduced in 2003 as a love interest for Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker) with Angela Wynter being given the role. Yolande was apparently based on Wynter's deceased sister Merlene. Yolande has been described as assertive with a sassy attitude. Wynter has described the original character outline given to Yolande as "bubbly and positive". Discussing Yolande and Patrick's relationship, Wynter has said that Yolande tamed Patrick "with her charm and her toughness. Yolande's vulnerable, but she's principled. He has the same principles. To please her, he'll try not to stray too far away from those principles".
Following their screen marriage in 2004, the Truemans were involved in the BBC's "Taking Care" season, which covered issues "surrounding a different kind of childhood". As part of this, scriptwriters decided that the Truemans would foster a 14-year-old boy, JJ, following an encounter with him at their Bed and Breakfast. In 2007, executive producer Diederick Santer used Patrick and Yolande to cover a storyline about racism, that according to the producer, was inspired by the 2007 Celebrity Big Brother race row, sparked by the racist bullying of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty by UK celebrity Jade Goody. In the storyline, the characters Jay Brown and Sean Slater used racist phrases to the Truemans, and their reaction to the insults. Santer commented, "The Celebrity Big Brother race row kicked off as I took charge of my first scripts. I thought it was fascinating because it showed there was a real need for a debate about race in Britain. [Big Brother] didn’t do it particularly well, so I thought it could be something EastEnders should do. Our stuff won’t be overly moralistic or preachy but it will tackle this serious issue head on."
On 29 June 2008, it was announced that Wynter would leave EastEnders later in the year, after the show's producers claimed to have "run out of storyline ideas" for her character. Wynter said of the decision: "I’m not unhappy to leave EastEnders because life is about changes and new beginnings, but I am unhappy about the producers reasoning in how they came to their decision because you can always write stories for people to act" She stated that her character would not be killed off, and her hope that Rudolph Walker as her husband Patrick Trueman would not reignite his romance with Pat Butcher after her departure, as; "Patrick and Yolande’s marriage is the only representation of a black union on British TV, which I am very proud to have played." Wynter also suggested that the decision to write out her character may have come because the soap was currently exceeding its 'quota' for black and Asian characters, surmising: "If this is true, I am not hurt because I accept that fact that I live in Britain and it is not ‘our’ TV station where we can be over-weighted with black or Asian actors and have guest appearances from Caucasian actors – because ‘we’ are the guest".
The Voice claimed that Yolande "was an instant hit with viewers, especially within the African-Caribbean community" and hailed Yolande and Patrick as "most loved black TV couple."
- Jasmine Dotiwala (29 June 2008). "EastEnders actress says goodbye to Albert Square". The Voice. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- "Charlie G Hawkins". BBC Online. Archived from the original on 15 August 2004. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
- "Taking Care with EastEnders". BBC News. 20 February 2004. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- "'Big Brother' race row influenced Walford racism plot". Digital Spy. 14 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-20.