Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie have become so synonymous with their EastEnders characters Kat and Alfie, that it's difficult to sit across from them and see anyone but one of soaps best loved couples. That we did though when we got to meet the pair recently who are over in Ireland at the moment rehearsing their upcoming play in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, The Perfect Murder.
While opening night for that play is in February, it won't be long after that until they are back on our island again. "As soon as we finish A Perfect Murder, we are straight out here for four months, and we can't wait, " Shane Richie told us.
In case you haven't heard, Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie are leaving EastEnders for their own show which will be set in Ireland, although they were quick to add that it's not a spin-off; "It's a six-part drama," Jessie clarified, with Shane adding that they initially were calling it a spin-off too but producers have been quick to correct them.
Turns out, this show is really not what fans are expecting it to be at all, with Shane saying; "It's got Kat and Alfie, but other than that it's got nothing to do with EastEnders." (Still sounds like a spin-off to us.)
We were assured however that it wouldn't go down the route EastEnders did back in the nineties when the Fowlers came to Ireland and every stereotype of the country was used - there were practically dancing leprechauns.
"I'm from a big Irish family, and even I went 'oh feck off'," Richie said of that episode. However he went on to say that EastEnders' current producer Dominic Treadwell Collins has a lot of family from Cork and would have no interest in portraying Ireland in a negative light.
So what do we know of this new 'drama', as they're calling it? Well it's got an Irish cast and crew, the pair told us, and it kicks off in a rural village where Kat and Alfie find themselves embroiled in a story that's already going on.
"When I read the first script, I thought, Kat and Alfie shouldn't be there, Shane said." It was uncomfortable to read, yet riveting and dark and sinister, but also had the warmth and charm that Kat and Alfie bring."
No word on the location yet, but both described it as 'beautiful' and 'stunning', while Jessie added that they will be in Dublin for some of the filming too.
They are currently back in EastEnders setting up the storyline that will bring them to Ireland, with Kat learning recently that she has a long-lost son that lives here, while Alfie's brain tumour story will also play out here.
Yes, they sound very soap-like storylines but we will give them the benefit of the doubt that it will transition into a drama well.
"The idea is, God willing, that if it does well, then we'll set up here permanently," Shane said.
So this isn't just some one-off 'EastEnders goes to Ireland' adventure, it's a whole different kettle of fish really, but with an Irish cast and crew all getting work from it, here's hoping we will have Kat and Alfie over here for many years to come.
In the meantime, you can catch them in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre for A Perfect Murder where they play two people who are very different to Kat and Alfie, they told us; "They're a loveless, childless couple and instead of getting divorced, one of them decides they're going to commit the perfect murder."
"It's really scary, and very jumpy, but then in the next breath it's funny," Jessie added.
If you fancy checking them out in it, A Perfect Murder runs from Monday 15th February to Saturday 20th February, you can get your tickets here.