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EastEnders ‘obscure’ blast from the past as character returns after a 24-YEAR absence!

EastEnders Albert Square sign
This isn't this character's first time in Albert Square (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders is currently running a plot that sees gangster Jonah Tyler trying to intimidate Sam Mitchell as she struggles to protect the Mitchell businesses.

But if viewers thought that Jonah seemed a tad familiar when he first arrived on our screens last week, they’d be right.

It turns out that Jonah – played by actor Mark Mooney – made his first appearance in the soap a whopping 24 years ago.

EastEnders Jonah

Jonah's older and wiser (and nastier) these days. (Image credit: BBC)

The gangster appeared in three episodes of the soap back in 1998, where his storyline also involved Phil.

At the time, Jonah worked for the Carters (no, that those ones!), a powerful gangster family.

He and a colleague took Phil hostage after some agro between their boss and George and Annie Palmer had got out of hand.

The Mitchells attempted to help George and ended up getting caught in the crossfire.

EastEnders Phil Jonah

Jonah and Phil go back a long way. (Image credit: BBC)

Looking for George, Jonah and his mate threatened little Courtney so Phil would give him information on his whereabouts.

With George away, Phil revealed that Annie was the one they should be looking for.

Jonah and his pal left to take their revenge on Annie. She ended up badly beaten as Phil couldn't warn her in time. 

EastEnders Jonah

A young Jonah back in 1998. (Image credit: BBC)

Fast-forward 24 years and Jonah is back, having obviously climbed to the top of the gangster tree in the meantime.

And fans were surprised to see EastEnders making use of their own history, one calling Jonah’s return “obscure”. Although they were obviously impressed, adding a “Wow!”.

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EastEnders tweet

(Image credit: BBC)

As Monday’s episode ended, it looked like Sam had dealt with the Jonah issue, by blackmailing local detective Jack into giving her his support and putting the frighteners on the gangster.

But will Jonah really give in so easily?

And would EastEnders go to the trouble of digging so deeply into their past for the returning character only to make a couple of appearances?

EastEnders screens at 7.30pm Monday to Thursday on BBC One.

Steven is a writer, editor, and commentator with a passion for popular TV and soap operas. He spent 20 years as the editor of Inside Soap magazine, documenting every punch-up and pucker-up in the Street, the Square and the village. As a feature writer, he’s covered TV crime dramas, period dramas and even some real-life star dramas. He’s been seen as a talking head on more TV clip shows than he cares to remember, has a life-long passion for TV sci-fi – the older and creakier the better – and is a slight obsessive about any reality show featuring hotels.