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.
As we continue a new year on Albert Square, there will be a host of new arrivals and departures on EastEnders.
As we approach the middle of the year, the new episodes will also bring new characters as well as see us wave goodbye to old ones.
RadioTimes.com is here with a handy update on which characters are leaving, joining and returning to EastEnders in the coming months.
So who's in? Who's out? And which rumours are true? Read on for all the latest details on cast changes for EastEnders.
EastEnders cast 2023
The full present regular cast for EastEnders can be found below.
- Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale
- Letitia Dean as Sharon Watts
- James Bye as Martin Fowler
- Steve McFadden as Phil Mitchell
- Kim Medcalf as Sam Mitchell
- Natalie Cassidy as Sonia Fowler
- Max Bowden as Ben Mitchell
- Perry Fenwick as Billy Mitchell
- Jessie Wallace as Kat Slater
- Rudolph Walker as Patrick Trueman
- Shane Ritchie as Alfie Moon
- Clay Milner Russell as Bobby Beale
- Bobby Brazier as Freddie Slater
- Lacey Turner as Stacey Slater
- Gillian Wright as Jean Slater
- Emma Barton as Honey Mitchell
- Zaraah Abrahams as Chelsea Fox
- Diane Parish as Denise Fox
- Grace as Janet Mitchell
- Linda Henry as Shirley Carter
- Jamie Borthwick as Jay Brown
- Scott Maslen as Jack Branning
- Freddie Phillips as Will Mitchell
- Shona McGarty as Whitney Dean
- Ellie Dadd as Amy Mitchell
- Tameka Empson as Kim Fox
- Lillia Turner as Lily Slater
- Frankie Day as Ricky Mitchell
- Sonny Kendall as Tommy Moon
- Isabella Brown as Lexi Pearce
- Kellie Bright as Linda Carter
- Harriet Thorpe as Elaine Peacock
- Elliot Briffett as Bert Moon
- Cody Briffett as Ernie Moon
- Arayah Harris-Buckles as Pearl Fox
- Harry Farr as Ollie Carter
- Rocco Brenner as Arthur Fowler
- Michael Jose Pomares Calixte as Raymond Dawkins
- Lorraine Stanley as Karen Taylor
- Danny Walters as Keanu Taylor
- Clair Norris as Bernie Taylor
- Isabelle Smith as Hope Fowler
- Tony Clay as Callum Highway
- Roger Griffiths as Mitch Baker
- Kara-Leah Fernandes as Bailey Baker
- Mahalia Malcolm as Mia Atkins
- Isaac Lemonius as Mackenzie Atkins
- Shiv Jalota as Vinny Panesar
- Balvinder Sopal as Suki Panesar
- James Farrar as Zack Hudson
- Brian Conley as Tom "Rocky" Cotton
- Ross Boatman as Harvey Monroe
- Delroy Atkinson as Howie Danes
- Heather Peace as Eve Unwin
- Aaron Thiara as Ravi Gulati
- Ashley Byam as Finlay Baker
- Matthew Morrison as Felix Baker/Tara Misu
- Jaden Ladega as Denzel Danes
- Juhaim Rasul Choudhury as Davinder "Nugget" Gulati
- Navin Chowdhry as Nish Panesar
- Jonny Freeman as Reiss Colwell
- William Ellis as Theo Hawthorne
- Colin Salmon as George Knight
- Francesca Henry as Gina Knight
- Molly Rainford as Anna Knight
And here are the changes to the cast coming soon...
George Knight (Colin Salmon)
When is George Knight arriving? 1st June 2023.
James Bond franchise star Colin Salmon is joining the cast of EastEnders in June 2023 as new Queen Vic resident George Knight.
The actor confirmed the arrival of the Knight family on Twitter.
The partner of Linda Carter's mother and fellow landlady Elaine Peacock, George is the father of two daughters: Gina and Anna.
Executive producer Chris Clenshaw described George as "a charming rogue and an old-school gent who dotes on his two daughters".
Actor Salmon commented: "I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of EastEnders to take on the role of George Knight. I’m excited to explore the character of George, a true East End gentleman having been born in the East End myself.
"I have a great affinity and love for the show and I look forward to being part of the great legacy."
Anna Knight (Molly Rainford)
When is Anna Knight arriving? 1st June 2023.
Strictly Come Dancing star Molly Rainford is joining the cast of EastEnders as Anna Knight in June.
The star was first reported to be joining the soap earlier this month but details had yet to be confirmed.
Now, speaking in a BBC statement, Rainford has said: "I’m SUPER excited to be joining the cast of EastEnders. It’s such an iconic show which myself and my family love, so it’s an honour to bring the character Anna Knight to life who is set to stir up drama upon her arrival.
"I’ve already met a few familiar faces from my time on Strictly and I can’t wait to meet and be a part of the EastEnders family."
Anna will move into the Queen Vic with her father, his new partner, and her older sister, Gina.
Executive producer Chris Clenshaw described Anna as "fun, loveable, and big-hearted, but don’t underestimate her."
Gina Knight (Francesca Henry)
When is Gina Knight arriving? 1st June 2023.
Actress Francesca Henry is joining EastEnders this June as Gina Knight, who will be part of the new family moving into the Queen Vic pub.
Gina is the oldest daughter of new landlord George who is accompanied by his partner Elaine Peacock, the mother of Linda Carter.
Executive producer Chris Clenshaw said of Gina that she is "feisty, determined and demanding" and "is as sharp and cool as cut diamonds but with a temper that blazes like fire".
Actress Francesca Henry said in a statement: “I wish I could tell younger me that one day I would be joining the show that I watched religiously every night with my Grandma.
"It’s very surreal and a true privilege to be trusted to bring Gina to the Square, and to be a part of such an exciting, tight-knit new family."
Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin)
When is Lisa Fowler returning? Summer 2023.
Lisa Fowler is set to make a shock comeback for a guest stint in EastEnders.
Actress Lucy Benjamin has confirmed that she will be returning to the BBC One soap for a guest stint.
In her last appearance, Lisa left for Portugal with her daughter Louise and granddaughter Peggy Mitchell in early 2020.
On her comeback, Lucy Benjamin revealed: "I can't wait to make my return as Lisa Fowler again after leaving for Spain with Louise and granddaughter Peggy, back in 2019.
"No doubt, in true Lisa fashion, she will bring with her plenty of drama for many of the characters on the Square, which is why playing her is such a delight."
EastEnders boss Chris Clenshaw commented: "We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Lisa back for a short while as she and Peggy cause trouble between the happy couple, Sharon and Keanu."
Benjamin made her debut as Lisa Shaw in 1998, remaining in the soap as a central character until her final exit as a regular character in 2003.
The character since returned for guest appearances in 2010, 2017 and most recently from 2019 to 2020.
Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf)
When is Sam Mitchell returning? Summer 2023.
Actress Kim Medcalf made a temporary exit from EastEnders earlier this year as Sam Mitchell left Walford for a lucrative job opportunity running a hotel in Spain.
After an emotional goodbye to her son Ricky Mitchell, Sam left in the back of a black cab, but she will be making her way back to Walford soon.
As Ricky is expecting the arrival of his daughter with Lily Slater this summer, surely this will be the time for Sam to make her return?
Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt)
When is Ian Beale returning? 2023.
Ian Beale will return to EastEnders in 2023 alongside his presumed dead wife Cindy Beale.
Actor Adam Woodyatt made a surprise return cameo for Dot's funeral in EastEnders as Ian Beale was seen saying a private goodbye to Dot while secretly looking upon the arrivals at Dot's funeral.
After saying his parting words to Dot, Ian was seen on the phone, telling a mystery person that he was returning home.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press in December 2022, EastEnders' executive producer Chris Clenshaw teased that the door remains open for a return for Ian down the line.
Clenshaw teased: “Well, he's on the phone to someone, we know who. I think Adam is a little bit busy at the moment. But he is, you know, Adam is Ian Beale."
Walford legend Woodyatt took an extended break from January 2021 when his alter ego fled town after Sharon and Phil tried to kill him for his part in Denny’s death.
The actor then went touring in the play Looking Good Dead, alongside former on-screen wife Laurie Brett, and appeared in the 2021 series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins)
When is Cindy Beale returning? 2023.
In a piece of sensational news, iconic villainess Cindy Beale will be returning to EastEnders in 2023, played by actress Michelle Collins.
The character was sent to prison in 1998 after previously plotting to kill her husband Ian Beale and later supposedly died off-screen in prison during the birth of her daughter Cindy Jr.
However, viewers will see Cindy back on their screens later this year as part of a return alongside Ian.
Just how is Cindy alive and where has she been? We have a lot of questions!
Shirley Carter (Linda Henry)
When is Shirley Carter returning to EastEnders? TBC.
EastEnders fan-favourite Shirley Carter made a surprise departure from Walford just after Christmas last year following the apparent death of her son Mick Carter.
Deciding there was nothing left for her in Walford, Shirley walked out of the Square with Lady Di the dog to stay with daughter Carly Wicks and her family.
The last we heard of Shirley was in February when we learned that she had also reunited with her previously estranged son Dean Wicks, the man who had raped Mick's true love, Linda Carter.
Actress Linda Henry is taking an extended break from the show and has been off our screens for more than six months now.
However, the BBC confirmed to RadioTimes.com that Shirley has not left the soap for good and will be back.
What will Shirley make of the new family in the Queen Vic, the Knights?
Which characters departed EastEnders in 2023?
The following characters have departed EastEnders in 2023.
- DCI Samantha Keeble (Guest)
- Ricky Butcher (Guest)
- Scarlett Butcher
- Edward "Jed" Chadwick (Guest)
- Ryan Malloy (Guest)
- Dr Ash Kaur
- Vi Highway
- Emma Harding (Guest)
- Jo Cotton (Guest)
- Shifty Shiv (Guest)
- Roxy Mitchell (Guest)
- Duncan Boyd (Guest)
- Lola Pearce-Brown
Which characters departed EastEnders in 2022?
The following characters departed EastEnders in 2022.
- Iqra Ahmed
- Mila Marwa
- Kioni Marwa
- Gray Atkins
- Keegan Baker
- Tiffany Butcher
- Isaac Baptiste
- Aaron Monroe
- Nancy Carter
- Peter Beale
- Avery Baker
- Rainie Highway
- Roland Highway
- Stuart Highway
- Dana Monroe
- Frankie Lewis
- Dr Nina Gupta
- Kheerat Panesar
- Lofty Holloway (Guest)
- Mary Smith (Guest)
- Disa O'Brien (Guest)
- Ian Beale (Guest)
- Colin Russell (Guest)
- Barry Clark (Guest)
- Lauren Branning (Guest)
- Dotty Cotton
- Jada Lennox
- Alyssa Lennox
- Mick Carter
- Janine Carter
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.