Sixteen years after she was last seen in Walford, the character will be making a permanent comeback under plans to overhaul the BBC soap.
The announcement was teased on Twitter in the lead-up to it, but many fans believed this would reveal news Kat and Alfie Moon (Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie) would be returning to Albert Square.
But following the surprise reveal, Tamzin said in a statement: “When I got the call from John Yorke [the soap’s creative director] asking if I would consider coming back to ‘EastEnders’, it was something I just couldn’t refuse.
“John created Mel’s most memorable storylines so it is an honour that he has asked me to return.
″‘EastEnders’ is in my DNA and I always knew deep down that someday I would revisit Mel; she is a strong independent woman with lots more stories to tell. To be stepping back into Mel’s shoes nearly 20 years after I first started feels just perfect.”
John Yorke added: “Tamzin is one of ‘EastEnders’ biggest stars, so it’s particularly exciting to welcome her back to Walford for an incredible storyline – one that will awaken a lot of old ghosts, some great memories, and a whole new series of adventures too.
“We’re thrilled and flattered to have Tamzin back and we can’t wait to reveal just where she’s been, and just who Melanie Owen is now”.
During her previous stint four-year on the show, Tamzin was involved in some huge storylines, including the ‘Who Shot Phil?’ whodunnit?, her love affair and subsequent marriage with Steve Owen, and her ill-fated relationship with Ian Beale.
Last seen in April 2002, Mel fled Walford after her husband Steve (Martin Kemp) was killed in a car crash at the hands of Phil Mitchell.
Steve’s web of deceit and lies were soon uncovered, and Mel found herself facing a long stretch in prison as she was unknowingly implicated his drug dealing.
BBC Mel with then-husband Steve Owen
Mel took desperate measures and she fled the country, losing Phil the small matter of her £30,000 bail money in the process, so how will he react to her return?
However, fans will have to wait to find out what brings her back to Walford, when she reappears in the New Year.
Since leaving ‘EastEnders’, Tamzin has gone on to star in various TV and theatre roles including ‘Out Of Control’, ‘Red Cap’, ‘New Tricks’ and ‘Sweet Charity’.
Earlier this year, she admitted she was open to the idea of reprising her role as Mel, telling The Sun: “It’s a weird myth that I’m turning them down. I’d definitely think about it but I’ve never been asked. It’s a weird myth that I’m turning them down. I’d definitely think about it but I’ve never been asked.”
News of her character’s return follows the departure of another of Ian Beale’s wives, as bosses confirmed Jane Beale has left the show for good after being driven out of town by Max Branning.
Catch up on all the latest soap news and spoilers here.
EastEnders: Where Are They Now?