Louisa Lytton was "shocked" when she was asked to return to 'EastEnders'.

Louisa Lytton

Louisa Lytton

The 29-year-old actress will reprise her role as Ruby Allen in the BBC One soap later this year after 12 years away from Albert Square, and she couldn't believe it when executive consultant John Yorke approached her about heading back to Walford.

She said: "I haven't been in the show for 12 years, so it was a bit shock.

"I got a phone call from John Yorke asking if I would like to come back, which was a great call to get - and obviously I said yes."

The former 'The Bill' actress found it "really surreal" being backstage at 'EastEnders' after a 12-year break, and didn't feel as though she'd been away from the programme.

She said: "It was really surreal, because I felt like I came into work and time had not passed.

"I saw the same people on the reception desk and at the security gate and all the cast and the costume and make-up teams. So many of the same faces, that it almost made me feel like I hadn't left."

Ruby was best friends with Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) but the two characters fell out shortly before she departed Walford, but Louisa loved teaming up with the 30-year-old actress again.

She added to Inside Soap magazine: "It's so funny - when Lacy and I met again, it was like we just saw each other yesterday.

"Hopefully that shows on screen, too. We get on so well and it's so easy for us to work together because of that.

"So it was nice to just come to work and feel really comfortable with someone and catch up on and off screen."

Louisa recently admitted she cannot wait to get stuck into some "brilliantly challenging storylines" upon her return.

She said: "'EastEnders' was my first acting job out of drama school and opened so many doors for me. It's wonderful to be given the opportunity to come back and explore my character and I'm excited to see what's in store for Ruby.

"We last saw her twelve years ago as a young girl and now she is returning as a woman with scope for major change and some brilliantly challenging storylines."