There's a festive family reunion for the Carters when Lee Carter returns to EastEnders on Christmas Eve, marking Danny Hatchard's first appearance since he left the soap in 2017.
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) is at a loss as to how he can help troubled wife Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) as her alcoholic addiction is spiralling dangerously out of control. The couple have an almighty row after a disastrous dinner with Max Branning and Ruby Allen, prompting Linda to go on the lash and drink alone in the Square gardens - unaware Mick has organised for her eldest son to visit for the holidays.
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L then mysteriously disappears on Christmas Day, but while Mick puts on a brave face - and a cracking Christmas jumper - he can't suppress his anxiety for long and ends up collapsing with a panic attack. Lee races to his dad's side, but will he be okay?
By New Year's Eve, Linda is thankfully back in the Vic but she's still hitting the bottle - and there are disastrous consequences that get 2020 off to a dramatic start for the Carters. The festive fortnight ends with Mick having serious words with his defensive wife about her behaviour over new year, and the family's future looking decidedly shaky. Can Lee help his parents mend their marriage?
Hatchard (the actor has now dropped his real name 'Danny-Boy' from his professional moniker) last appeared in February 2017 and left at the climax of an intense mental health storyline for his alter ego, when trauma from his time in the army led to him contemplating taking his own life.
His turbulent marriage to Whitney Dean was wrecked and he departed Walford to try and get his life together. Lee is bound to cross paths with Whit, who got engaged to his old army pal Callum Highway, only to jilt him at the altar upon learning he'd cheated on her with Ben Mitchell. That could be an awkward reunion…
Lee is only back for a brief period, but Hatchard is happy to be home as he said earlier in the year when his comeback was announced: “The way things are going with the Carters, it makes total sense that Lee would return, even for a short stint. I will always be loyal to the Carter clan and the show and am very excited to be back with some immensely talented people whom I love dearly.”
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