Actress recently returned as Stacey Branning

Lacey Turner pursued some unusual opportunities when she left EastEnders in 2010.

The young actress, who was just 16 when she first joined the soap as Stacey Branning in 2004, decided to try her hand at a series of very low-key jobs.

‘I just wanted to do something normal,’ says Lacey, 26.

‘I started on EastEnders when I was so young that I hadn’t got to do any of the things my friends had. So when I left I thought: “I’m going to go and do those things now.”

‘I worked as a painter and decorator – that was quite hard, so I wouldn’t do that again. And I worked in an office, but had no idea about admin.

‘Then I worked in a clothes shop – Cream in Stanmore, London – which I loved.

‘I’d been going there my whole life, so when they said they were a bit stuck for staff one day I said I’d help out.

‘I had a Saturday job and I was quite good at it.’

Lacey, who returned to Albert Square in February, managed not to be recognised for a surprising amount of time during her alternative career.

‘I tried not to talk because that gave the game away,’ the London-born star tells TV Magazine.

‘I did an Irish accent, but it was awful. I thought: “I’d better go back to acting!”‘

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Anna Francis