The former child star, a Broadway and West End veteran, will join the show's cast as Carmel Kazemi, the pushy mother of market store holder Kush Kazemi, played by Davood Ghadami.

Announcing the news, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, EastEnders' executive producer, praises Langford as a "British institution" and an "old-school hard-graft actress gifted at both comedy and serious drama".

The actress adds, "I'm so thrilled and delighted to be part of EastEnders. I'm a great fan of the show... To be part of this family is an absolute privilege."

Langford's last big TV role came in 1986, when she was cast as Doctor Who's assistant Melanie Bush, opposite Sylvester MCCoy as the Time Lord.