EASTENDERS has kicked off a horrifying child sexual abuse storyline after it was revealed Mick Carter had fathered his long-lost daughter Frankie when he was just 12.
But what fans really want to know is will Frankie's mother Katy Lewis – who abused Mick while he was in care and fell pregnant – be coming to Walford any time soon? Here's the lowdown on who has come and gone out of the BBC One soap cast in 2020…
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1. Dot Cotton (June Brown) – leaving
Walford legend June Brown shocked fans on February 21, 2020 when she announced she had quit her role as chain-smoking hypochondriac Dot Cotton.
Fans were left fearing she’d quit in January 2020 after Dot left a voicemail for Sonia Fowler saying she’d moved to Ireland – and it seems they were right.
Speaking in an interview, June – who has played Dot for 35 years – said: “I don’t want a retainer. I’ve left. I’ve left for good.”
She added: “I’ve sent myself to Ireland and that’s where she’ll stay. I’ve left EastEnders.”
2. Dennis Rickman (Bleu Landau) – leaving
The long-awaited death of a major character during the 35th anniversary week turned out to be Dennis – Sharon’s tearaway son.
Denny defied Sharon’s orders and made his way onto the doomed vessel ahead of its deadly crash.
Ian Beale then sealed Dennis' tragic fate by locking him below deck to teach him a lesson for bullying his son Bobby.
When the boat crashed, Ian did come back to rescue Denny by breaking the door down with a fire extinguisher.
But unfortunately for young Denny, the damage was already done.
3. Honey Mitchell (Emma Barton) – returning
EastEnders character Honey returned in September 2020 with a new lease of life.
The shop assistant had been taking a temporary break from the Square to overcome her eating disorder brought on by her ex Adam’s affair with Habiba.
Fans were thrilled when Honey humiliated him in a Queen Vic-style showdown before hitting him over the head with a bin and sending him on his way.
Following Adam’s departure, Honey’s ex Billy discovered the extent of her eating disorder and encouraged her to seek help for her problem.
Honey then departed from the Square to stay with a relative.
Unfortunately for Honey, spoilers have revealed her bad luck won’t end there as her date is set to take a disastrous turn in upcoming scenes when a man spikes her drink.
4. Kim Fox (Tameka Empson) – returning
EastEnders legend Kim has been off screens for a few months while actress Tameka Empson took a temporary break.
The character returned on Christmas Day 2019 via a video call and revealed she’d been working as a tour guide in Scotland.
Tameka is expected to appear in person at some point this year.
5. Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner) – returning
Fan favourite Stacey Slater left the Square in 2018 to accommodate Lacey Turner’s maternity leave.
The character made a brief appearance in the autumn of last year but ran for the hills when she got a frosty welcome from Martin Fowler.
Martin pretended to have been unfaithful – in order to protect her from Ben Mitchell’s threats
Stacey then made another brief appearance in May 2020 when she was heard in a phone call to Kush Kazemi who was trying to lure her back to the Square to look after her mum Jean.
Stacey returned with a bang in September 2020 to the shocking news that Ruby and Martin had shacked up in her absence.
Stacey then received another blow then the lovebirds came back from holiday married.
And official spoilers have revealed things are only going to get worse for Stacey as Ruby hatches a plan to drive the Slaters out of Walford with the help of Suki Panesar.
Suki will prey on Kush’s gambling addiction and invite him to a poker night next week in the hope of bleeding him dry and kicking the Slaters out of the Square.
6. Bex Fowler (Jasmine Armfield) – leaving
EastEnders actress Jasmine Armfield has quit the BBC One soap after five years as Bex Fowler.
The Sun Online revealed in January that Jasmine had filmed her final scenes already, and she departed in March 2020 to go travelling.
The troubled teen has been embroiled in some hard-hitting storylines which culminated in an attempt to take her own life last summer.
7. Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) – leaving
Danny Walters made a dramatic comeback to EastEnders ahead of the show’s 35th anniversary.
The former mechanic continued his feud with Phil and Ben aboard the doomed party boat, which in turn, led to its devastating crash.
But Keanu left again with his tail between his legs after being rejected by Sharon and refused a chance at parenting baby Kayden.
8. Leo King (Tom Wells) – leaving
EastEnders fans were left stunned when Leo ended up falling on his knife – and dying a grisly death – as he tried to attack Whitney Dean after spying on her from her attic.
His exit was the beginning of a huge storyline for Whitney Dean, who handed herself into the police and is now in the midst of a doomed-looking murder trial and probable life behind bars.
9. Daniel Cook (Ade Edmondson) – leaving
Daniel lost his battle against cancer last month and passed away peacefully with the love of his life, Jean Slater, right by his side.
We knew his exit had been coming for a while, after Daniel returned in the new year and declared he’d faked his death last year to put Jean out of her misery.
But his return meant that Jean had to grieve for him twice…
10. Peter Beale (Dayle Hudson) – returning
Peter Beale returned to EastEnders during the week of 35th anniversary episodes following a four year absence.
The role has been reprised by rising star Dayle Hudson, who took over the reins from former actor Ben Hardy following his exit in 2015.
Fans are now hoping for his ex-girlfriend Lauren Branning’s return next after Jaqueline Jossa hinted that the door will always be open for her character’s comeback.
11. Danny Hardcastle (Paul Usher) – joining
Gangster Danny arrived back on the Square in March 2020 with a business proposition for Ben.
But Danny – who is played by former Brookside and The Bill star Paul Usher – exploded when he discovered Ben’s boyfriend Callum was joining the police.
The Liverpudlian hardman was last seen threatening Phil mitchell for money after their business in Spain folded.
12. Suki Panesar (Balvinder Sopal) – joining
Suki Panesar arrived in the New Year with quite the dramatic entrance, fainting in her daughter Ash’s arms.
The newcomer had been worming her way into her children’s lives on the Square by lying about having cancer, but was exposed as a liar in public by Jean Slater.
The manipulative mother eventually managed to convince her sons that it was their fault she’d lied about the cancer and gained another chance at playing happy families.
The landlord is continuing her reign of terror on the Square, however, and has threatened to evict the Slaters if they can’t pay the increased rent.
13. Ellie Nixon (Mica Paris) – joining
British singer Mica Paris has joined the cast of EastEnders as Raymond’s grandmother Ellie, first appearing in September after a fatal crash orphaned the poor toddler.
Ellie has since locked horns with Raymond’s biological mother Denise Fox, and ruffled a few feathers when she offered to hand him over to Phil for £150k.
Speaking about her character’s upcoming feud with Denise, Mica Paris teased: "It's a tug of war.
“Denise wants her son for her own reasons and Ellie wants him for her own reasons too, this little boy is stuck in the middle."
14. Frankie Lewis (Rose Ayling Ellis) – joining
EastEnders newcomer Frankie Lewis arrived in the Square back in May.
Callum quickly took her under his wing after realising she was deaf in the hope that she'd help Ben manage to overcome his hearing loss following the boat disaster.
The newcomer quickly unsettled Mick Carter by showing a bit too much of an interest in his family, and shocked him out of his skin when she revealed she was his estranged daughter.
Frankie’s arrival has kicked off a childhood abuse storyline after it was revealed that Mick fathered Frankie when he was only 12.
Soap bosses have confirmed that Mick will slowly come to terms with the fact that he was abused by Frankie’s mother Katy Lewis when he was in care as a child.
15. A mystery newcomer (Simone Lahbib) – joining
Simone Lahbib has been cast as a mystery character in EastEnders
The soap recently cast former Bad Girls actress Simone Lahbib as a mystery character set to be connected to the Carters.
The news left EastEnders fans predicting that Simone will play Mick’s abuser and Frankie’s mother Katy.
But with soap bosses keeping quiet, viewers will have to tune in to see whether Simone will be playing Katy.
The executive producer said: "We’re delighted to welcome Simone to Walford.
"Her character’s links to the Carter family will form part of an important new storyline for Mick in particular.
"It’s a story that we look forward to sharing with the audience – with its impact on the Carters set to be everlasting."
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