Returning Walford legends Colin and Barry received a romantic happy ending in EastEnders tonight (13th December 2022).


Actors Lord Michael Cashman CBE and Gary Hailes reprised their roles as Colin Russell and Barry Clark respectively, as part of the special episodes to honour the iconic character Dot Branning and her actress June Brown, who passed away at the age of 95 earlier this year.

Colin was seen returning to the Square and reuniting with friends Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) and Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), attending Dot's funeral, the subsequent wake in the Queen Vic pub, and then the merry celebrations at Dot's house.

Through conversations in the episode, we learned that Colin's husband Eddie Tsang had passed away - but he now had a man in his life again after reconnecting online.

Later on, Barry was seen arriving on the Square and looking upon his old home before being shown directions to the wake at Dot's house by Felix Baker (Matthew Morrison) - albeit a very short trip.

Kathy saw Colin out from Dot's and she was pleasantly surprised to realise that Barry was there to pick up Colin and that they were now a couple again.

Felix told them that they were "goals" in a lovely moment, recognising the progress made in LGBTQ+ issues on screen, given that Felix is the first gay drag performer to be a regular character in EastEnders.

Before departing the Square, Colin and Barry shared a passionate on-the-mouth kiss before driving away.

Speaking to and other press at an event last week, returning actor Gary Hailes spoke positively about the conclusion of Colin and Barry's story.

Gary Hailes as Barry Clark in EastEnders
Gary Hailes as Barry Clark in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

On his pleasure at Colin and Barry’s happy reunion, Hailes concluded: "I always thought that Colin and Barry should be together. It's a positive image.

"It was the whole idea from the very beginning with [EastEnders creators] Tony [Holland] and Julia [Smith], to do something that was a positive image and that changed people's perceptions of gay relationships and gay people. And I just, I just think it's really special that that's the end as it were, and that they do get to get back together."

One specific moment felt especially powerful - when Colin and Barry shared an on-the-mouth kiss, which they never did back in the 1980s.

Hailes noted: "Actually, they did the kiss that they were never allowed to back in the '80s, to be fair, and that's when I read the script, I sat at home and it was just so well written. It's absolutely stunning and so easy to do because it was so well written."

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Gary Hailes as Barry Clark and Lord Michael Cashman as Colin Russell in EastEnders
Gary Hailes as Barry Clark and Lord Michael Cashman as Colin Russell in EastEnders in the 1980s. BBC

On being asked to return to the soap, the actor continued: "When I first got the phone call, I was terrified. I really was going back after 33 years and to come back, it was just, like, a bit freaky.

"And I kind of had to settle down and then when I got here, it was just brilliant. Everyone was so nice, so supportive. It was so well written. It was such an honour to be part of such a special episode and it really really was, having known June and worked with June, I've never ever met anyone who didn't like Dot or June or both.

"She's so special and to be part of that was really, really an honour to be honest. And then to work with Michael again... he said that it was [like] putting on a pair of old shoes - really comfortable. We just clicked; it was brilliant."

On stepping back onto Albert Square - albeit on a new set - Hailes added: "It was surreal. Surreal is the word of the day. It really was surreal."

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EastEnders continues on Thursday at 7:30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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