When Dean Gaffney returns to EastEnders later this month as hapless Robbie Jackson, he'll have a new faithful companion by his side. Viewers will remember that Robbie never got over the death of his beloved German Shepherd Wellard back in 2008 – and when he sees the opportunity to get another dog for his son, he jumps at it.
Typically, things don’t quite go to plan, but at the last minute, Robbie gets his wish. And there is only one possible name for his new four-legged friend - Wellard 2.
Dean Gaffney is returning to EastEnders as Robbie Jackson later this month
"Robbie and Wellard were inseparable, so it seems only right that there will be a Wellard 2," Dean told the Sun ahead of his return to Walford. "I think the viewers are going to love him."
A source added: "Robbie and Wellard were a legendary soap double act so fans were over the moon Robbie was coming back. But there was a tinge of sadness that he would not have his trusty sidekick. He may not be the same dog, but hopefully Wellard 2 will go some way to filling the void."
Dean originally played Robbie between 1993 and 2003, and hasn't been seen in the Square since 2010 when his character made a brief reappearance for the soap's 25th anniversary. His upcoming stint of six episodes will tie in with the departure of his on-screen mother Carol Jackson, played by Lindsey Coulson.
Robbie Jackson with his beloved dog Wellard
On Wednesday, Dean took to Twitter to share his excitement ahead of his return. "The name 'Well'ard' has followed me around for the last 22 years, just when it was dying down they bring in 'Well'ard 2'!!! Ha So happy and blessed right now."
Back in June, the 37-year-old actor opened up about the circumstances surrounding his comeback. "Robbie comes back from India with a son who is four-years-old," he revealed.
"Robbie's grown up a bit and he's got a few more grey hairs, but in many respects he's still the same. He was always hopeless in love and hapless with cash and he returns without a girlfriend and money."