Grange Hill star Lee MacDonald joins EastEnders

Grange Hill star Lee MacDonald is joining EastEnders, 32 two years after his role as Zammo McGuire.

MacDonald had played the role of Zammo on the BBC series from 1982 to 1987. The character struggled with drug addiction, marking a landmark storyline that raised awareness of addiction’s impact; he even led the cast in the anti-drug charity single “Just Say No”, a cover of a La Toya Jackson song, which became a top ten hit.

He also made cameo appearances on Birds of a Feather, The Bill and a TV version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A source told The Sun: “EastEnders have made some surprise signings in the past and this is up there. Nobody saw this coming but it’s a great nostalgia trip for viewers.”

The actor will appear in two episodes of the BBC One soap this summer, playing a bus driver who competes against Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter in a radio competition in order to win gig tickets.

MacDonald had retired from television and now runs a locksmiths and key-cutting business. He initially became a boxer, but a car crash forced him to withdraw from the sport.

He said in a statement: “I am absolutely chuffed to bits and so excited to be briefly joining the cast of EastEnders. I can’t say too much yet but watch this space. Top banana!”

“My agent wants me to drop the shop. She says I should try and push myself as an actor and not a locksmith. But I’m quite happy to say I’m a locksmith, ’cos that’s what pays the mortgage!”