EastEnders: Peggy, Grant and Phil RETURN to Albert Square and it looks incredible

Phil and Grant! With HAIR!

The Mitchells 2016

by Hannah Mellin |

Well, this is exciting. Two of the best EastEnders characters EVER are returning to E20 and the first photos are, frankly, great.

The Beeb has announced a special flashback episode (love a flashback, us) featuring Peggy, Grant and Phil Mitchell set in 1979. And doesn't Peggy look ah-mazing?

Jaime Winstone as Peggy Mitchell
Jaime Winstone will play Peggy Winstone in the flashback episode ©BBC

She could still wear that rig-out in East London now, just sayin'.

Jaime Winstone will play Peggy, and we'll also be treated to '70s Phil and Grant (with hair? Imagine!), Sam, plus Ronnie and Roxie, and horrible Archie who it's rumoured was a terrible man back then as well.

In other E20 news....

©BBC

Just when we thought the iconic Slater family couldn't get any bigger, EastEnders have announced a new family member - Freddie Slater - the son of Little Mo, who loyal fans will remember was played by Kacey Ainsworth from 2000 to 2006.

Freddie Slater will be played by Bobby Brazier, the son of Jade Goody and Jeff Brazier, in his first acting debut. Freddie was last seen in Walford in May 2006 when he and Little Mo left to start a new life away from Walford. A teenage Freddie is set to arrive on on the Square on his own in the autumn, with bosses describing him as someone who "has a heart of gold but can’t help getting himself into mischief."

As well as Freddie, we recently said hello to a groundbreaking new arrival to Walford: Albert Square’s first ever resident drag queen: Tara Misu.

Tara is the drag alter ego of Felix Baker (Matthew Morrison), the younger son of Mitch’s (Roger Griffiths) estranged brother Avery (Omar Lye-Fook). It was previously announced that Felix will cause a stir when he arrives in Walford alongside his older half-brother Finlay (Ashley Byam) and their dad Avery this summer.

Speaking about taking on the role of Tara Misu, Matthew Morrison said, “I am blessed to have the opportunity to step into the heels of the fierce Tara Misu as part of my role on EastEnders. It’s a privilege to represent the LGBTQIA+ community and to showcase the creative art of drag to both viewers at home and the residents of Walford.”

Tara Misu isn't the only new character joining the Square this year, here are all the new arrivals...

Who's joining EastEnders this year?

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Who's joining EastEnders this year

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A new Slater is in town folks, Freddie Slater will be played by Bobby Brazier, the son of Jade Goody and Jeff Brazier, in his first acting debut. Freddie was last seen in Walford in May 2006 when he and Little Mo left to start a new life away from Walford. A teenage Freddie is set to arrive on on the square on his own, with bosses describing him as someone who "has a heart of gold but can’t help getting himself into mischief."

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Ravi Gulati is the son of the Panesar's family friend Ranveer Gulati, but he was first introduced as Phil Mitchell's prison inmate who he turned to for help when his life was in danger. During his time in prison, Ravi asked Phil for information about Kheerat Panesar, although his intentions are still unclear. However, with Ravi soon being released from prison and reuniting with his dad, we're sure all will be revealed very soon.

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The Baker family is expanding as Mitch’s estranged brother and nephews make their way to Albert Square in the summer. Musician and actor Omar Lye-Fook, MBE will be playing Avery Baker, the charming older brother of Mitch and his sons, Felix and Finley, will be played by Matthew Morrison (Felix) and Ashley Byam (Finlay).

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Tara Misu is the drag alter ego of Albert Square newcomer Finlay Baker (Tara Misu).

The news of Tara's arrival comes a day after it was confirmed that Mo Harris aka absolute ICON Big Mo (Laila Morse) is returning to EastEnders for a short stint.

Yep, the soap legend has docked up and returning to Albert Square. You probably don't need a refresher if you're reading this, but just in case; Big Mo left Walford in 2021 for a life of fun on a cruise ship with her beloved Fat Elvis. That might be our favourite sentence ever.

Mo isn't the only Slater relative returning to Walford either, as it's been confirmed Shane Richie will be reprising his role as Kat Slater's ex-husband Alfie Moon. Here are all the characters returning to EastEnders this year...

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Who's returning to EastEnders this year?

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Shane Richie is set to reprise his role as Alfie Moon almost 20 years after he first appeared on Albert Square. Alfie was last seen fleeing Walford in 2019 after stealing money from Phil Mitchell. His return is sure to impact the life of ex-wife Kat Slater, who had been in a relationship with Phil up until recently.

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What needs saying is worth saying twice: BIG MO is returning to EastEnders. The BBC announced the news late June, confirming that the EastEnders icon was "on her way back to Walford for a short stint later this summer" and is filming scenes "over the summer".

On reprising her role as Mo Harris, Laila Morse said, “I always have so much fun playing Mo so I can’t wait to get back to the Square and see what mischief she gets up to this time. I’ve missed my on-screen family so much and can’t wait to see everyone again.”

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In January 2022, BBC announced that Kim would be back playing Peggy Mitchell's daughter, and promised the return would be "explosive". On reprising the role she played from 2002 until 2005, Kim said, "She's a brilliant character and I can't wait to get back in The Square this spring."

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As well as some sad departures, there was also the shocking return of one of the show's most iconic villains earlier this year - Sean Slater. The last time viewers saw him on screen was briefly in 2021 when he made a quick cameo appearance when his mum Jean Slater held an intervention for Stacey Slater. Viewers were delighted to see him return. Here's hoping Robert Kazinsky, who plays the iconic role, will return full-time one day...

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<br>Who's leaving EastEnders this year?

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In a shock exit that no one saw coming, Mick and Linda's daughter Nancy Carter (played by Maddy Hill) decided to leave Walford after her boyfriend Zack Hudson cheated - leaving in a black cab. Maddy later confirmed to The Sun that she will be leaving for a while and may never return. She said, “It’s been great revisiting Nancy and the Square over the past year but it felt like the right time to move on for now. I already miss everyone and feel so grateful to work with people I have so much love for.”

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In June 2022, is was reported that Danielle Harold, who plays Lola Pearce, will leave the show. Her character is apparently going to be killed off in a 'huge' storyline, leaving her no option to return to the show. Danielle has played Lola since 2011, leaving briefly in 2015 before returning in 2019.

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After nine years on the show, it's been confirmed that Danny Dyer - aka Mick Carter - is leaving Walford. A spokesperson told Digital Spy, "Danny will be leaving EastEnders when his contract comes to an end later this year.

"Danny has made Mick Carter an iconic character which we shall always be grateful for, however we won't be saying goodbye just yet as there's still quite some time – and plenty of explosive drama for Mick – to come before he departs Walford."

While the details of his exit are yet to be confirmed, including how it will tie into Mick Carter's storyline Danny has recently suggested he may be killed off. Danny told the earlier publication, "There's been a discussion about what we're gonna do. I might be killed off, I might not."

He added, "I just want to go out in a huge, epic way. I don't want to be in the back of a cab, I don't want a heart attack because of high cholesterol. I want to go out and I want to get people talking about it. So, yeah, it's gonna be huge."

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After five years on the show and a failed marriage to Tiffany Butcher, Keegan left the Square in March 2022 so that that actor Zack Morris could explores new things. In a statement, Zack said, "After five beautiful years on this incredible show, I have made the tough decision to leave Walford and give Keegan Butcher-Baker some well-earned rest."

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After months of speculation, it was confirmed that Tiffany Butcher would leave EastEnders. Confirming the news Maisie Smith said, "It's time to say farewell to Tiff! I've grown up on EastEnders since 2008, and have learnt from the best over the past 13 years.

"I'm very excited for my next challenge and thank the BBC for the opportunity they gave me as a 6 year old."

Jon Sen, EastEnders' executive producer, added. "We are all very sad to see Maisie leave. She's been a wonderful company member during her time at EastEnders and it's been a privilege to see her blossom into the star she is. "She has created an iconic character in Tiff and the door is always open to her return. We wish her all the very best for her future projects."

Tiff briefly returned for Keegan in 2022 but they've since left Walford together.

While you're here, why not look back at the most shocking EastEnders Christmas Day episodes; from Kat and Alfie Moon finally getting their happily ever after to Dirty Den Watts serving Ange those divorce papers.

"Happy Christmas, Ange."

Never forget.

You could also take a look at the most dramatic Christmas storylines on Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks and believe us when we say the things that have happened over the years in soap land are intense...

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