EastEnders fans were thrilled when Ian Beale made a shock appearance at Dot Branning’s funeral last night.
And they’re pretty sure they’ve worked out the identity of the person he called “love” on the phone.
Could he have reunited with an old flame while he's been away?
Ian sneaked into the churchyard to pay his own private respects to Dot.
He didn’t hang around for the service, or even to say hello to mum Kathy or son Bobby.
Instead he stayed hidden, under cover of the trees and said his own private goodbye to his beloved Dot.
As he said he farewell, Ian’s phone rang and he spoke to the caller with a lot of affection.
He called the person on the other end “love” and promised he would be home soon.
Oh. My. God.
Who was he talking to?
EastEnders viewers think they’ve got it all worked out.
They’re convinced Ian’s mystery caller was his wife, Jane.
Ian left Walford back in January of 2021 after a disastrous marriage to Sharon which ended when he realised his new wife was trying to kill him.
And Jane’s not been seen since 2017. That was when she got mixed up in Max Branning's plan to take revenge on everyone in the Square who'd been responsible for him going to prison for Lucy Beale's murder, even though he was innocent.
Jane had been the one who covered up Bobby's crime and helped him move on from murdering his sister.
But with all that drama in the past now, could they both be on their way back to Walford?
The fans definitely think so.
In fact, they're desperate to see the Beales reunited.
They took to social media after Ian's surprising return, to demand that both Ian and Jane come home to Walford.
IAN AND JANE REUNITED I BEG #eastendersDecember 12, 2022
They even begged EastEnders boss Chris Clenshaw - known as Clenners to fans - to make sure Jane was tempted back to the Square!
BRING HER BACK CLENNERS !!! #Eastenders pic.twitter.com/ffQviEJF7uDecember 12, 2022
Ian and Jane return in 2023 pls #EastEndersDecember 12, 2022
IAN WAS ON THE PHONE TO JANE JANE BEALE RETURN RN I DEMAND IT #EastEndersDecember 12, 2022
It's definitely time for a Beale reboot as far as we're concerned - Bobby's making a success of Beale's Plaice alongside Freddie Slater, and Kathy's planning her wedding to Rocky.
Surely that makes it the ideal time for the family to be reunited?
So will Ian’s reappearance in Walford be a one off? Or will we see him - and Jane - back on Albert Square soon?
EastEnders usually airs every day from Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.
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Kerry is a writer, author and editor with a lifelong love of the soaps, a passion for TV drama of all kinds, and an obsessive devotion to Strictly Come Dancing.
She was features editor of All About Soap magazine for more than a decade, covering every bit of excitement from all the UK soaps and the Aussies and still writes about all the juiciest gossip from the Street, the Square and the Dales whenever she can.
Kerry’s also an author of historical fiction, and her two jobs collided when she got the chance to write two novels based on Emmerdale, and the Sugden, Tate and Dingle families, during WW2.
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