Bobby flees Walford after Ian returns to EastEnders

Don't expect a happy father and son reunion

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Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) returns to EastEnders on Monday 24th June and is reunited with son Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) who is back home after serving three years in prison for killing his sister Lucy Beale.

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Despite knowing the teen terror was soon to be released, the meeting is understandably awkward between Ian – who has been visiting Lucy’s twin Peter in New Zealand – and Bobby, who is struggling to adjust to life on the outside.

Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) suggests the Beales present a united front and head to the Queen Vic as a family – but not many of the locals are happy to see Bobby again and the anxious adolescent finds the atmosphere too strained, rushing off and demanding to be left alone.

On Tuesday 25th June, Ian and mum Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) notice embarrassed Bobby has a bruise on his face and immediately suspect arch enemy Max Branning (Jake Wood) is responsible, seeing as Ben found him attacking his nephew last week as revenge for being framed for Lucy’s murder.

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Max denies it and when Bobby sheepishly explains how he got the injury Ian is forced to back down, with the fact he is now business partners with Mr Branning at the Walford East restaurant following Masood Ahmed’s swift departure back in February adding to the uneasy atmosphere between the clans.

Ian spends the rest of the week desperately trying to build bridges with Bobby and make him feel at home again, but his troubled son retreats further away from the world and refuses to leave his house. When his dad suggests home tutoring on Friday 28th June, the idea is dismissed outright by his youngest but after a phone call from a friend Bobby calms down and apologises to Ian.

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Hoping he’s started to get through to his offspring Ian vows to keep his son close and put the painful past behind them – not realising Bobby has secretly escaped and run away from Albert Square…

Bobby has only just been reintroduced in the recast form of Milner Russell, so it’s unlikely he’s gone for good, but where has the character gone? Is he in danger? Will beleaguered Ian be able bolster the beleaguered Beales? Can the family, and the wider community, ever forgive the lad for his life-changing act of violence as a ten year-old boy?

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