EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders' Peter Beale landed back in Walford in tonight's double episode (already available to watch on BBC iPlayer).
Ian's son had only been absent from the show for a year, but his comeback scenes saw former star Thomas reclaim the role of Peter rather than the more recent actor, Dayle Hudson. Ben Hardy also played the character from 2013-2014.
Peter's return story is currently playing out on screen, and he turned up in The Vic at the end of Tuesday's (August 22) final episode.
Peter made the decision to go back to London after learning that he had two sisters, Gina and Anna, who he has never met and knew nothing about.
He was last seen leaving the Square under a cloud last year after stealing Kathy's money, and falling out with both Bobby and Ben.
This time around, EastEnders will show us a softer and more together version of Peter that fans may recognise from Thomas's last stint between 2006 and 2010.
"It was easier in a way because they wanted to show a more mature and put-together side of Peter this time around", Thomas explained.
"I played Peter for such a long time so I felt like I really knew him, but Adam [Woodyatt] and Michelle [Collins] made it easy for me to get back into the role too, as I had to harness onto the fact that Peter just really loves his mum and dad.
"That was pretty easy for me to do because I do love them both. That's not to say that I wasn't nervous on the first day on set but all my nerves went away when I started to work with them."
"Getting the call [to go back] was very cool", he continued. "I was absolutely beaming and I just wanted to get started immediately."
Thomas has admitted, though, that it was hard watching other actors in the role after him.
Speaking to OK! Online, he laughed: "It's like seeing your ex with a more muscular, taller, more handsome version of yourself.
"But those boys must have felt the same, too. I've spoken to both of them about being recast and they've both sent their best wishes."
Explaining how the opportunity came about, Thomas added: "My mum's a chaperone here [at EastEnders], and she introduced herself to Chris Clenshaw at one of the EastEnders parties.
"She obviously mentioned that I'm her son, and I think Chris got very excited by that. In the same week, he'd spoken to Adam, who called me and was like, 'Fancy getting the band back together?'"
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Since leaving EastEnders 13 years ago, Thomas has worked steadily, most recently playing DC Eddie Martin in ITV series The Bay.
"Any experience I've had from other jobs has made me come back here confident in my craft, my choices and decision-making, Thomas added. "If you can work at EastEnders, you can work anywhere.
"I've heard that a few times actually but it's true – the experience I got here before going out into the world is unrivaled and I'm so grateful for all of that time and experience I had from the age of 12 to 18."
"It was really hard to leave [The Bay] as I loved the cast and crew and I felt my character was in a great position. I feel very fortunate to have had both opportunities and coming back to EastEnders feels like coming home."
While Peter's switcheroo is a rare example of reverse recasting in soaps, it's not actually the first time it has happened...
Check out more of our EastEnders coverage:
EastEnders airs on Mondays – Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
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