EastEnders: who is joining, leaving and returning to the soap?

All the changes to life in Albert Square you need to keep up with

eastenders leaving joining 2019

Your guide to all the comings and goings on EastEnders over the next few months of 2019…

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RETURNING

Lee Carter (Danny Hatchard)

eastenders lee carter

Mick and Linda’s eldest comes home in his parents’ hour of need this autumn when Lee makes a brief return. Last seen in February 2017, Lee’s biggest storyline was his mental health struggle that saw his marriage to Whitney collapse, and led to the character contemplating suicide. “The way things are going for the Carters, it makes total sense that Lee would return,” says the actor. With little brother Ollie’s autism and mum Linda set to spiral into alcoholism, can Lee help the crisis-stricken clan? And what will happen when he’s reunited with Whit?

Kim Fox (Tameka Empson)

Kim (Tameka Empson) on EastEnders

Fan favourite Kim has been off screen for a few months while Empson took a temporary break, but she’s set to return just before Christmas 2019. “Kim has been working as a tour guide in Scotland,” the actress recently revealed, “but she is coming back…”

Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner)

eastenders stacey fowler

Fan favourite Stace is off screen to accommodate actress Lacey Turner’s maternity leave, following the birth of her daughter Dusty Violet in summer 2019. She made a brief return in the autumn but her reunion with husband Martin Fowler proved fraught when he told her he’d been unfaithful – which was a lie to keep her away from bad boy Ben Mitchell and his threats against the family. It is expected Turner will return full-time by mid-2020.

LEAVING

Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters)

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Danny Walters is leaving EastEnders to pursue other projects, with his ‘Sheanu’ storyline looking likely to come to “a dramatic and blistering conclusion” around Christmas. And if and when Phil Mitchell finds out that Keanu is the father of his wife Sharon’s baby (not to mention of daughter Louise’s), it could mean curtains for Keanu.

“It has been a joy to play Keanu Taylor for the last two and a half years,” Walters told Digital Spy. “I have been blessed to work with the most fantastic creative team and I will miss them and my fellow actors immensely. EastEnders will always hold a special place in my heart and I will continue to be an avid fan.”

Louise Mitchell (Tilly Keeper)

eastenders-tilly-keeper

Keanu’s other half Louise surely won’t be happy when she finds out her boyfriend and stepmum’s betrayal and baby secret, and Phil’s daughter is also confirmed as leaving over the festive period as part of the massive impact on the Mitchell clan. “I have loved playing Louise Mitchell over these past few years,” says actress Tilly Keeper, who has played the role since 2016. “I feel honoured to have been part of such an iconic show. Working with our incredible cast and crew has been a joy and I shall miss my EastEnders family greatly.”

Adam Bateman (Stephan Rahman-Hughes)

eastenders adam bateman

We knew handsome dentist Adam was too good to be true when he was introduced last year as a new love interest for Honey Mitchell – and we were right. The former foster child of the Ahmeds has become a womanising weasel, cheating on Hon with lovesick Habiba, but his philandering is set to be exposed which means the end of the line for the character. Will those fan theories about Honey murdering him come true?

JOINING

Michaela Turnbull (Fiona Allen)

eastenders leo king michaela turnbull

Smack the Pony star Fiona Allen has been cast as the estranged mum of Leo King, secret son of dead paedophile Tony who is out to clear dead dad’s name. Deluded Leo is convinced his father was innocent and is using a fake identity to infiltrate his victim Whitney Dean’s life, but when bolshy Michaela arrives in Walford in December will she expose his scheme and make him realise he’s wrong and his dad was a wrong’un? Despite her comedy chops, we doubt there’ll be many laughs for Allen in her guest role.

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