Lofty will be joining a number of other familiar faces heading back to Walford for the funeral of EastEnders icon Dot Branning (June Brown) in upcoming scenes.
Lofty first appeared in the BBC soap soon after it debuted in 1985. With viewers looking forward to seeing the likes of Lofty, as well as his fellow former neighbours, could we learn more about his life since the last time we saw him?
While we wait, there's a lot to catch up on. So, read on to take a trip down memory lane as we delve into the history of this classic EastEnders character.
Who is Lofty and who plays him?
Lofty was played by actor Tom Watt. The character's real name was George, but his nickname was said to reflect his above average height. Lofty got a job as a barman at The Queen Vic, and devoted himself to caring for and visiting his terminally ill aunt Irene (Katherine Parr). When she passed away in a hospice, Lofty was heartbroken.
Lofty grew close to Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) who refused to name the father when she became pregnant with daughter Vicki. Viewers were eventually let in on the secret that older man Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) was the dad, but Lofty did not find out. He struggled to see Michelle unhappy and offered to marry her and help her raise her child.
Michelle didn't love Lofty, but she accepted his proposal anyway. She eventually jilted him at the altar, leaving him devastated. Months later, she had a change of heart, and Lofty whisked Michelle away for a secret wedding. But she was never truly happy, and was unwilling when Lofty put pressure on her to let him adopt Vicki and have a baby with him.
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When Michelle found out she was pregnant with Lofty's child, she had an abortion. Devastated by her betrayal, Lofty became depressed over the loss of the child he wanted and the marriage broke down. Lofty took a job as a handyman in a children's home and left Walford in 1988. It was later revealed that Lofty had become a social worker.
When was Lofty last in EastEnders?
In 2019, more than 30 years after his departure, Lofty reappeared to pay his respects to the late Doctor Legg (Leonard Fenton). Dot was pleased to see Lofty, and Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) was stunned when her old pal revealed he now owned a string of pubs!
As Sharon introduced Lofty to Michelle's now grown younger brother Martin Fowler (James Bye), Lofty asked him how Michelle and Vicki were. He then handed a bemused Martin a piece of paper and asked him to pass it on to Vicki, noting that he once thought he would be a dad to her.
When Lofty walked away, Martin realised that he'd been given a cheque in Vicki's name for the sum of £20,000. Martin and Sharon were gobsmacked, and after Dr Legg's farewell, this was the last we saw of Lofty.
As he returns once more to honour Dot, actor Watt recalls that he was involved in Dot's very first scene in EastEnders.
"Lofty’s connection was more with [Dot's] son, Nasty Nick," he said. "But I was reminded that Dot’s first scene on EastEnders was with Lofty in the café. Lofty was serving, and Dot came in for a cup of tea. So, from that point of view, it did kind of finish a circle really to be there at the end for her too.
"Dot had an enormous story in EastEnders, so to have been there for the first sight of her on screen and then to be there for her funeral makes you feel old, but it still feels like a good thing to have done."