‘Ian Biel will always be a part of my life’: EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt finally insists he’s ready for Albert Square return 12 months after leaving show for touring play
Adam Woodyatt says he is ready for a theatrical return to EastEnders 12 months after leaving the show to star in a nationwide drama.
The 53-year-old actor is still the show’s longest-serving cast member, having starred as hapless Fish and Chops owner Ian Beale since its February 1985 launch.
But he surprised fans by leaving the fictional London soap last January to run the boards in a theatrical production of Peter James’ novel Looking Good Dead.
Hint: Adam Woodyatt says he’s ready for a theatrical return to EastEnders 12 months after leaving the show to star in a nationwide drama
But he insists that at the end of the year I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here!
He told Sunday Brunch: ‘I feel like I’m going to be seen as Ian Beale for as long as I’m alive. No matter what I do, and what I do, where I go, Ian Beale is always going to be a part of my life.
‘It’s not just my decision, it’s Eastenders too. I left because of the way the story was going, because Ian had to go. I’m not going “I want to go”, or they’re saying “You’re leaving!” That was the story.
Old Time: The actor played hapless fish and chip shop owner Ian Beale for 35 years before leaving in January 2020
Woodyatt spent 35 years playing Ian Beale before leaving last January, with the long-serving actor receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award on the show’s 30th anniversary in 2015.
But he swapped the small screen for the stage after accepting a new role as Tom Bryce, whose life was turned upside down after witnessing a murder in the dramatic crime thriller Looking Good Dead.
The drama, which also stars former Coronation Street actress Gaynor Faye, toured the country during the latter half of 2021 before closing for the winter months in October.
Trading of Boards: Woodyatt swapped the small screen for the stage after accepting a new role alongside Gaynor Faye in the dramatic crime thriller Looking Good Dead (pictured).
There he is: He also appeared in the latest series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
Before his appearance on I’m A Celeb in November, Woodyatt suggested he had no immediate plans to return to the EastEnders, while discussing the play that would reopen at Manchester’s The Lullaby on 22 January.
He told The Mirror: ‘So I literally take Christmas break whenever I leave the castle and then we’re back in rehearsals because Laurie Brett takes over from Gaynor Faye.
‘And then we’re doing that until the end of April. enjoyed working and watching [Laurie] Again. It is a kind of bitter sweet.’
He said: ‘I look forward to Laurie’s arrival, I am going to miss Gaynor as it has been an absolute pleasure to work with her. It’s been great.’
Debut: Woodyatt made his first appearance in September 1985 as Ian Beale