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

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

eastenders cast update new 2020

Your guide to all the comings and goings on EastEnders over the next few months of 2020…

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LEAVING

Daniel Cook (Adrian Edmondson)

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On Thursday 27th February, poor Daniel lost his battle against cancer and was seen peacefully passing away in the middle of Albert Square with the love of his life, Jean Slater, next to him. We knew his exit had been coming for some time, but it didn’t stop it being a tearjerker. 

Dot Cotton (June Brown)

EastEnders - Dotty Cotton

EastEnder legend June Brown recently shocked fans when she announced she was leaving the soap for “good”. Speaking in an interview, June – who has played Dot on the show for 35 years – said: “I don’t want a retainer. I’ve left. I’ve left for good.” She added: “I’ve sent myself to Ireland and that’s where she’ll stay. I’ve left EastEnders.” In the last episode she featured in, aired in January, Dot left a voicemail message for Sonia Fowler, saying she had moved to Ireland. However, as far as a a show insider is aware, June hasn’t actually cut her ties with the show and is allowed to  return where necessary. A spokesperson said: “We never discuss artists’ contracts, however as far as EastEnders are concerned the door remains open for June, as it always has if the story arises and if June wishes to take part.” EastEnders star Emma Barton hinted Brown could come back, insisting everyone loves her on set.

Bex Fowler (Jasmine Armfield)

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Armfield has left the cast after six years as the grown-up incarnation of Martin and Sonia Fowler’s daughter. “I’ve had such a fantastic time playing Bex and loved being part of EastEnders, but now feels like the right time to try something new.” The troubled teen has had a rough old year, culminating in an attempt to take her own life last summer. She departed in March 2020 to spread her wings and go travelling.

Dennis Rickman (Bleu Landau)

eastenders dennis

The much-teased death during the 35th anniversary week turned out to be little Denny, teen tearaway son of Walford legend Sharon. Young Dennis met a watery grave after a fight with Ian Beale on the doomed party boat, the entrepreneur having sworn revenge on the lad for harassing son Bobby Beale. The situation got out of hand and Dennis drowned when the boat crashed, despite Ian’s attempts to save him. Landau took over the role from Harry Hickles in 2015.

Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters)

EE Keanu flashback

Keanu scarpered at Christmas, having faked his death and gone on the run, but returned for the 35th anniversary and was at the centre of the drama. Having kidnapped Callum Highway, fought Phil and Ben Mitchell, been dumped again by Sharon Mitchell and denied the chance to be a dad for the second time in as many months, the Taylor totty has now properly left. But once the two Mitchell babies come of age, will they want to track down their biological father?

RETURNING

Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden)

EastEnders Phil Mitchell

Good old Phil is back in Walford hasn’t been seen since his fleeting return from Portugal. He was back for a showdown with Keanu Taylor, who was sent packing after their fight on deck just in time for the 35th anniversary. Phil and Ben’s final clash with Keanu caused the boat to crash setting off a devastating chain of events that resulted in adopted son Dennis Rickman’s death. Sharon is gunning for her estranged hubby, blaming him for the tragedy that claimed her son, and a showdown looms for the pair when Phil shows up at the lad’s wake next week.

Danny Hardcastle (Paul Usher)

EastEnders, Paul Usher as Danny Hardcastle

The Liverpudlian gangster is back on the Square causing more misery for the Mitchells a year after his goons kidnapped Louise. Ben is keen to impress Danny to prove he’s still got what it takes to impress his dad in the wake of losing his hearing, but hard man Hardcastle’s return is set to end in disaster. Ex-Brookside and The Bill star Usher is back for a guest spot.

Honey Mitchell (Emma Barton)

eastenders honey mitchell billy mitchell

Emotionally bruised after her coercive relationship with dastardly dentist Adam Bateman ended, poor old Hon was in the grip of eating disorder bulimia which she had suffered from when she was younger. Ex-husband Billy encouraged her to get help, and she’s currently off screen staying with a relative to regroup and get her head together – in reality, the temporary absence was created to facilitate Barton’s training schedule for 2019’s Strictly Come Dancing. It was worth it – she got to the final! The actress recently told us she hopes Honey and Billy can repair their broken relationship when she’s back on screen later this spring.

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, and returned on Christmas Day 2019 via a video call. “Kim has been working as a tour guide in Scotland,” the actress recently revealed, “but she is coming back…” There’s no word on when she’ll be on the Square in person again, but she is expected to reappear at some point.

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.

Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer)

EastEnders Patsy Palmer

Bianca has made numerous returns to EastEnders since originally departing way back in 1999 and she was last seen as recently as 2019. However, with Whitney facing prison for what happened surrounding Leo’s death, she will be back on the Square but rather intriguingly, it has been hinted that her comeback may not be helpful for the troubled Whitney.

JOINING

Peter Beale (Dayle Hudson)

Peter Beale recast - Dayle Hudson
BBC

Another Beale kid, another new face – newcomer Hudson takes over from Ben Hardy as Ian’s prodigal son Peter who made his reappearance during the 35th anniversary episodes. Five years after leaving in the aftermath of his twin sister Lucy’s murder by little brother Bobby, Peter is back from New Zealand having split from girlfriend Lauren Branning. Following Bobby’s beating, can the brothers make amends? And why are him and Lauren not together?

Wondering about the other soaps? Read more of our cast guides 

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