Shane Richie has revealed how he kept his return to EastEnders a secret even from his closest co-stars.
The 54-year-old actor was back as Alfie Moon in the BBC One soap on Thursday night after two years away.
Richie starred in EastEnders’ spin-off Redwater with Jessie Wallace (Kat), who has since made her return to Albert Square.
He told Good Morning Britain: “My mum rang me last night from Dublin and said ‘I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about Alfie’…
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) May 24, 2018
“I was snuck in. Jessie’s one of my best friends. I couldn’t even tell her.”
Speaking about his other co-stars, he said: “Jake Wood (Max Branning) texted me, Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) contacted me, saying ‘Are you coming back?’ I said ‘No, I’m away filming Benidorm’. Of course, I wasn’t.”
He said of keeping his return under wraps: “I was snuck in on the back seat of a car, hood over my head, and was locked in a dressing room. None of the other cast knew.”
He hopes that EastEnders’ boss John Yorke will want him back for more, once his current storyline finishes.
“I’d like to think he’s got plans in the future for Alfie,” he said.
“There’s stories to be told and fingers crossed they’ll bring Alfie back to tell those stories.”
Didn't even tell my mum !
— Shane Richie (@realshanerichie) May 24, 2018
Richie also spoke of Dame Barbara Windsor’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, saying: “I imagine me talking to Barbara and her saying ‘I’ve got a little spot of forgetfulness’.
“That’s where I am when I speak to (her husband) Scott (Mitchell). They’re battling on, every day’s a different day for him.”
Shane added: “He’s every man I’d like to be … looking after his lovely wife … He steps up to the mark and he’s a lovely geezer.”