EastEnders fans work out Ian Beale New Year return twist

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EastEnders residents paid their respects to Dot Cotton (played by June Brown) on Monday. In a touching episode, fans watched as several characters returned to celebrate Dot’s life however, BBC viewers were not expecting to see Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) turn up.

In the episode, Walford’s residents filled the square as Dot’s funeral procession made its way to the church for the service. 

Once everyone had arrived, Ian was spotted watching from afar.

“Goodbye, Dot. I’ll miss you,” he remarked as he held back tears.

Ian’s phone then rang and he was heard telling the caller: “Hello love. I’m coming home.”

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The stalwart walked off as the funeral service began inside the church. 

EastEnders fans were thrilled to see a familiar face but were left with several questions about Ian’s mystery caller.

@ruth_clark asked: “#EastEnders so who was on the phone to Ian, Jane?”

@trevorsroyle theorised: “Ian only said love to jane so i think they’re back together #EastEnders.”

@RyanTheSoapking begged: “Please don’t let Ian’s return be a one off. He needs to come back full time with Jane. #EastEnders.”

@Alex05923602 admitted: “I wanna know who Ian was on the  phone too Im sidetracked from the funeral tbh #EastEnders.” (sic)

“Ian is definitely on the phone to Jane!! They’re coming back next year aren’t they #EastEnders,” @sharonsstacey suggested. 

@itsterrismith questioned: “Was not ready to be tipped over the edge by #eastenders but also wheres Ian Beal off to and who’s ‘love’.” (sic)

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Ian departed EastEnders in January 2021 after discovering Sharon Watts’ (Letita Dean) plot to kill him following his involvement in Denny Rickman’s (Bleu Landau) death.

Meanwhile, Jane Beale (Laurie Brett) hasn’t been seen in Walford since 2012.

Could this be the beginning of a return plot for the couple?

Speaking to Express.co.uk and other press, show boss Chris Clensham opened up on the decision to bring back Adam as Ian for Dot’s funeral.

He said: “I called Adam and told him our plans and said, ‘Ian has to be there’. And he agreed. He wanted to be there for June.”

EastEnders fans will be pleased to know Jane could have been the mystery caller.

Chris added: “Ian was on the phone to someone… we know who that is…”

Old friends Colin Russell (Lord Michael Cashman CBE),  Barry Clark (Gary Hailes) George ‘Lofty’ Holloway (Tom Watt), Mary ‘the punk’ Smith (Linda Davidson) and Disa O’Brien (Jan Graveson) joined Dot’s step-granddaughter Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) in Monday’s episode. 

EastEnders airs on BBC from Monday to Friday at 7.30pm.

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