Grantchester actor to star in EastEnders – as popular character returns after 5 years away

EastEnders is set to bring a fan-favourite character back to Albert Square after five years, as Johnny Carter will be returning home.

The character has so far been played by two actors – Ted Reilly and Sam Strike – and will now be recast by a Grantchester favourite.

Charlie Suff, who played Tommy Wilson on ITV's popular period drama, is gearing up to take a stab at the solicitor, who is Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Linda Carter's (Kellie Bright) son.

Johnny left Walford in 2018, when he said goodbye to his parents and headed off in search of new adventures up north in Manchester. The youngster, who was an openly gay character on the BBC soap, had bagged himself a new role at a law firm.

Now the soap is bringing Johnny back after he realises his mum Linda is in trouble and needs his support. It also comes in the wake of Mick's mysterious disappearance last year, which came as a result of Danny's decision to exit EastEnders.

As the news was officially confirmed, Charlie said: "I’m so delighted to be joining such an iconic programme – EastEnders was always on at my house when I was growing up. Johnny is a complex character who has been through so much, which I can’t wait to explore.

“I’ve found EastEnders to be the most kind and loving space to work in, and I already feel like one of the family," the actor added, and EastEnders boss Chris Clenshaw said the crew were "delighted to welcome Charlie Suff to the role of Johnny Carter".

"Although we haven’t seen Johnny on the Square in almost five years, his character remains linked to the show and its most iconic venue, The Queen Vic," he went on. "Since his short time away, the Carter family dynamics have changed significantly, and it’s safe to say that Johnny will be returning to a very different Walford than the one he left."

Johnny first left the soap when he was played by Sam Strike, later returning to Walford as Ted. The actor then announced he would be leaving the soap in late 2017, as fans geared up for a potentially tragic exit storyline for the character.

Thankfully, bosses later confirmed that they would be leaving the door open for Johnny to return in the future, so he was offered an exciting new job opportunity instead.

Mick and Linda were heartbroken to say goodbye to their son at the time, especially as Johnny's siblings Lee Carter and Nancy Carter had already departed the soap. Linda will undoubtedly be over the moon to welcome her beloved son back with open arms next year.

While the Carter family have gone through their fair share of heartache and rollercoasters, in real life the actors were thick as thieves.

Ahead of his final goodbye to Walford after nine years as Mick, Danny shared snaps from a Carter family reunion in London in 2022. The star was joined by Kellie, Nancy star Maddy Hill and original Johnny actor Sam, who left the soap in 2014, during a sunny summer outing at a rooftop bar.

The group were all smiles as they posed together at swanky establishment The Ned, proving the Carters could take their pub antics to more of an upmarket joint for a change.

Sam also shared a snap of the family get together to his Instagram followers. In the group photo, the four cosied up together with the London skyline as their backdrop.

Sam captioned the snap: "Always fam," followed by a black heart emoji. With Johnny's return to the Square imminent, time will tell if any of the Carters are set to join their mum Linda once more.

EastEnders continues Wednesday at 7.30pm on BBC One

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