EastEnders horror as Ian Beale killed off-screen after Adam Woodyatt hints at exit?

EastEnders: Ian Beale cries at the station as he leaves Walford

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EastEnders stalwart Ian was last seen over a year ago when he left Albert Square after Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) tried to kill him as revenge for the death of her son Denny Watts (Bleu Landau). BBC bosses revealed some time ago Adam was taking an extended break from the soap, but following some recent teasers from the actor, it seems Ian may be written out of EastEnders for good. The move would be a huge one, with Ian having been a part of the soap since its beginning in 1985.

Adam recently said he wouldn’t be back on the screen as Ian until as least 2022 due to current commitments and family events.

“I’m committed to touring with Looking Good Dead until the end of October,” he explained.

“I’m then going to America because my daughter is getting married.

“Then hopefully we’re going to pick the tour up and do some of the venues that were originally planned but that we hadn’t managed to get to.”

Speaking to Metro, he added: “That’s likely to be January to April. And EastEnders might not want me back.

“I won’t be going back until this time next year at the absolute earliest.”

The actor, 53, seems uncertain of his own return to the soap, and it’s the first time he has hinted explicitly that Ian might be gone for good.

Ian was in the soap’s very first episode, and along with Sharon, is one of the only characters from that period remaining.

If the character doesn’t return, Ian is too big a character for writers to simply leave the story untold.

This means killing Ian off would make the most sense. Ian’s children, Peter Beale (played by Dayle Hudson) and Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) are still in the soap, along with Ian’s mother Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth).

If his character died, the death would have a big impact on Square, even if it happened off-screen.

Adam continued: “We could get a new boss in who goes: ‘Beale’s gone, we don’t need him any more’.”

He added: “Even if I actually left, I’d still be part of the fabric. Ian will always be associated with the Square.

“People still talk about Den and Angie, and they haven’t been on the programme in 32 years, so I think I will always be there in people’s minds.”

Ian left Walford in a desperate state after he found out his long-term friend Sharon had been poisoning him.

Her son Denny died as a result of Ian’s actions while they attended a boat party in early 2020.

Heartbroken and out for revenge, Sharon plotted to kill Ian by marrying him and poisoning his food.

When Ian found out, he initially wanted to allow the poison to kill him before Sharon, who’d had a change of heart, forced him to be sick to get rid of the toxins.

Ian then left the square, and it seems nobody has heard from him since.

Adam is playing Tom in the theatre tour of Looking Good Dead.

Speaking on The One Show about pandemic-related delays back in May, he told Alex Jones: “I was supposed to start it in January, then it was April, then it was June, finally we are starting in July, in Leicester, before going all around the country, all the way up until the end of October.

“The tour at the moment runs until the end of October and my daughter’s then getting married in America so I’m off there to do that.

“There’s a possibility – and I really hope that does happen – the tour carries on will run until the early part of next year to pick up the dates we’ve had to postpone because of the lockdown.”

EastEnders continues on Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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