Entertainment & Arts

Ross Kemp returning to EastEnders for Barbara Windsor's exit

The Mitchells
Image caption The Mitchells were a force to be reckoned with in Albert Square

Ross Kemp is returning to EastEnders as part of a storyline that will see Dame Barbara Windsor exit the soap for good.

Kemp, who last played Grant Mitchell in 2006, said it would be "a brief return".

"When I was approached about returning to EastEnders for Barbara's final episodes, it was something I could not turn down," he said.

Following her surprise return to Albert Square, Dame Barbara announced her character would be killed off.

Her character reappeared on Friday, having left in 2010, to tell her eldest son Phil, played by Steve McFadden, that her cancer had returned.

After the episode, producers revealed that Peggy would die from the disease in emotional scenes to be screened in the spring.

Now Kemp, who played Grant from 1990-1999 and then again in 2005 and 2006, will return to bring the Mitchell family back together.

Image caption Peggy Mitchell, played by Barbara Windsor, joined the soap in 1994

"Barbara is a very close friend, so when I learned of the storyline it felt right that the Mitchell brothers are reunited with their mother for the last time," he said.

"I am really looking forward to going back to EastEnders and filming what are set to be some classic EastEnders episodes."

Grant Mitchell has been one of the soap's most memorable characters in its 30-year history, arriving in 1990 along with brother Phil.

He was involved in repeated family dramas including having an affair with his brother's wife, Kathy, and having his brother go on to marry his ex-wife Sharon.

"Grant Mitchell is an EastEnders legend and finally he is returning home to Walford to say goodbye to his mother and be reunited not just with his old loves but also his brother," said EastEnders executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins.

"To have the Mitchell brothers come face to face again, having to face losing their mother, is an opportunity to show Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden at their very best."

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