EastEnders has confirmed Sean Slater is returning, with Rob Kazinsky reprising the role that launched his career for a short stint in spring 2019.
A decade on from his dramatic departure, the troubled bad boy finds himself lured back to Walford - but for what reason?
Charismatic Kazinsky played volatile Sean between 2006 and 2009 and the character became a firm favourite with viewers.
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He was involved in numerous high-profile storylines such as attempting to con Ruby Allen out of her dad's money, helping lover Tanya Branning bury cheating husband Max alive, and an explosive marriage to Roxy Mitchell that ended when he discovered he was not the biological father of her daughter Amy and kidnapped the little girl to keep her from real daddy Jack Branning.
Last seen escaping a frozen lake and going one the run after his abduction attempt on Amy was foiled, viewers know Sean made it to South America - now he's set to make a dramatic reappearance in a top-secret spring plot.
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Post-EastEnders, the actor has carved out a successful Hollywood career in a string of hit movies and TV shows including Pacific Rim with Idris Elba, Warcraft: The Beginning, True Blood and Brothers and Sisters.
What will Sean Slater's return storyline be about?
Discussing his return, Kazinsky says: "It's ten years since Sean fled from Walford and I left the studio at Elstree behind to move to the USA to chase a dream that seemed so far-fetched.
"Throughout my career I have always felt my best work was on EastEnders, and that there was something in Sean I understood completely that was so traumatic which we never really got to show the viewers. I have unfinished business in Albert Square and am thrilled to be returning to what I still consider to be my home, however briefly.
"EastEnders is still the most important serial on British television, never afraid to combat hard storylines and tell hard truths. I have always been proud of what EastEnders has done for social awareness and that is why I’m back - to tell a story that means something to me with the family that I know can tell it right.
"I can’t wait to see my Slaters again and see what’s in store for Sean as he brings an evolved animal to Albert Square.”
Senior executive producer Kate Oates teased some exciting returns when she took the helm in autumn 2018, and has achieved something of a coup tempting the actor back. “I’m beyond delighted to see Rob in Albert Square again and at the heart of the Slater family," she says. "He created a modern EastEnders icon in Sean, and has had much input in his returning story.
"It’s exciting to work with an actor with Rob’s drive, passion and eye for detail, and I can’t wait to see the impact his arrival has on the Square amidst those who loved or loathed the troubled Sean Slater.”
Speculation is set to swirl around why Sean shows up, with a possible hint in Oates teasing a big storyline for Jean as she faces a big challenge around her mental health. Jean and Sean's relationship was always complicated, but does a family crisis pave the way for his reappearance? Is Jean dying and wanting to make amends with her estranged son?
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