The actor, who has played Ian Beale for 36 years, is currently on hiatus from the BBC soap while he tours with theatre production Looking Good Dead and also has a visit to the States lined up.
He told Metro that his plans are likely to keep him away from Albert Square until the spring of 2022.
And he joked that circumstances could mean that Ian doesn’t go back at all.
Woodyatt said: “I won’t be going back until this time next year at the absolute earliest. I’m committed to touring with Looking Good Dead until the end of October. I’m then going to America because my daughter is getting married.”
The actor, 53, said that after his daughter ties the knot, his play may be staged at some of the venues it missed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“That’s likely to be January to April,” he explained.
“And EastEnders might not want me back!” he joked. “We could get a new boss in who goes, ‘Beale’s gone, we don’t need him anymore’.”
Woodyatt is the soap’s longest-serving cast member, having played Ian since 1985.
But he said that even if he did leave Walford, the character would always be a “part of the fabric” of the soap.
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