Iconic character to return to EastEnders after 30 years


EastEnders viewers are in for a treat! Lord Michael Cashman is set to return to the BBC soap as one of Walford's most popular residents Colin Russell.

The actor will appear in two episodes in September – 30 years after he first made his appearance on the show. He was involved in one of the programme's most discussed storylines at the time, which saw the first gay kiss on a British soap.

Producers are remaining tight-lipped on the exact details of Michael's storyline, but his return is set to raise big questions for Dot, played by June Brown.



Lord Michael Cashman will reprise his role as Colin Russell

Michael, who founded Stonewall charity in 1989, told BBC: "It was a real joy, indeed a privilege, to return to my old home of Albert Square. To be amongst so many friends again, and to be back in the place where 30 years ago I started an amazing journey. An amazing journey which incredibly helped to change the country, and certainly its attitude to lesbian gay and bisexual people.

"Arguably without EastEnders I would never have gone into politics; I would not have been one of the founders of Stonewall and its founding chair, and I would never have ended up where I am now.

"As Shakespeare would have said by returning to where it all started 'the wheel has turned full circle'. And the exquisite joy of having my scenes with the incredible 'Dame' June Brown was a bonus beyond anything else."


Michael is remembered for performing the first gay kiss on a British soap

Michael, 65, starred on EastEnders for three years until February 1989. The actor, who has also appeared in Doctor Who, turned to politics and became a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands constituency from 1999.

He stood down in 2014 and following this, he was appointed the Labour Party's special envoy on LGBT issues worldwide.

The actor has received great support with fans taking to Twitter to express their excitement. Michael sadly lost his husband Paul Cottingham two years ago and replying to one fan's tweet, he wrote: "Delighted it has happened. Paul always wanted me to return. x".

In a reply to another post he wrote: "It was thirty years ago that I first went into the show, in dark difficult times for LGBT people. Very dark indeed."

"So deeply moving to see all these lovely tweets. The BBC, Julia Smith, Tony Holland, all showed amazing courage. x," he added.

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