Saturday 20 July 2019

Memorable soap opera comebacks

EastEnders is bringing back an old favourite, continuing a tradition of remarkable returns.

Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale in EastEnders. (BBC)
Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale in EastEnders. (BBC)

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

Robert Kazinsky is set for a soap opera comeback when he returns to EastEnders to reprise his role as Sean Slater.

Producers of the show have hailed Slater as an “icon” of EastEnders, and shared their excitement at the planned return.

After a 10-year absence from the show, Slater’s reappearance will fit into a long tradition of soap opera comebacks.

EastEnders producer Kate Oates welcomed the move, saying: “I’m beyond delighted to see Rob back in Albert Square and back at the heart of the Slater family.

“As an actor, Rob created a modern EastEnders icon in Sean.”

The show has had its share of comebacks over the years, and other soaps have been keen to recall key characters from the past.

Here is a list of some of the most memorable comebacks.

1. Den Watts

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EastEnders Dennis Watts (Leslie Grantham) with screen wife Angie (Anita Dobson) carving the Christmas turkey (PA)

After becoming a terror on Albert Square during the 1980s, Den Watts was killed off in 1989 when the character was shot and fell into a canal.

But “Dirty Den”, played by Leslie Grantham, was to reappear in 2003 for a two-year stint on the show before being killed off for a second time.

2. Harold Bishop

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Ian Smith who played Harold Bishop (Anthony Devlin/PA)

A veteran of  the Australian soap Neighbours, Harold Bishop vanished near a cliff edge in 1991 after suffering a heart attack.

But Ian Smith’s character returned in 1996, and his second spell on the show was far longer than the first, lasting until 2009, then followed by shorter appearances.

3. Peter Barlow

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Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) on Coronation Street (ITV)

Peter Barlow has made several returns to Coronation Street since he first appeared in the 1980s, with darker storylines now surrounding Chris Gascoyne’s character.

Since his time off the show between 2003 and 2007, alcoholism and imprisonment have been among his many misfortunes.

4. Vera Duckworth

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Jack Duckworth is finally reunited with Vera (Ian Cartwright/ITV)

Also on Coronation Street, a very brief return for the veteran Corrie character Vera Duckworth, played by Liz Dawn.

She appeared as a vision in a brief though poignant scene in 2010, after the character died in 2008, to dance with husband Jack in his final appearance.  After berating him, the pair shared a kiss before Jack died peacefully.

5. Silas Blissett

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Silas, played by Jeff Rawle, after he kidnapped heavily pregnant Mercedes Fisher, played by Jennifer Metcalfe, on her wedding day (Channel Four)

Silas Blissett was a terrifying addition to Hollyoaks. He vanished in 2012 after tormenting Texas Longford, planning to leave her living in fear.

Blissett, played by Jeff Rawle, returned as the soap opera serial killer in 2016, to further bloodshed.

6. Kathy Beale

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Gillian Taylforth as she made her return as Kathy Beale (Kieron McCarron/BBC)

Kathy Beale had a staggering 15-year break from Albert Square after the character supposedly perished in a car crash.

But after a break from EastEnders between 2000 and 2015, Gillian Taylforth returned to the role, in which Beale struggles with an abusive marriage.

PA Media

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