EastEnders’ Phil Mitchell to exit soap as actor Steve McFadden takes panto break

He might be one of the longest-standing characters in EastEnders' history, but it looks as though old-timer Phil Mitchell is moving onto pastures new, as actor Steve McFadden announces plans to leave the soap for a short while.

Steve first appeared in the iconic hard-man role back in 1990, but the on-screen star, 64, will be treading the boards this incoming festive season, with plans to appear in pantomime at Dunstable's Grove Theatre.

Already having several on-stage stints under his belt, Steve will star in the production of Jack and The Beanstalk this winter, with his character soon to announce plans for a vacation from Albert Square.

It has not been confirmed as of yet how the Mitchell patriarch's absence from the widely-adored BBC series will be explained with regards to storyline, but the star has taken several pantomime breaks in the past.

OK! has contacted BBC for comment.

It comes as Lucy Benjamin is set to return to EastEnders as Lisa Fowler more than two decades after her character shot Phil in a dramatic showdown.

The last we saw of Lisa was in 2020, when she helped her daughter Louise (Tilly Keeper) flee Albert Square after thinking she'd left Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) for dead.

The mother and daughter have been bringing up baby Peggy in Portugal ever since, however Lisa is set to return alongside her granddaughter, with the BBC teasing: "It's unclear what has driven her to seek out Keanu but one thing's for sure, where Lisa goes, trouble inevitably follows…"

Speaking about returning to the soap, Lucy said: "I can't wait to make my return as Lisa Fowler again after leaving for Spain with Louise and granddaughter Peggy, back in 2019. No doubt, in true Lisa fashion, she will bring with her plenty of drama for many of the characters on the Square, which is why playing her is such a delight."

EastEnders continues on Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.


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