EastEnders 'signs up' Hollywood actor as cast film funeral scenes for soap legend

The Albert Square sign on the set of EastEnders
The EastEnders cast were joined by a Hollywood star as they filmed funeral scenes for a soap icon. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders has reportedly signed up Hollywood star Alan Ford as the cast were spotted filming heartbreaking funeral scenes for the legendary Aunt Sal (Anna Karen).

Alan, who is best known for acting in Guy Ritchie gangster movies Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, was seen filming on location as he makes an appearance at the funeral of much-loved Aunt Sal.

A source told The Sun: “Alan’s a great signing by bosses. He’s a huge star who fans will be delighted to see on the soap. His character has a long connection to the Mitchells.”

The insider added: “Aunt Sal was a stalwart of the soap and she’ll be done proud with the scenes.”

Aunt Sal was the witty sister of Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) who first appeared in 1996 and was known for showing up to Mitchell family occasions with something funny to say about the people in attendance.

Anna karen and Barbara Windsor

Aunt Sal and her sister Peggy Mitchell. (Image credit: BBC)

Sal was last seen in Walford during Ronnie (Samantha Womack) and Roxy Mitchell’s (Rita Simons) funeral in 2017 where her sharp tongue saw her blast their mother Glenda (Glynis Barber) for abandoning them as children.

Anna Karen, who played the beloved Aunt Sal, tragically passed away in a house fire last year at the age of 85.

EastEnders will pay tribute to Anna and her legendary character in upcoming scenes, with some of the cast pictured filming Aunt Sal's funeral scenes.

Steve McFadden, Kim Medcalf and Max Bowden, who play Phil, Sam and Ben Mitchell were pictured in black attire for the emotional occasion, as well as Jamie Borthwick (Jay Brown), Shane Richie (Alfie Moon) and Frankie Day (Ricky Jr).

Also joining them in grieving the death of Aunt Sal is Alan Ford, who will star in the funeral episode that will likely air in the new year.

Alan previously appeared in the soap in 1986 as conman Sam Sangers, who tried to con Debbie Wilkins (Shirley Cheriton) out of her late boyfriend Andy's belongings, until Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) sent him away.

It is not known what character Andy will be playing or if he will be reprising his role as Sam.

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. 

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides, recaps and features for must-watch shows and delivers all the latest soap news and reactions. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.

You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series or much-loved UK soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). She's an expert in EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and everything reality-related from Selling Sunset and Married At First Sight UK to 90 Day Fiancé UK. Plus Netflix megahit Virgin River!

Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.