EASTENDERS star Jessie Wallace was arrested for kneeing a police officer in the groin during an F-word rant in a drunken bust-up outside a nightclub.
She was led away in handcuffs. One onlooker said of her booze-fuelled meltdown at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk: “It was truly shocking behaviour. She was out of control. It was worse than anything Kat Slater has done.”
The foul-mouthed actress, 50, who is only 5ft 1in, also kneed the officer in the goolies during “five minutes of carnage” early on Sunday.
He was left doubled up in pain before boozed Wallace, who plays gobby Kat Slater in the BBC soap, was bundled into a police van.
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It is believed she initially tried to play down the incident — the latest to plague her career — and EastEnders bosses were only informed when The Sun broke the news.
An onlooker said: “It was truly shocking behaviour. She was out of control. It was worse than anything Kat Slater has done.
“She was a one-woman rampage. It was five minutes of carnage. The police dealt with it very well.”
Wallace had been at a Madness gig on Saturday in Thetford Forest, Suffolk, posing with fans for snaps.
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She later headed to the Flex in Bury St Edmunds, a nightclub renowned for two-for-one deals on Hooch, VKs and cocktail fishbowls.
But at around 2am a man believed to be Wallace’s new mystery lover was seen arguing with police officers outside.
Wallace then launched into a foul-mouthed tirade before being cuffed for public disorder. As stunned revellers looked on, she persuaded an officer to release her — and all hell broke loose.
A witness said: “The police were trying to move people on.
“She told them to f*** off. She was irate and started shouting. One officer said, ‘If you swear again, we will arrest you’. She said, ‘f*** off you fat c***’. She was very drunk. An officer then put cuffs on and told her she was being arrested for a section five public order offence. She looked upset and kept saying sorry.
“She was pleading with them to let her go. One cop said if they let her go she needs to get in a taxi and go home. As soon as they took the handcuffs off she said, ‘f*** off you c***’. It was vile behaviour.
“They told her they’d given her a warning so started to put the handcuffs on and arrest her again. One tried to put them on and she knees him in the b******s. He dropped to his knees.
“He was in so much pain, the poor guy. He screamed out. Other cops jumped in. They got her in the van and a female officer searched her.”
Wallace was later released from custody after accepting a conditional caution for assaulting a police officer and drunk and disorderly behaviour. Concerned EastEnders executives have since been holding a string of meetings as they vowed to “get to the bottom of things”.
Insiders say the actress had first attempted to downplay what had gone on, and did not tell bosses of her arrest or caution before The Sun broke the news.
A source said: “She clearly hoped this wouldn’t come out and didn’t want the production team to know about it, which may explain why she was so quick to accept the conditional caution and avoid a public court hearing. At first she played down the claims, but pictures and videos as well as onlookers tell a much more serious tale and one that the BBC are very concerned by. They’re considering all options.”
Wallace was pictured barefoot and bleary-eyed at the British Soap Awards this month.
In 2020 her character Kat was written out of the script for two months so the actress could “sort herself out” while she served a suspension for allegedly boozing on set. In 2018 she was booted out of the British Soap Awards before it started for being “too drunk”.
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Suffolk Police said: “A 50-year-old woman was arrested early on Sunday morning in St Andrew’s Street, Bury St Edmunds, on suspicion of assaulting a police officer/drunk and disorderly conduct and was released without charge after receiving a conditional caution.”
The BBC have been approached for comment.
ROW TO TRIGGER CLOSING CREDITS
By Simon Boyle, Executive Showbiz Editor
METHOD acting may be lauded in Hollywood, but it’s hard to justify outside a market town nightclub.
And this new low in Jessie Wallace’s chequered history feels like it could prove the final curtain call for her soap career.
Or at least it should do. Jessie may be a colourful character, as well as a talented actress, but her personal life now makes EastEnders’ brassy Kat Slater look wholesome — and risks serious harm to the show’s prime time brand.
She’s been repeatedly suspended in her 22-year association with Albert Square, with drink and drug problems, arrests and public embarrassments on her rap sheet.
Jessie may be battling demons, but assaulting police officers and wasting their over-stretched resources leaves little room for forgiveness. Onlookers make it clear this poor copper made every effort to avoid escalating this situation before taking a barrage of abuse and a well-aimed knee to the knackers.
There should be no place for a thug on BBC1’s flagship drama. It’s not as if Enders chiefs don’t have enough problems, with ratings in free fall, veterans departing and pressure on budgets.
Execs need top pros turning out mesmerising performances, not boozed-up prima donnas imitating the soap outside provincial nightspots.
This is one storyline that has clearly run its course.