EastEnders cast: everyone leaving, arriving and returning

We're going to be saying goodbye to a number of beloved characters...

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by Hannah Mellin |

EastEnders is known for delivering some SHOCK exits over the years. Tiffany Mitchell, Lucy Beale and Kush Kazemi to name a few and this coming year is no different as we prepare to say goodbye and hello to a number of old and new faces.

Some of the residents were pottering around Walford for three decades (Ian Beale, we're looking at you), some are in and out quicker than we can say 'Minute Mart' and some boomerang back into the BBC1 soap whenever there is #dramz.

So, to keep up to date with who's going, arriving and returning to EastEnders, we recommend bookmarking this page. Do it right now.

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Who's leaving EastEnders this year?

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CREDIT: bbc

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."

Keegan Butcher-Baker (Zack Morris)
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CREDIT: BBC

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.

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Who's returning to EastEnders this year?

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CREDIT: bbc

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...

Who's joining EastEnders this year?

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Who's joining EastEnders this year

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CREDIT: BBC

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).

In other EastEnders news.....

Former EastEnders star Danniella Westbrook hit out in a Twitter rant against the BBC as she was - once again - replaced as Sam Mitchell in EastEnders.

Danniella, who played the youngest offspring of Peggy Mitchell from 1990–2000, 2009-2010, and in 2016, wished Kim 'other Sam' Medcalf the best in the role but threatened her former employer with legal action.

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©Twitter

"Wishing Kym the best of luck at @BBCEastenders__ yet again this poor woman has to recreate a Samantha Mitchell as close to my last two recent come backs on the square go smash it darling..x

"Oh but not to @bbceastenders my legal team will be in touch to know why when I held the contract too the last two times the character bounced in & out on a ratings or stint. For the record I was never sacked or dismissed and saw out both contracts one of them even being extended for episodes," she wrote.

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©Twitter

She went on to warn "be afraid" and said she'll "go way back to things I've never told" in a new autobiography.

The BBC confirmed that Kim, who played Sam in EastEnders from 2002–2005, would be reprising the role.

WATCH: Chloe Brockett speaks out on Lauren Goodger returning | TOWIE Secrets

As EastEnders is so iconic we've decided to reminisce and 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.

Plus we've had 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...

Who are you most looking forward to seeing in Walford? Who are you devastated to see leave EastEnders? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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