EastEnders: Dexter Hartman’s father Sam to be played by Cornell S John

The Kidulthood and Inside Men actor will make his debut on the BBC1 soap in May

Kidulthood and Inside Men actor Cornell S John has been signed to play Ava’s (Clare Perkins) ex-husband Sam James, who will turn up in Albert Square next month looking for both her and long-lost son Dexter (Khali Best).


Ava and Dexter haven’t seen Sam since he walked out when Dexter was a baby, being unable to cope with the responsibilities that came with a newborn. One day, when it all became too much, he went for a pint of milk and never came back. Sam has been living the single life ever since but after the passing of his father, this master manipulator has decided that he needs to get to know his son, however long that may take. But just how welcoming will Ava and Dexter be?

John commented: “It’s a great honour and pleasure to be joining the EastEnders family. I look forward to working with the cast and to Sam’s adventures on the Square… doof doof.”


Lorraine Newman, executive producer, added: “We are delighted to have Cornell join the cast of EastEnders playing Sam. Cornell’s powerful presence and natural gravitas will ensure he’s a strong presence on screen. The addition of Sam, gives us a solid family unit with Dexter and Ava. However, after such a long absence, sparks are sure to initially fly. Let’s just hope he’s got the milk…!”