FIRST PICTURE of iconic EastEnders characters returning next year - it's so sweet!

(Image credit: BBC)

Legendary characters Lofty and Mary the Punk are making a dramatic return to EastEnders for a huge storyline next year, but their comeback won't be a happy one...

After much speculation, EastEnders has confirmed that Tom Watt and Linda Davidson will be returning to Albert Square as Lofty and Mary the Punk early next year.

But while fans will be delighted to see their old favourites back where they belong, it has been revealed that their return will be for a very sad reason.

They're back! After three decades Lofty and Mary the Punk have returned to Albert Square

They're back! After three decades Lofty and Mary the Punk have returned to Albert Square

The residents of Walford will bid a final farewell to Doctor Harold Legg in the New Year as he sadly loses his battle with pancreatic cancer.

And having been Walford's GP for over a decade, it is only fitting that characters old and new are there to say goodbye.

It has been three decades since we saw Mary 'the punk' Smith and George 'Lofty' Holloway on our screens, but the characters will be returning for just one episode as they pay their final respects to Dr Legg at his funeral.

Dr Legg tells Dot his news.

Dot was reunited with her old friend earlier this year

Linda Davidson said about her return: “EastEnders was my first proper family. It gave me stability and a fantastic foundation from which to build an incredible life.

"The people of EastEnders have been a consistent thread throughout the intervening years. I am so thrilled, and very proud, to be returning to that family 35 years later. It's going to be a blast!”

Tom Watt added: “I was delighted John Yorke asked me if I would return to EastEnders for Doctor Legg’s funeral. Doctor Legg is an iconic character so it feels fitting that Lofty should return to say goodbye.

Dr Legg will forever remain one of EastEnders most loved characters

Dr Legg will forever remain one of EastEnders most loved characters

"I have nothing but good memories from my time on EastEnders so it will be lovely to set foot back in Albert Square all these years later.”

John Yorke, Executive Consultant, EastEnders commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have Tom and Linda back for these small but incredibly important roles.

"As soon as Leonard Fenton agreed to return as Doctor Legg, it seemed just the best possible tribute we could pay both his character and the show. Mary and Lofty are huge iconic characters, and a central part of the shows’ DNA.

"Though both have moved on to hugely successful careers elsewhere we are both thrilled and touched to have them back for one very special episode.”

EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC1.

Picture credits: BBC

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 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.