If Peter Beale expected to find his family in a better place on his return to EastEnders, he is very much mistaken. His half-brother Bobby is undergoing emergency surgery and his dad is in perilous waters on the Thames.
In the midst of the show’s 35th anniversary celebrations feels like the ideal time to welcome back a troubled Beale. Actor Dayle Hudson replaces Ben Hardy who swapped from soaps to Marvel Comics when he left to play Angel in X-Men Apocalypse.
The character was last seen in May 2016 hand-in-hand with Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) and their son Louie. His hopes were for a better, quieter life in New Zealand after the heartbreak that had become part and parcel of his family life as a Beale.
Like half-brother Bobby, Peter felt neglected and unloved by his father Ian. He once overheard his tactless dad telling his twin sister Lucy that she was the child of which he was the most proud.
After Lucy was killed by Bobby Peter did his best to keep what was left of the family together. But it took a heavy toll. He split from then girlfriend Lola and battled with Linda Carter’s rapist, Dean Wicks (Matt di Angelo) for Lauren’s affections.
Lauren chose Peter but he fell apart on the other side of the world drinking and partying too hard and Lauren returned for an ill-fated relationship with his loathsome other half-brother Steven.
After Steven was killed by a vengeful Max Branning Peter was too depressed to return for the funeral. Lauren left Walford with Louie after a doomed relationship with Weyland & Co fantasist Josh Hemmings.
The five other actors to play the part are Francis Brittin-Snell in 1993 when Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) gave birth to twins, Alex Stevens, Joseph Shade, James Martin and Thomas Law.
Now that Peter is back he’s going to have his hands full. Both Ian and Bobby will need looking after if both survive the events of this week.
There is also the tantalising thought that Peter and Lauren could be back in each other’s lives with the revelation that Jack has been helping his niece. The return of Jacqueline Jossa with a new Peter would really be something to celebrate.
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