EastEnders cast: New, leaving and returning characters | The Sun

SUMMER has arrived in Albert Square and brought its share of fresh drama.

And with all the turmoil that life in Walford entails, here's your guide to all the comings and goings in EastEnders.

Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin) – leaving

More than three years after her departure from the BBC One program, Lisa Fowler came back with a vengeance and her granddaughter Peggy Mitchell Jr.

Lucy Benjamin reprised her role on Monday, July 10, 2023, and the schemer has been trying to play tricks on Keanu Taylor as payback for his poor treatment of her daughter Louise.

But the actress is only due to appear for a guest stint as her on-screen alter ego struggles with a gambling addiction.

Will she leave for Portugal without letting Keanu keep his daughter Peggy?

Lucy Benjamin made her debut as Lisa Fowler in 1998 and left the show as a regular character in 2003.

She has since made several guest appearances in 2010, 2017 and from 2019 to 2020.

Yolande Trueman (Angela Wynter) – returning

Actress Angela Wynter has agreed to return to EastEnders as Patrick Trueman's ex-wife Yolande later this summer.

The Walford legend left earlier this year to reunite with his old flame after their split in 2008.

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But he recently came back alone – is he keeping secrets about Yolande?

Speaking about her return, Angela said: "Yolande is back in the Square! I have been really looking forward to playing her again and have had a beautiful time on set so far. I can’t thank the cast and crew enough for the warm welcome back!"

Soap producer Chris Clenshaw added: "I’m thrilled to welcome the immensely talented Angela back to the role of Yolande Trueman."

"Although we haven’t seen Yolande for some years, her departure from the Square and the breakdown of her marriage to Walford’s living legend, Patrick, left some unfinished business between the pair.

"We, therefore, thought it was important to explore a reunion between the two. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her back!"

Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) – returning

A heartbroken Shirley Carter left Walford after her son Mick supposedly vanished and died at sea on Christmas Day 2022.

The fan favourite walked out with Lady Di the dog to stay with her daughter Carly Wicks, which led to her reconnecting with her rapist son Dean to Linda Carter's horror.

Actress Linda Henry is taking an extended break from filming but the BBC confirmed her exit isn't final.

When will she return?

And how will she react to the many changes in The Vic?

Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) – returning

The youngest of the Mitchell siblings returned to Walford in explosive scenes in April, 2022, six years after she was last seen (portrayed by Danniella Westbrook) during her mother Peggy's funeral.

Sam shook things up as soon as she returned, even going head to head with her long-term foe Sharon Watts.

She got very close to a fresh start in Germany with Ricky Butcher but eventually stayed behind to support her son Ricky Branning cope with the idea of fatherhood.

But earlier in 2023, Sam got the offer of a lifetime from another former fiancé, Don.

The latter asked her to be at the reigns of a business in Spain and, realising the money could help Ricky Jr. with the arrival of his baby, Sam decided to leave Walford.

Recent reports revealed that Sam's exit isn't permanent and she could make a comeback in upcoming months.

How will it play out?

Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe) – returned

Soap bosses announced that Elaine Peacock will be returning to the Square but she isn't played by the actress BBC One viewers have been accustomed to see on their screens.

Calendar Girls and The Brittas Empire star Harriet Thorpe took over the role of Elaine from Swiss actress Maria Friedman.

Elaine, "a powerhouse of a land-lady who knows just how to have fun" as she was described by soap producer Chris Clenshaw, is helping out her vulnerable daughter Linda in The Vic.

Her return also marked the arrival of three new faces.

George Knight (Colin Salmon) – joined

Elaine was last seen in Albert Square in 2017 and Linda last saw her mother when she was working behind her bar during the festive period in 2021.

In the time that has gone by, Elaine has managed to find herself a beau in the form of newcomer George Knight.

James Bond star Colin Salmon joined the EastEnders line-up as the new Vic resident, described as "a charming rogue and an old-school gent who dotes on his two daughters" by Chris Clenshaw.

He arrived with his two adult daughters in tow.

Gina Knight (Francesca Henry) – joined

Gina is George's oldest daughter and moved into The Queen Vic pub alongside her father, her sister and Elaine Peacock.

Viewers were warned that she may ruffle a few feathers upon her arrival as Chris Clenshaw described Gina as "feisty, determined and demanding."

2.0 Lucy actress Francesca Henry has been chosen to portray the character and is overjoyed to be part of the EastEnders line-up.

"I wish I could tell younger me that one day I would be joining the show that I watched religiously every night with my Grandma", she said in a statement.

"It’s very surreal and a true privilege to be trusted to bring Gina to the Square, and to be a part of such an exciting, tight-knit new family."


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Anna Knight (Molly Rainford) – joined

Strictly runner-up Molly Rainford joined the BBC soap as "fun, loveable, and big-hearted", Anna Knight.

Much like her older sister, however, viewers have been told not to underestimate her.

The singer shared her enthusiasm in a statement, claiming: "I’m SUPER excited to be joining the cast of EastEnders."

"It’s such an iconic show which myself and my family love, so it’s an honour to bring the character Anna Knight to life who is set to stir up drama upon her arrival."

Since her arrival, she was seen slowly settling in to life in the Square and finding out a huge family secret.

Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) – returning

More than two decades passed before the truth about Cindy Beale's supposed death was uncovered.

In a shocking twist, the London-based soap revealed that the troublemaker had never really died in prison while giving birth to her daughter Cindy Jr.

She, instead, took on a new identity to escape her former cellmate.

Cindy took on the name Rose and tied the knot with George Knight before giving him two daughters… and walking out on them abruptly as her oldest daughter Lucy was murdered in Walford.

Since then, she's been living a quiet life in the south of France, unbeknownst to anybody in the Square.

George Knight recently discovered that Rose was never real but has no clue who she really is or about her true connection to the Square.

Actress Michelle Collins reprised her role as Cindy found out her former cellmate had passed and it was finally safe for her to go back to the Square.

But she isn't alone.

Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) – returning

During her time in France, Cindy surprisingly reconnected with her former husband Ian Beale, who she had previously tried to kill.

The businessman left Walford under a cloud in January, 2021, after his ex-wife Sharon Watts tried to poison him for his involvement in her son Dennis' death.

Ian was last seen in the Square in late 2022, watching Dot Cotton's funeral from afar.

In more recent scenes, he suffered a horrific heart attack after an argument with Cindy over their potential return to Albert Square.

Soap boss Chris Clenshaw confirmed Ian will be making his way back home alongside Cindy.

But what will convince him to come back?

Peter Beale (Thomas Law) – returning

Soap viewers were shocked when Ian and Cindy Beale were seen living in the south of France with their son, Peter, who was eventually told the truth about his mother's "death."

While his reaction to the family secret remains a mystery, his return to Walford has been confirmed.

Peter Beale will come back to the Square with his parents later in the year according to soap boss Chris Clenshaw.

But the character won't be played by Dayle Hudson, who was the latest actor to have portrayed him.

Thomas Law surprisingly reprised the role that made him a star between 2006 and 2010.

What's in store for him?

Finlay Baker (Ashley Byam) – left

Avery Baker rocked up with both of his sons, Finlay and Felix, in 2022.

But after a year in Albert Square, Finlay was forced to move on and start afresh, claiming he had a huge work opportunity in Dublin.

Viewers know, however, that Finlay was blackmailed into leaving by Ravi Gulati and Suki Panesar.

It all began when the brakes on his car were tampered with and he believed somebody was trying to harm him.

Once he found Vinny Panesar's necklace under the vehicle, he thought the powerful family were after him and Ravi intimidated him into silence.

He soon put two and two together and realised that Vinny was actually trying to get to Eve Unwin, who had an affair with Suki.

Determined to keep her illicit romance under wraps, Suki agreed to pay Finlay a large sum of money if he left Walford – but he vowed to come back if anything happened to his brother Felix.

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Could he return?

EastEnders airs from Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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