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Spotted leaving the BBC studios this week, the former EastEnders star was looking very much an up-town girl. She returns to her old stomping ground, however, for her latest drama in which she plays legendary music hall songstress Marie Lloyd
Photo: © PA
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Jessie admits to being very taken with her latest character. "Marie Lloyd was outgoing, outrageous, incredibly successful, and a strong and brave woman," she explains. "She did things that other women of her era wouldn't have dreamt of doing. She was her own woman; she spoke up against inequality and said what she thought"
Photo: © bbcpictures.com

East End girl Jessie looking chic in the city

9 MAY 2007

With her effortlessly elegant black outfit and subtle, amber-hued accessories, former EastEnders actress Jessie Wallace is unrecognisable from her much-loved Albert Square alter-ego. During her stint as the indomitable, lycra-clad barmaid Kat Slater, Jessie often showed off a penchant for bold lipstick, figure-hugging clothes and towering heels both on and off-screen. The 35-year-old mum-of-one has evidently decided to leave those head-turning ensembles in the Queen Vic, however, embracing instead a decidedly more chic style approach.

Leaving the BBC studios in London on Tuesday, Jessie showed she's come a long way since she bid farewell to Albert Square. With a classic cafe-au-lait-coloured leather jacket slung over her arm and sporting co-ordinating bronze bangles, the actress embodied stylish summer-in-the-city dressing. And she'd taken equal care in choosing her accessories, accenting a flattering black top and palazzo pants with an understated wooden-handled bag and sunglasses which looked straight out of Tom Ford's achingly-hip new collection.

Despite having shed her EastEnders look, the actress is still very much linked to the East End scene, having just finished portraying one of its former luminaries. She plays the title role in BBC bio-pic Miss Marie Lloyd: The Queen Of The Music Hall, bringing to life the legendary Hoxton-born singer who entertained Victorian and Edwardian audiences with her low-cut blouses, suggestive winks and double entendres.

"I love, love, love Marie Lloyd," she says. "She was fun-loving, down to earth. Very open and generous. She was a superstar - the Madonna of her day."

Miss Marie Lloyd: The Queen Of The Music Hall screens on Wednesday May 9 on BBC4.

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