'EastEnders' star Adam Woodyatt reveals he might never return to the soap

Adam Woodyatt EastEnders
EastEnders legend Adam Woodyatt at the British Soap Awards. (Image credit: Getty Images)

EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt has revealed that his iconic character Ian Beale may never return to the Square after he stepped back to focus on theatre work in January. 

Ian hasn't been on screen since he fled Walford following Sharon's (Letitia Dean) sinister plot to kill him. After heading to the train station and throwing his phone away, Ian disappeared without a trace.

Following his dramatic departure, Adam told Metro that his character might be gone for good, depending on what future storylines allowed. He revealed: "I won’t be going back until this time next year at the absolute earliest. I’m committed to touring with Looking Good Dead until the end of October. I’m then going to America because my daughter is getting married."

He added: "Then hopefully we’re going to pick the tour up and do some of the venues that were originally planned but that we hadn’t managed to get to. That’s likely to be January to April. And EastEnders might not want me back!

"We could get a new boss in who goes: ‘Beale’s gone, we don’t need him anymore.’"

But even if Ian was to leave the soap for good, Adam said he believed his character would continue to be a part of EastEnders due to how long he'd been on the long-running soap. Adam explained: "I think even if I actually left, I’d still be part of the fabric. Ian will always be associated with the Square.

"People still talk about Den and Angie, and they haven’t been on the programme in 32 years, so I think I will always be there in people’s minds."

Adam Woodyatt first joined EastEnders in 1985, making him the longest-serving cast member to date. He is also the only remaining original character to have appeared continuously throughout the soap, meaning Ian Beale has had quite the impact on cast and fans alike.

During his time on the soap, he's been involved in a number of storylines including several marriages. In fact, Ian is the most married character on the soap having married five women: Cindy Williams, Mel Healy, Laura Dunn, Jane Collins, and Sharon Watts as well two called-off engagements to Mandy Salter and Denise Fox.

EastEnders airs on BBC1.

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress