Shane Richie is about to step back into EastEnders after three years away from the soap when Alfie Moon arrives in Walford to make trouble for his ex-wife Kat, just as she's about to get married!
After months of prison visits and family stress, Kat and Phil finally have reason to celebrate as their dream wedding day arrives. But not everyone is thrilled about their impending nuptials and the couple’s excitement is short-lived when Kat’s ex Alfie Moon makes a surprise return to Walford with one thing on his mind — getting Kat back!
Kat’s furious to see Alfie on eve of her marriage to Phil, and when he gets down on bended knee and begs her not to go through with the wedding she gives him short shrift. But, convinced there’s still something between them, Alfie refuses to give up!
"Alfie’s still burning a candle for Kat and he tries to convince her that she feels the same,’ says Shane Richie, who plays him. "Twenty years later and after all the things that have happened between Kat and Alfie, there’s still a spark there."
Alfie’s not the only one trying to scupper the big day, however.
Sharon’s feelings for Phil have never gone away, either, and she also makes a last-ditch attempt to win him back by handing him an old photo of the two of them, telling him how good they were together.
Later, when word gets back to Kat about Sharon’s play for Phil, it leads to an almighty showdown between the love rivals. But Kat’s soon got more to worry about when her sons Bert and Ernie sneak into Alfie’s van and end up on his boat.
With just hours to go before the ceremony, Kat frantically goes to collect her twin boys. But when they refuse to get off the boat, things get out of control, making Kat late for her own wedding. As the atmosphere in the church becomes unsettled, an anxious Phil remains unaware that Alfie is doing everything in his power to convince Kat that marrying Phil is the wrong idea. But will it be enough to change Kat’s mind?
"Alfie has become Phil’s nemesis!" says Shane. "But is Alfie going to get back with Kat? I can’t tell you!"
Interview: Shane Richie reveals why he came back to EastEnders
How does it feel to be back?
Shane Richie: "It’s strange. Good strange. It’s very different now. When I left around three or four years ago, I came in to do a storyline where Alfie got pushed down the stairs and I left to go and do something else. I do a lot of theatre and touring in theatre companies where there’s a sense of community, and now turning up here on set again, in the EastEnders' cast, producers, directors and writers there’s a real sense of a theatre community.
"It's changed now and I think it’s down to new executive producer Chris Clenshaw because he’s grown up with this show. It’s in his DNA and he knows how people work. I’ve come back and I feel like I’m part of something that’s so strong at the moment."
How have things changed since you were last in EastEnders?
"I'll give you an example of when I turned up here again. I’ve known Steve McFadden for a long time and the only time I used to see Steve before was when we were on set. Now I see Steve sitting down in the Green Room area, which is open plan and we’ve got our own little Costa Coffee and everyone in there and the scripts are there and I see Steve there to meet with and I’ve never experienced that before.
"With all the cast there’s a real sense of camaraderie and it feels so positive right now. I never used to get access to the writers before but now I’m getting emails from the young writer who's written episodes that Kat and Alfie. This isn't just about the actors, writers, producers or directors, everybody’s in this together and coming into that is a real buzz. Everyone really does care about each other. The direction the show is going in now feels so strong."
It feels like it was a no brainer to say yes to coming back…
"Well I’ll tell you now, I was on tour playing a drag queen in the Everyone's Talking About Jamie musical at the time and I got the phone call from Chris Clenshaw and he said, listen I’ve got this idea of bringing Alfie back. And then he sold it to me. He said, listen we want the old Alfie because over the years there’s been all very different Alfies and my favourite Alfie is from 2002 to 2005, look it up! And that’s the Alfie we’ve got back!
"I tell you what was funny, I said to Chris, what am I going to wear? And he said, I want the flowery shirts and everything, and I was like shut up I’m a bloke in my 50s now! And then I met up with Tony Jordan, who created the Mitchells, the Moons, the Slaters back in the day and he turned up in a flowery shirt and leather jacket and boots on and was like, oh okay it’s alright for a bloke in his 50s I’ll wear it! And so Chris was so instrumental in telling me the long-term storyline with Alfie, and it’s the old Alfie, you know the guy who looked after his Nana Moon and wore his heart on his sleeve and tries to make light of everything, but you know through his own innocence and naivety still gets it wrong."
So we're getting a more lighthearted Alfie this time?
"The drama only works on a show like this when you get the light and the shade and I’m happy to come in and bring the lightness. If we can get Alfie getting up to his old tricks and his scams. Is he going to get back with Kat? I can’t tell you, keep watching!
I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.
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