EastEnders' Adam Woodyatt says decisions about Ian Beale 'weren't right'
"He claimed to be a great father when actually, no he wasn’t, he was an absolute narcissist."
It feels like a long time since we last saw Ian Beale in EastEnders, after actor Adam Woodyatt took an extended break from the soap back in January 2021.
Since then, it's not been made clear whether we will ever see the beloved and long-running character back on Albert Square ever again, with Woodyatt saying earlier this year: "I could go back, and I could not go back. I don't know!".
Now, Woodyatt has made it clear that he left the soap when he felt that "there was nowhere else to go with Ian at that time", with this being down to "changes" made to his character.
Woodyatt was speaking on Kate Thornton's White Wine Question Time podcast, where he acknowledged that Ian "evolved over years and years", noting that's "something you can do with a soap and you can see how the characters change and evolve over the years".
However, Woodyatt then added that he didn't "always think that some of the changes were right and maybe they should’ve chosen other directions to go but they weren’t my decisions".
"They were stuff that the bosses obviously chose. Did it make Ian unpopular? Yeah, at times. Because he was quite forthright and quite rude to everyone, even people he loved," Woodyatt said.
"He claimed to be a great father when actually, no he wasn’t, he was an absolute narcissist. I mean some would actually say he was also a sociopath, if you really want to psychoanalyse him. But he was also very misunderstood, because I think actually a lot of the time his heart was in the right place but he just got things wrong."
Woodyatt also said that he thought Ian and his fourth wife Jane (played by Laurie Brett) were "a good pairing" because "she was like his Jiminy Cricket.
"She would sort of sit on his shoulder and say, 'No, don't do that, you're a t**t'. And she would get him to completely change directions and do the right thing," he said
However, once they were broken up again, Woodyatt said Ian went "back to being Ian of the '90s, the 2000s" and that the change made the character unpopular.