Paul Nicholas joins EastEnders to play Kathy Beale’s husband Gavin

The former Just Good Friends star is to make his Walford debut later this year

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Paul Nicholas is to play the estranged husband of Kathy Beale on EastEnders.

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Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) made a fleeting reappearance during the BBC1 soap’s 30th anniversary in February, but when she returns full time this autumn, she’ll be accompanied by Gavin Sullivan, played by Nicholas. But why has Kathy stayed away so long? And why has Gavin been kept in the dark?

“We are all thrilled that Paul has agreed to join our cast to play Gavin,” said executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins. “So many British television viewers have grown up with Paul Nicholas so it’s brilliant to have him back on our screens, playing a major part in Kathy’s explosive return, while also holding the key to many more of the Square’s secrets.”

Musical theatre star Paul Nicholas first came to prominence on the West End stage where he played the title role in the original London production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

But it was in the 1980s’ John Sullivan sitcom Just Good Friends that turned him into a TV heartthrob. Over three series, the BBC1 hit charted the wavering relationship between ex-lovers Vince (Nicholas) and Penny (Jan Francis).

Paul Nicholas with co-star Jan Francis in 1980s’ sitcom Just Good Friends

Following the end of Just Good Friends, Nicholas returned to the stage, notably playing the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance at the London Palladium opposite current EastEnders actress Bonnie Langford.

He can now be seen in a touring production of Agatha Christie’s famous whodunnit And Then There Were None alongside ex-Emmerdale star Verity Rushworth.

Speaking about his upcoming role on EastEnders, Nicholas said: “I am delighted to be joining the wonderful cast for what is going to be an exciting time ahead. I can’t wait to get started and seeing what’s in store for my character.”

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.

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