EastEnders cast 2024: everyone leaving, arriving and returning

EastEnders bigwigs are mixing things up this year

Max Bowden as Ben Mitchell, Shona McGarty as Whitney Dean and Clay Milner Russell as Bobby Beale

by Nathan Katnoria |
Updated on

EastEnders bosses are keeping the surprises coming this year following an explosive Christmas, which saw Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) killed off at the hands of Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and Rocky Cotton (Brian Conley) sent down after finally fessing up to starting the fire that destroyed Kathy’s Cafe.

We've already said goodbye to Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) after he was jailed in America and it's been confirmed that Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) will be leaving Walford this year, but now it's been revealed that Clay Milner Russell is bowing out of his role as Bobby Beale too.

It’s not all bad news though as there will be some new faces joining the show, as well as some familiar ones - like Mo Harris (Laila Morse) and Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) - making returns. So, we've rounded up all the EastEnders residents who will be arriving or returning to Walford and those waving goodbye to Albert Square.

Who's leaving EastEnders this year?

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<br>Who's leaving EastEnders this year?

Clay Milner Russell as Bobby Beale in EastEnders1 of 5
CREDIT: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell)

An EastEnders spokesperson has confirmed that Clay Milner Russell, who plays Bobby Beale, will be leaving the soap after five years following reports that he wants to pursue other acting roles. The spokesperson said, "We can confirm that Clay will be leavingEastEnderslater on this year, and we wish him the best for the future."

Tameka Empson as Kim Fox in EastEnders2 of 5
CREDIT: BBC / Kieron McCarron

Kim Fox (played by Tameka Empson)

It's been revealed that Kim Fox will be leaving Albert Square behind after she's offered a job as a social media manager on a cruise. Her boyfriend Howie Danes (Delroy Atkinson) will be leaving with her, but fear not as their departure is only temporary and they'll be back on our screens later in the year.

Kim Medcalf as Sam Mitchell on EastEnders3 of 5
CREDIT: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Sam Mitchell (played by Kim Medcalf)

Sam Mitchell only recently returned to Walford, but it's been confirmed that she's made her exit again after exposing brother Phil's one night stand with Lola's mum Emma. Kim Medcalf has bowed out of her role for now, but she's teased that she could return again one day. "Hopefully, she’ll be back again sometime for another stint of causing chaos," she said.

Max Bowden as Ben Mitchell in EastEnders4 of 5
CREDIT: BBC

Ben Mitchell (played by Max Bowden)

An EastEnders spokesperson recently confirmed that Max Bowden, who joined the show in 2019, will be leaving his role as Ben Mitchell later this year. They added, "We wish him all the best for the future."

Whitney Dean in Walford East5 of 5
CREDIT: BBC

Whitney Dean (played by Shona McGarty)

Shona McGarty confirmed she's leaving EastEnders last year, 15 years after her first appearance, although she'll still be on our screens until later this year. "I have loved my years in the show. I have been trusted with some incredible storylines and have made amazing friendships – and family – which will endure," she said as she announced her departure.

Who's joining EastEnders this year?

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Who's joining EastEnders this year

Alan Ford playing Stevie Mitchell in EastEnders1 of 2
CREDIT: BBC

Stevie Mitchell (played by Alan Ford)

Legendary actor Alan Ford, who starred alongside Brad Pitt in Snatch, is joining EastEnders as Billy Mitchell's (Perry Fenwick) estranged dad, Stevie. It's been 25 years since Billy and Stevie last saw each other off-screen, but they will come face-to-face once again as the Mitchell family prepare to say goodbye to Aunt Sal. On joining the cast of EastEnders, Alan said, “I feel highly delighted to be playing a character close to my own age in this extremely popular television drama series.”

Christopher Fairbank as Eddie Knight, Colin Salmon as George Knight and Elizabeth Counsell as Gloria Knight in EastEnders2 of 2
CREDIT: BBC

Gloria and Eddie Knight (played by Elizabeth Counsell and Christopher Fairbank)

George Knight is set to make a discovery about his identity following the arrival of his adoptive parents, Gloria and Eddie. They turn up in Walford and drop the bombshell that George was adopted via a process known as farming, which saw children advertised for money for parents looking to give children a home.The news leads George to make a discovery about his heritage which causes him to question the identity his parents impressed upon him since his adoption.

Who's returning to EastEnders this year?

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Who's returning to EastEnders this year?

Laila Morse as Mo Harris on EastEnders1 of 5
CREDIT: BBC

Mo Harris (Laila Morse)

The absolute ICON that is Big Mo is returning to Walford permanently following a number of guest appearances after leaving the Square to go on a cruise with Fat Elvis is 2021. Mo won't be alone when she returns either, as she'll be joined by great-grandson Freddie Slater (Bobby Brazier).

“I’m delighted to be coming home to Walford to bring Mo back to life. EastEnders holds such a special place in my heart, and I can’t wait to be reunited with my on screen family, who are like my family, as well as old and new faces," Laila said.

Patsy Palmer as Bianca Jackson in EastEnders2 of 5
CREDIT: BBC / Kieron McCarron

Bianca Jackson (played by Patsy Palmer)

Walford icon of icons Bianca Jackson - aka Patsy Palmer - will be returning to Albert Square for a short stint later this year. It's been four years since her last appearance, but Bianca is back following an off-screen split from partner Terry. Patsy said, "I’m so excited to be reprising the role of Bianca. EastEnders holds such a special place in my heart so it’s always a pleasure to be back.”

Charlie Suff who plays Johnny Carter in Eastenders3 of 5
CREDIT: Yellow Belly

Johnny Carter (played by Charlie Suff)

It's been over five years since Johnny Carter left Walford for a new life up north, but he's returning to Albert Square and he's got a brand new face. The role of Johnny - Mick and Linda Carter's second eldest son - has been recast, with Charlie Suff taking on the character previously played by Sam Strike and Ted Reilly. It's not yet been revealed what brings Johnny back to Walford, but we're sure mum Linda will be glad to have some more support on the Square.

Speaking about joining the show, actor Charlie said, "I’m so delighted to be joining such an iconic programme - EastEnders was always on at my house when I was growing up. Johnny is a complex character who has been through so much, which I can’t wait to explore. I’ve found EastEnders to be the most kind and loving space to work in, and I already feel like one of the family."

Kitty Castledine as Penny Branning and Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning on EastEnders4 of 5
CREDIT: BBC

Penny Branning (played by Kitty Castledine)

Lauren will be joined by her cousin Penny when she returns to Walford. Jack's daughter has been living in France with her mum Selina for the past 15 years but is set to return to the Square, although viewers will have to wait to find out exactly why.

Kitty Castledine has been cast as Penny in her first major television role after graduating from the London Academy of Music and Drama (LAMDA) this summer. She says, "The inclusion of disabled talent on screen is so important to me as a wheelchair user, so I’m thrilled to be playing a character as feisty and cool as Penny. She’s thrown into the middle of the drama straight away, and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to.”

Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning on EastEnders5 of 5
CREDIT: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Lauren Branning (played by Jacqueline Jossa)

After making a shock appearance alongside Peter Beale (Thomas Law) in France last year, Lauren Branning is set to follow the Beales back to Walford. Jacqueline Jossa will be reprising the role of Lauren.

The drama in Walford is set to continue as Linda, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean), Suki Panesar (Balvinder Sopal), Denise Fox (Diane Parish), Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) and Kathy Bale (Gillian Taylforth) continue to cover their tracks following Keanu's death.

And with Nish Panesar (Navin Chowdry) still in hospital after being hit over the head with a champagne bottle, Suki set to go public with Eve Unwin (Heather Peace) and Linda turning to alcohol once again, the stakes are only getting higher.

Will 'The Six' be able to get away with it or will it all come crashing down?

Lacey Turner as Stacey Slater, Balvinder Sopal as Suki Panesar, Kellie Bright as Linda Carter, Letitia Dean as Sharon Watts, Diane Parish as Denise Fox and Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale on EastEnders
Stacey, Suki, Linda, Sharon, Denise and Kathy - aka The Six - were involved in the murder of Keanu Taylor at Christmas BBC

While you're here, why not look back at the most shocking EastEnders Christmas Day episodes; from Kat and Alfie Moon finally getting their happily ever after to Dirty Den Watts serving Ange those divorce papers.

"Happy Christmas, Ange."

Never forget.

You could also take a look at the most dramatic Christmas storylines on Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks and believe us when we say the things that have happened over the years in soapland are intense...

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