A Place In The Sun’s Lucy Alexander has praised her daughter Kitty Castledine for landing a role in EastEnders.
On Monday (6 November), it was confirmed that Kitty, 21, would be heading to Albert Square to portray the daughter of Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), Penny.
Following the news, the actor’s famous mother, Lucy, 53, took to social media to deliver the good news to her fans.
Initially, she reposted a picture of Kitty alongside Jacqueline Jossa – who will return as Lauren Branning on the show – to her Instagram feed and told her 63,900 followers: “So as a family we have had to keep this a secret for a while (cue the music).
“But now the press release is out… Congratulations @kittycastledine @bbceastenders on your role as Penny Branning in the show. Proud of you my girl.”
The former Homes Under The Hammer star also included a series of hashtags including “#proudmum” and “#followyourdreams”.
Lucy has also reposted the image to her Instagram stories, writing: “Omg congratulations… my girl @kittycastledine in Eastenders. I’m so proud of you”.
On X, the Bang on Budget co-presenter told her 39,100 followers: “It’s been quite a week in my household… Well done my girl #produmum @kittycastledine @bbceastenders”.(sic)
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Following the news, fans have come out in their droves to praise both Kitty herself, and the BBC soap for its inclusive casting choice.
One X user said: “Some great disability inclusion of a disables actress portraying a disabled character. Bravo @bbceastenders as a disabled person and screenwriter I’m impressed with your step forward in inclusion and representation.”(sic)
A second commented: “You might need to visit the set, just to make sure she’s settling in right…. of course! Lol.”
“You and Stewart must rightly be very proud of them, what with Leo as well,” replied a third.
The latter is a reference to Lucy’s husband and former England international, Stewart Castledine, and their son Leo, who currently plays as a midfielder for Chelsea’s Under 21 squad.
On Instagram, Eamonn Holmes joked: “Kitty, brilliant! But could (sic) you get your mum a role as Barbora Windsor’s long lost younger sister?”(sic)
Vanessa Feltz said: “Thrilled for you all. Fabulous news.”
EastEnders announced Kitty’s casting and explained more about the character, which was originally portrayed by Mia McKenna-Bruce.
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Regarding Penny’s recasting, a press release read: “Having always had a fractured relationship with her dad, Jack, Penny has been living in France with her mum, Selina.
“Now she is on her way to Albert Square, alongside her cousin Lauren, but just what brings the two back to Walford?”
The soap will be Kitty’s first televised role after she graduated from the London Academy of Music and Drama earlier this year.
Speaking about working on EastEnders, the 21-year-old said: “I didn’t expect to start my EastEnders journey so soon out of drama school – I can’t actually believe it!
“My whole family are EastEnders fans, and I remember sitting on my Nanny Kay’s lap to tune in, and now they get to watch me in Albert Square.”
The rising star also said that the inclusion of disabled talent on screen is “so important” to her as a wheelchair user.
“I’m thrilled to be playing a character as feisty and cool as Penny. She’s thrown into the middle of the drama straight away, and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to.”
In an interview with Enable Magazine, Kitty revealed that she had been diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis at seven years old.
The neurological disorder occurs when a section of the spinal cord is inflamed, and it caused Kitty to be paralysed from the waist downwards.
“I just got on with it. I think had I been older, it would have been so much harder. I learnt to adapt to my surroundings and challenges,” the actor explained while recounting her diagnosis.
“It was hard but I had positivity around me, and I always tried to make the best of a bad situation and feel I’ve come out stronger as a person. I worked so hard with all my physios to practice wheelchair skills and transfers.”
As per Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Transverse Myelitis include lower back pain, abnormal sensations such as tingling, and potential bladder and bowel problems.
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