Gemma, who starred as Kerry Skinner in 30 episodes of Eastenders in the early Noughties, has been missing since  Thursday.

Police were called to reports of a body found in the Regents Canal near Broadway Market, at about 2.40pm, yesterday.

A friend of Gemma told media: “We fear and hope for Gemma, and hope this has nothing to do with Gemma.”

Police says enquiries are underway to establish the identity of the deceased,

 “A post-mortem will be scheduled in due course. At this moment the death is being treated as unexplained,” a spokesman said.

Anyone with information should call police on 0207 275 4589.