He's been in EastEnders less than a month, but Woody Woodward has already won our hearts, and proved that Lee Ryan's a cracking actor. Who knew?
But we're feeling a bit blue (geddit?) knowing that Woody will be waving goodbye to Walford soon. It's no secret that the character was only coming into the show for a short stint, but we're hoping it's not going to be last orders for the popular bar manager.
We think Woody has more than earned his right to become a permanent fixture, and to argue our case we've come up with 9 strong reasons why he should stick around in the Square for good. Wanna hear them?
1. He livens things up in The Queen Vic
Woody rode into Walford at just the right time, as we were beginning to reach our limits with never-ending Carter doom and gloom. Instead of joining the family's pity party, the wily Woodward was straight to work trying finding new ways to bring in some much-needed business for the boozer.
And you've got to admit some of his ideas were pretty good. Ladies' Night? Now that was a proper laugh – it even made sour Shirl crack a smile. With a touch of Woody's magic, the Walford waterhole would become the only place you'd want to drink in E20. No wonder canny Linda thought he was just the man for the job.
2. He's a hit with the ladies
Woody's got the potential to be a right womaniser – just look at how he was undressing Whit with his eyes one minute, then treating Tina to a bit of slap and tickle the next. The cheeky Essex charmer has already bedded one woman in Walford, so it would be rude to cut his fun short.
We can see him having a naughty little fling with Fi – that might loosen her up a bit, or maybe even Michelle (she likes a younger man), but we think Woody's actually most suited to Whit. Not only is he a breath of fresh air compared to her troubled ex Lee, but he'd also be a good reason to stop her lusting after her father-in-law. Oh and any excuse for Woody to get his top off again is fine by us #swoon.
3. He could become Mick's best mate
Or his worst enemy! It remains to be seen. Lee Ryan has promised us there's a Woody/Mick showdown coming our way, and we'd put a fiver on some pretty harsh words being exchanged. The Carter landlord's slightly overprotective when it comes to his family and beloved pub, but once he realises Woody's got his best interests at heart, we think the two of them could become tight-knit bessies.
It's a dream pairing too – they both love a bit of bants, and no offence, but we just don't buy Mick being all pally with the likes of local bore Ian Beale. Woody and Mick are where it's at.
4. He doesn't take any crap
Just look how Woody took charge when the chips were down and sacked local treasure Tracey to cut back on costs. Cutthroat! Okay, so he made an unpopular decision getting rid of the legendary Vic barmaid after 30 years of loyal service, but we like his ballsy approach to sorting things out.
And look how he didn't bow down to pressure from most of the Square and join their revolution to reinstate Trace. He didn't even listen to what Shirley had to say on the matter. Brave or very stupid? We can't decide, but at least it shows he's not afraid to go against what the crowd want.
5. He's got a heart of gold
Despite the whole Tracey debacle (we'll say no more of it, as long as he re-hires her), Woody's not a bad bloke – far from it in fact. We actually think he's a real softie. Remember when he went out to buy that ball to cheer up poorly Lady Di? Now if that's not adorable, then we don't know what is.
He was quick to offer Tina a shoulder to cry on – yeah okay, he might have had a bit of an ulterior motive, but the thought was there, eh? Woody's also picked up on the vibe that Whitney's a bit of a lost soul. Can he reach out and help the barmaid with some Woody words of wisdom?
6. Lee Ryan's a really good actor
As the lead vocalist of Blue, we knew Lee had some pipes on him, we also knew he was no stranger to acting up for the cameras (yes, we're referring to that questionable stint in the CBB house), but what we didn't realise was that Mr Ryan was a bit of a natural actor to boot.
Popstar to soapstar is often a tricky transition, and it sometimes can take the person a while to bed in, but Lee's performance has been an instant huge hit with the fans. Woody may have only been hanging around for a few weeks, but somehow it feels like the buff biker was always destined to stand behind that bar.
7. He could bring in his faaamily to Walford
If Woody's this much fun, can you imagine how awesome a whole load of Woodwards would be? We can imagine a gobby matriarch mum, a salt-of-the-earth type dad, and maybe even a younger, slightly more mischievous brother.
The EastEnders writing team could run wild with this one, and don't you think we need some new blood in the Square? Failing that, just make the Carters Woody's surrogate family. We'd like the opportunity to watch Woody and his great mate Linda in action together – and can you imagine how much of a riot he would be with saucy Elaine?
8. Just to keep winding Shirley up
Woody just keeps on poking the old dragon, doesn't he? From the second he walked through those pub doors, the temporary manager has been rubbing Shirley up the wrong way. Didn't anyone tell him that Mick's mumma doesn't like being told what to do?
And despite having his head bitten off approximately twenty five times a day, Woody doesn't seem fazed in the slightest by the cross Carter, which is one of the many reasons we heart him so much. Having said that, Shirley's bark is worse than her bite, and we've got a sneaking suspicion she thinks Woody's okay really.
9. So he can create some new cocktails
We'll drink to that! Hands up if you fancied a pitcher of Woody's pecker? And no, we're not being rude. That cocktail looked delicious in a highly-lethal kind of way.
Seeing as Woody's a dab hand with the mixers, we think it's only fair that he shares his skills by coming up with a whole new cocktail menu for the Vic. That would be a surefire way to bring in more punters during happy hour. We'll even start him off. What about a 'Dot Cotton' as his first concoction? Lashings of sweet sherry with just a hint of holy water? Ooh, I say!
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest EastEnders gossip, as Whitney's love life takes a twist and Denise has an explosive row with Kim.
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