Why did Ian Beale leave EastEnders and is he coming back?

13 December 2022, 09:11

Ian Beale left EastEnders in 2021
Ian Beale left EastEnders in 2021. Picture: BBC/Instagram

Is Ian Beale coming back to EastEnders and how did he leave?

Adam Woodyatt has returned to EastEnders as Ian Beale this week.

Two years after he left the soap, the 54-year-old made a surprise cameo for Dot Cotton’s funeral.

He was seen standing outside the service and said ‘goodbye’ before taking a call from a mystery person and saying: “Hi love. Yes, I’m coming home.”

But why did Ian Beale leave and is he returning for good? Here’s what we know…

Adam Woodyatt made a special appearance on EastEnders
Adam Woodyatt made a special appearance on EastEnders. Picture: BBC

Why did Ian Beale leave EastEnders?

Ian Beale was forced to leave Walford in January 2021 after discovering his wife was trying to kill him.

He’d been feeling unwell and it was later revealed Sharon was poisoning her to get revenge on Ian.

She found out Ian had killed her son Denny (Bleu Landau) and asked her husband Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) to kill him.

Luckily, Ian managed to escape and hasn’t been seen in Walford since.

Adam Woodyatt left EastEnders last year
Adam Woodyatt left EastEnders last year. Picture: Instagram

Is Ian Beale coming back to EastEnders?

It has been reported Adam Woodyatt is set to return to EastEnders permanently.

The 53-year-old is the longest-running cast member on the soap, having joined in 1985.

Insiders told The Sun: “Ian’s comeback storyline is in the works. Fans of the show don’t know who Ian was talking to yet but it won’t be long until all is revealed.

“While the plotline is top secret, it’s a given that viewers will not be disappointed by what they see when Ian does return.”

Adam Woodyatt teases EastEnders return date

Chris Clenshaw, the soap’s executive producer, said it was vital Ian had to return for Dot’s funeral, as he said: “I called Adam and told him our plans and I said, ‘Ian has to be there’. He agreed. It was as simple as that.

“Adam wanted to be there for June [Brown] and he knew that Ian should be there for Dot.”

Following his exit from EastEnders, Adam went on to appear on I’m A Celebrity and is currently playing Alfred Doolittle in a stage production of My Fair Lady, which ends its run in Manchester on April 1.

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