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EastEnders fans will be disappointed to hear that Adam Woodyatt's soap return might be later than they hoped.
The Ian Beale actor is on a hiatus from the BBC soap and is currently touring with the theatre production Looking Good Dead, which was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The star has never set an actual date for his return to Albert Square but had indicated that it would probably be in 2022.
Fans missing Ian's antics had been crossing their fingers that it would be early in the year, but it now seems it could be as late as May.
Adam is starring in Peter James' Looking Good Dead from 25 January to 2 April, so it's thought he might not be back in Walford until sometime after that.
The actor has played Ian since 1985, making him the soap's longest-serving cast member, and he is a big favourite with viewers.
Many have been pleading for his return in recent weeks.
"When is Ian Beale coming back? I miss the guy," tweeted one, while another fan said: "I truly miss Ian!"
"Get back to EastEnders soon," urged another.
As if things weren't bad enough for Ian fans, Adam gave them a bit of a fright this summer when he joked that he might not return to the Square at all.
He told Metro he was touring with Looking Good Dead until the end of October then was heading to the US for his daughter's wedding.
"Then hopefully we're going to pick the tour up and do some of the venues that were originally planned but that we hadn't managed to get to," he said.
"That's likely to be January to April.
"And EastEnders might not want me back!
"We could get a new boss in who goes, 'Beale's gone, we don't need him anymore'."
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