EastEnders fans stunned to spot Love Island star make unexpected soap cameo

EastEnders logo Queen Vic
A familiar face cropped up in last night's EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders fans were left shocked after spotting a Love Island contestant make a surprise appearance in last night's episode (Wednesday, January 18). 

Eagle-eyed EastEnders viewers were watching Zack Hudson have a deep and meaningful chat with Sam Mitchell in Peggy's following his shock HIV diagnosis when they saw Olivia Hawkins, a current contestant on Winter Love Island 2023, in the background. 

EastEnders Zack and Sam have a chat in Peggy's bar

EastEnders Zack and Sam have a chat in Peggy's, (Image credit: BBC)

Zack had been given the life-changing news after an old friend, Brett, told him last week that he had been diagnosed with HIV and that it's possible Zack could have it too since they shared needles in the past when taking steroids together.

But, while Zack understandably struggled to get his head around what this diagnosis meant for his future, not to mention how it will impact the baby he has on the way with Whitney Dean, fans were distracted by Olivia's unexpected cameo.

Olivia from Love Island making a cameo in EastEnders as Zack and Sam chat

Love Island star Olivia shocked fans by popping up in EastEnders.  (Image credit: BBC)

Olivia's EastEnders appearance was obviously filmed before she entered the Love Island villa, but fans still couldn't get enough of the fact Olivia had swapped Walford for sunny South Africa and took to social media to share their excitement...

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However, this isn't the first time that Olivia has been on TV... in fact, she has quite the CV when it comes to acting. 

Olivia Hawkins headshot for Love Island 2023

Olivia Hawkins is currently in this year's Winter Love Island.  (Image credit: ITV)

Before joining the Winter Love Island 2023 lineup, she appeared in a film with Jason Statham, played a waitress in a James Bond film alongside Daniel Craig and has also been a body double for Michelle Keegan and Harry Potter star Emma Watson.

Tonight's EastEnders sees Zack worrying about whether he has passed HIV on to Whitney and their unborn baby. When the blood results from Whitney's antenatal tests arrive, will Zack be forced to admit what has really got him so rattled recently? 

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Winter Love Island 2023 started on Monday, January 16 and new episodes are airing every day.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.