Patsy Palmer is making a return to Walford to reprise her much-loved character Bianca Jackson, the BBC has confirmed.

The fiery redhead has not appeared in Eastenders since a special in 2002, but will be back on our screens in early 2008.

Bianca will return with her son by former husband Ricky Butcher, who was played by Sid Owen throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, but is apparently at a particularly low ebb.

As well as Liam, her return to Albert Square will also see the introduction of what the BBC calls a "gaggle of other kids by different men" to the show.

She will turn to grandmother Pat Butcher in her time of crisis – as many before her have often done – and seek to put her life back on track.

Speaking about her return to the popular soap, 35-year-old Palmer said she was "really excited about rejoining the cast and working with old friends again".

"I can't wait to explore what Bianca has been doing with her life and seeing what she is going to get up to next."

The actress will begin filming next January and her ditzy character's latest comeback – she briefly re-emerged for the two-part EastEnders: Ricky and Bianca in 2002 after a three-year hiatus – is scheduled to be screened next March.

Diederick Santer, EastEnders' executive producer, said: "I'm delighted to welcome Patsy Palmer home to EastEnders.

"Bianca is one of the most popular characters the show has ever had. Millions grew up with her and like the audience I can't wait to see her back in the show. I'm really looking forward to the next chapter in her story."

Palmer made her name as an actress in the teenage BBC series Grange Hill and since her 1999 exit from EastEnders has appeared on the West End in Tell Me On A Sunday and Steppin' Out and the BBC drama McCready and Daughter among others.

29/10/2007 12:00:54