Bobby Beale returns to EastEnders on Thursday 13th June but the killer teen is a changed man – quite literally, as a new actor has been cast to play him.
Newcomer Clay Milner Russell makes his TV debut when the character comes back having served a three-year prison sentence for shattering his family by killing big sister Lucy Beale back in 2014. He takes over the role from Eliot Carrington who was last seen in 2017.
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The Beales have been preparing for Bobby’s release for months, and the first member of the clan to see him is granny Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), who sneaks away from the launch night of her new gay bar The Prince Albert to find her formerly-incarcerated relative waiting for her at home.
“Bobby causes a stir when he returns this summer,” an EastEnders spokesperson says. “Kathy is delighted to welcome her grandson home, but how will the other residents react – and how will Bobby himself settle back into Walford life?”
Executive producer Jon Sen added: “Clay is an exciting new talent that injects a new energy into a fascinating character. We can’t wait for audience to see the impact Bobby’s arrival will have on the Square.”
When was Bobby Beale last seen in EastEnders?
Bobby was at the centre of one of the soaps’s biggest plots when he was unmasked as Lucy Beale’s murderer. During a tense live episode celebrating EastEnders’ 30th anniversary in February 2015, a year-long whodunnit was resolved when it was revealed Bobby accidentally killed his sibling during a heated row that got out of hand, and adopted mum Jane Beale had covered up her son’s crime and let him think he wasn’t to blame.
The volatile lad was packed off to boarding school, sitting back as Max Branning took the rap, but he later returned and found out Lucy’s death actually was his fault. Bobby’s emotional torment and violent behaviour escalated and in 2016 he attacked Jane with a hockey stick. The boy eventually confessed all to the police and was sent to jail.
Bobby’s last appearance on screen was a year after his sentencing in 2017, in a brief guest appearance in a single episode.
Who else has played Bobby Beale?
Milner is the fifth actor to play Bobby, born in 2003 to Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and third wife, the late Laura Beale (she fell down some stairs after a fight with Janine Butcher, but that’s another story…). Kevin Curran played him as a toddler with Alex Francis stepping in from 2007 for five years, until the part was recast again with Rory Stroud in 2013. Bobby went to live with Jane away from Walford for six months, returning as Eliot Carrington in late 2014.
Interestingly, Bobby was recast during the ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale?’ storyline, meaning he was played by a different actor at the time of the murder in April 2014 than the one who portrayed him during the flashback to the incident that aired ten months later…
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