EastEnders: 80s villain James Wilmott-Brown in shock return to the soap

Surprise on the Square as rapist returns to haunt Kathy Beale

sophie hamilton

On Thursday, EastEnders viewers were left with a cliff-hanger after a mystery man left flowers in tribute to Steven Beale with a message for Kathy. It read: "Kathy, thinking of you always. An old friend." Now all has been revealed. James Wilmott-Brown, who raped Kathy back in 1988, is set to return to the hit soap 25 years after his last appearance. It’s a shock twist for EastEnders fans, and the plot will prove harrowing for poor Kathy.


James Wilmott-Brown – played by actor William Boyde – is on a mission to slowly take over the Square with the help of his family and revenge is the first thing on his mind with Kathy Beale, played by Gillian Taylforth. James ran the Queen Vic pub when he first joined the soap then became Kathy’s boss, going on to rape her in a traumatic attack. Speaking of his return to EastEnders, William Boyde said: "I’m delighted to immerse myself once more in the fascinating world of soap land." 

READ: EastEnders' Mel and Steve Owen reunite in real life – and fans are delighted!

Fans couldn’t believe the news, which was revealed on the soap on Friday night. One viewer tweeted: "I nearly dropped my plate of food when I saw Wilmott-Brown. Then I had to explain to my teen who he was." Another fan wrote: "Credit where credit’s due, that was a fantastic ‘twist’ to what we were all expecting. And to get William Boyde back again? Brilliant." One fan said: "I’m still in shock." Another wrote: "Pete Beale & Dirty Den are turning in their graves!"

Earlier this year, former boss Sean O'Connor hinted that Kathy will be involved in a huge plot. He told Metro at the time: "I'm very, very excited about a massive story for Kathy. She is a legacy character and is embedded in the DNA of the show. Having resurrected Kathy for the Live Week, I felt that we must give her an extraordinary reason for coming back to Walford."

He added: "So that's what we've been working on over the past few months. The story we have for her is absolutely brilliant and it's all to do with her being Kathy Beale." In 2015, Kathy returned to Albert Square - much to the surprise of everyone, but most of all her son Ian. She seemingly came back from the dead after almost a decade.

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