EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders aired a sinister return for Dean Wicks in tonight's episode (October 30), as Matt Di Angelo reprises his role after seven years away.
Dean is soon to reveal his plans to make Albert Square his home again and he’s also been unveiled as the Beales’ new business partner.
Fans will soon learn that Dean’s decision to return is driven by his need to be close to the local hospital where his daughter Jade – who has cystic fibrosis – is receiving treatment and awaiting a life-saving lung transplant.
Dean’s return is set to create shockwaves for Linda and several residents on the Square in the lead-up to Christmas.
Here, Matt, who plays Dean, explains why he has returned to the show after all this time, and what happens next.
It’s been over seven years since you last appeared on EastEnders. How does it feel to be back?
"It feels great to be back. I started at EastEnders almost 18 years ago, which seems like a lifetime ago now. I haven’t been back for seven years, so I was thrilled to be asked again for the third time as I love the people and the show."
How has it been filming back in Elstree? Has much changed since your last stint?
"There are a lot of physical changes as there is a whole new Square, which looks exactly the same, but the ins and outs are all the same as before."
Can you tease what brings Dean back to the Square?
"In all honesty, he doesn’t want to come back to Walford. He’s sort of forced back there because his daughter, Jade is very ill. She has cystic fibrosis and needs a transplant, which has to be done at the hospital nearby. Dean has to live there so he’s on call for her appointments and in case the transplant comes through, and they need to move fast.
"He’s reluctant because he knows the repercussions of returning, but ultimately, he has to help his family. Dean also needs to make a living while he’s there, so he’s invested in a new business, which will be revealed as Cindy and Ian’s new pie and mash shop – Beale’s Eels."
Your return has often been speculated about. What was it about this storyline that made you want to return?
"It felt like the right time for me, but also for Dean. When Mick was alive, Dean wouldn’t have dared to come back to the Square because there’s no way Mick would have stood for it. Rightly so, because what Dean did to Linda is unforgivable and even his parents Shirley and Buster turned their backs on him.
"But now Mick’s dead, I think it’s opened up that door to allow Dean to return as Linda doesn’t have him there to back her up. Without Mick, Dean can twist the narrative, and he has more chance of getting away with it."
During his last stint in Walford, Dean never took responsibility for his rape of Linda, and he was acquitted off-screen for his attempted rape of Roxy after pleading not guilty. Has Dean changed, or is he the same vindictive character we saw before?
"With Dean, it’s hard to know whether he accepts the fact that he raped Linda or whether he is so blind to his actions that he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. You watch him, and you think, ‘How can he be so deluded?’
"But I guess my job as an actor is to try to pick apart his inner psyche to see whether, deep down, he accepts that he’s raped Linda. I don’t think his opinion has changed since we last saw him, and I think that the time that’s passed has only convinced him of his position. That’s what is so complex about him.
Viewers have been speculating on your return since the flashforward episode. Can we expect Dean to be involved in Christmas?"
"We know that Linda is involved in the Christmas storyline, and we also know that most people in the Square would like to see the back of Dean. But everyone is going to have to wait to find out if Dean’s the body on The Vic floor because I’m not giving away any clues."
What has it been like working with familiar and new faces?
"It’s great to catch up with old friends, some of whom I’ve known since I was 18 years old, like Natalie Cassidy and Lacey Turner. I’m working really closely with Adam Woodyatt again, which is really great as he’s a really great guy. Without giving too much away, obviously, Dean will cross paths with Linda quite a bit and her new family – the Knights – who are all fantastic and awesome to work with."
Without giving too much away, can you tease what’s in store for your character?
"Dean is back in Walford to help his daughter Jade, but to do that, he needs to make a living and be part of the community. I think the biggest challenge is going to be facing the residents of Walford, as everyone has very strong opinions on Dean, and rightly so."
EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information from Rape Crisis England and Wales, who work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct, on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland's helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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