EastEnders stuns fans with return of major character killed off 25 years ago

Michelle ­Collins is set to return to EastEnders as Cindy Beale 25 years after her character was killed off, it was reported Friday (19 May).

She will return with her husband Ian Beale, played by the show’s longest-serving male cast member Adam Woodyatt who went took a hiatus from the role in 2021.

Collins’s character was killed off in 1998. She died in childbirth while serving a prison sentence for hiring a hitman to kill Ian.

News of the characters’ return was reported by The Sun on Friday (19 May) with one source saying: “It’s going to be a bombshell.”

According to the tabloid, the pair have already begun filming. “Ian and Cindy are one of the most memorable couples in soap history,” the source said. “But Cindy has been dead for 25 years – and nobody will see this coming.

“The biggest surprise is that Michelle has so often said there’s no chance she’d come back.”

Adam Wood­yatt and Michelle ­Collins as Ian and Cindy Beale in ‘EastEnders’ (BBC)
Adam Wood­yatt and Michelle ­Collins as Ian and Cindy Beale in ‘EastEnders’ (BBC)

The Independent has contacted the BBC and representatives for Collins and Woodyatt for comment.

In a 2019 interview, Collins shut down the possibility of a comeback. “It’s just too long now – apart from the fact I’m dead. If I went back to EastEnders, that would be it,” she said.

After her career in Albert Square, Collins, 60, went on to join Coronation Street in 2011 to play former Rovers Return landlady Stella Price and left the soap in 2014.

“I’M SORRY WHAT CINDY BEALE IS BEING RESURRECTED?!” One shocked fan tweeted in response to the news.

“Obsessed with EastEnders bringing Cindy Beale back from the dead even though they had her sending messages from beyond the grave before and it just turned out to be her weirdo son – the fact she’s been alive the whole time is cracking me up,” wrote another.

Woodyatt, 54, previously warned that he may never return to EastEnders after going on hiatus from the show in 2021.

EastEnders might not want me back!” He said.

His character Ian is synonymous with his famous “I’ve got nothing left” scene from 2014, which saw him crying in Phil Mitchell’s (Steve McFadden) arms after he found out his daughter had been murdered.

The actor revealed in 2020 that he is sent memes of the crying scene every single day.