EastEnders Sharon defends return to the show

EastEnders characters Sharon and Phil
Sharon comes back to Albert Square in her wedding dress

Actress Letitia Dean has defended EastEnders' decision to bring her character back into the BBC soap.

The 44-year-old actress's character Sharon Rickman last appeared in EastEnders in 2006.

Critics say her return signals show bosses are short on ideas.

The actress said: "I think with any sort of ongoing drama like EastEnders you need old blood, new blood, it just needs a balance."

Walford's original princess returns to Albert Square in desperate need of Phil Mitchell's (Steve McFadden) help.

"She's about to get married and realises last minute it's the wrong thing to do," she added.

"She needs Phil who's always helped her out of a crisis, so that's where she heads."

Letitia Dean first appeared in the show in 1985.

This will be the third time that the actress has left and then returned to the BBC One show.

Her co-star Steve McFadden said: "You know I went and came back. And I know that when me, Ross (Kemp) and Barbara (Windsor) came back it sort of invigorated the show."

Sharon returns to EastEnders the week starting 13 August.

McFadden added: "What Letitia is doing is bringing back some history and you can't buy that. It takes years to build that up."