Sean Slater is returning to EastEnders more than a decade after actor Rob Kazinsky left the role and swapped the the soap's Borehamwood studios for a career in Hollywood.
The hot-headed big brother of Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner) and eldest offspring of Jean Slater (Gillian Wright), volatile Sean's return has been teed up since Jean announced making amends with her estranged son was a top priority as she battles ovarian cancer.
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Having already contacted her sibling to tell him the news of their mum's illness but kept quiet about her unsuccessful efforts, Stacey feels guilty on Thursday 24th April when Jean continues to try and make contact with him. The following day, Stace is forced to admit to Jean she's spoken to Sean and told him everything – and he hasn't got back in touch. But unbeknown to them, Sean has already reappeared in Walford, and soon makes his presence felt…
As Sean makes his long-awaited comeback, here's a reminder of the character's most memorable moments and what Kazinsky did next after making an impact on 'Enders.
When is Sean Slater back in EastEnders? Is he played by the same actor?
Sean reappears on Friday 26th April with Kazinsky reprising the role. A recent spring trailer (above) gave fans a first look at his reappearance.
When did Sean Slater first appear in EastEnders?
Stacey's mysterious brother was talked about long before we first saw him in August 2006. The backstory told us the rebellious redhead had abandoned his family to join the army at 16 after his dad Brian's tragic death sent mum Jean's mental health spiralling. Grieving Jean was gripped by her bipolar disorder upon being widowed, and 11-year-old Stace was left alone to be her fragile parent's carer.
Some seven years later, with no contact in between, Sean ended up in Walford in pursuit of squaddie colleague Al who had moved to Albert Square and was tracked down by Sean who had a score to settle with his fellow soldier. By coincidence he was reunited with his little sister who lived on the Square with their uncle Charlie and he decided to stick around.
Why was Rob Kazinsky suspended from EastEnders when he played Sean Slater?
Kazinsky himself was the subject of a scandal early on in his tenure when he was suspended from the show for two months in January 2007 following allegations he had sent saucy text messages to a model, according to a tabloid report. The show issued an apology at the time insisting the actor was sorry for "any offence caused to viewers and for bringing the show into disrepute."
What were Sean Slater's biggest EastEnders storylines?
Dangerous, violent, unpredictable, a borderline psychopath but just a big softie on the inside, tortured soul Sean was a slave to his anger issues and the guilt he felt at being responsible for his dad's death, as it transpired he'd punched Brian during a row the day before he dropped dead of a brain haemorrhage. Family relations were strained – though he was protective of Stacey, he struggled with Jean's mental health and the impact it had on his upbringing.
His roguish charm made him a hit with the ladies, with Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) being his first big romance although he was only with her to get his hands on her gangster dad Johnny's cash. He had a real thing for yummy mummy Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner) and when it turned out her husband Max had been cheating on her with Stacey, Sean swooped in and seduced her. Encouraging Tan to take revenge on philandering Max by burying him alive in a coffin in the woods unsurprisingly ruined their romance, and Sean moved on to wild child Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons).
The rebellious pair brought out the worst in each other with their bad romance and spur-of-the-moment wedding, but when Rox fell pregnant Sean was ready to step up and be a dad to baby girl Amy – until it turned out she'd slept with her sister Ronnie's (Samantha Womack) fella Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) who was the real father. Roxy's evil dad Archie deliberately stuffed the DNA results revealing the paternity secret in a cracker opened by Sean on Christmas Day 2008, sending him into a rage and kidnapping Amy and setting the scene for a spectacular exit…
When did Sean Slater leave EastEnders?
Having snatched Amy and begged Roxy to run away with him, Sean's time on EastEnders ended in a dramatic showdown on an icy lake on New Year's Day 2009 when Ronnie and Jack chased the star-crossed lovers and saved Rox and Amy from the freezing water. Rescued Rox spied Sean climb out of the lake and let him get away, and he hasn't been seen since. During Stacey's own time on the run from Walford for the murder of Archie Mitchell (2010-2013) she spent some time with Sean in South America, and he's often been dialled up for (unseen) video calls by his sis.
What else has Rob Kazinsky appeared in? What's he been doing since leaving EastEnders?
In 2010 Kazinsky was cast as dwarf Fili in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but pulled out during production for "personal reasons", replaced by Dean O'Gorman when the film was eventually released in 2012. Despite that early setback the actor is one of the more successful EastEnders alumni of recent years, carving out a solid career on US TV and film in the decade since leaving Sean behind.
Usually credited as Robert Kazinsky, he's been in blockbuster movies Pacific Rim, alongside Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba, video game adaptation Warcraft, Netflix sci-fi drama Mute, and has a small role in this year's Marvel smash hit Captain Marvel.
On TV he's been in popular dramas including True Blood, Second Chance, Brothers and Sisters.
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