EastEnders fans were left blindsided by a surprise cameo from a deceased character in the latest episode.
On Tuesday (29 August), days after the return of Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins), another former cast member returned to the BBC soap for a brief scene that was kept so secret by producers that it came as a total shock to viewers.
In a flashback scene, Cindy is shown to have encountered Arthur “Fatboy” Chubb, who was played by Ricky Norwood.
Norwood previously joined the show in 2010, and his character was killed off five years later. Fatboy shows up briefly in a flashback that sees Cindy returning to Walford, despite being on witness protection, after learning of the murder of her daughter Lucy in 2014.
Fatboy’s return to the soap came as a particular surprise considering it was kept under wraps, and Norwood wrote on Twitter after the episode was broadcast: “Guess who back..!?!? Even for a brief moment… What an episode and what an epic storyline to be a part of.”
He thanked the show’s executive producer Chris Clenshaw “ for making it happen” as well as the show’s “team for keeping it super secret”.
Norwood added, in reference to his former on-screen friend and landlord Dot Branning, played by the late June Brown: “Just wish Mrs B could have been there.”
Fans celebrated his appearance, with many hailing the episode as “the best in a long time”.
Journalist Michael Hogan wrote: “Thrilled to see a Fatboy flashback on tonight’s #EastEnders. Always loved that character and thought he went too soon. V cool of Ricky Norwood to return, albeit briefly. Also enjoying the current regime’s smart appreciation of the show’s past.”
Others were in disbelief over seeing the two characters share a scene with one another. “Imagine telling someone six months ago they’d be a scene between Cindy Beale and Fatboy,” one viewer wrote.
“What a time to be an EastEnders fan,” an additional viewer concluded.