EastEnders' actor James Forde was last seen in the BBC One soap back in 2015, when his character Liam Butcher left Walford with girlfriend Cindy Williams (Mimi Keene), to start a new life together. Three years later, James – now 21 – looks almost unrecognisable in recent photos on social media, which show him sporting a beard and longer hair, which he tends to style in a man bun. The actor has kept a low-key profile away from the spotlight since leaving EastEnders, but recently revealed to a fan on Twitter that if asked, he would return to the show. Earlier in the month, fan site EastEndersWalford asked him: "Would you ever come back James?" to which he replied: "Yes, if Liam ever does make a return I for sure would!"
EastEnders star James Forde doesn't look like this anymore!
In his time in EastEnders, Liam – the son of Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) and Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) - was involved in a number of memorable scenes, including a hard-hitting gang storyline. EastEnders worked closely with Comic Relief to highlight the issue, and the storyline included a short episode that was broadcast during Red Nose Day in 2013. Liam's departure tied into the Who Killed Lucy? storyline, which saw Ian Beale giving him and Cindy a ticket to leave Walford for good after discovering that the pair both knew that young Bobby was the murderer.
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James nows sports longer hair and a beard
And while Liam and Cindy are still enjoying life away from the Square, Liam's younger sister Tiffany made her return to Walford at the beginning of the month. The 14-year-old, played by Maisie Smith, has already been making her mark in the Square with a fake pregnancy, lying to sister Whitney Dean that mum Bianca threatened to kill herself, and narrowly escaping being assaulted by a group of older men.
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Maisie revealed the news of her return to EastEnders on Twitter in November, something which went down a treat with fans on the show. After sharing a photo of herself in character, captioned: "It's official – I'm back on the Square," comments flooded in, with one use saying: "Fab news, can't wait," while another added: "I'm happy you're coming back please don't leave again!" A third said: "Just need @patsypalmerx, @JamesForde96 & Morgan…family reunited!"