EastEnders favourite Alfie Moon was originally brought into the BBC soap opera for a romance with Peggy Mitchell.
Bosses wanted him and the pub landlady, who was played by the late Barbara Windsor, to have an age-gap relationship like the one in classic movie The Graduate that starred Dustin Hoffman and the late Anne Bancroft.
But when they saw how well actor Shane Richie, now 58, got on with co-star Jessie Wallace, now 50, they decided to make Alfie and her character Kat Slater an item instead.
Shane said: "When I turned up 20 years ago, they were going to create The Graduate story with Alfie and Peggy. I was going to be Dustin Hoffman."
He continued: "Off camera me and Jessie were having a right laugh. The writers saw this chemistry. So that relationship happened by accident. From that it escalated".
Following his arrival into Albert Square in 2002, Alfie has been involved in several high-profile storylines. Shane has been a cast member on-and-off for the last two decades.
His character last left Walford in January 2019 but will return later this year. He will try to rekindle his romance with Kat, even though she's now with Phil Mitchell ( Steve McFadden ).
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Previously discussing his upcoming return to EastEnders, Shane commented: "It's an absolute honour and privilege to be asked back to my TV home of Albert Square."
The actor said he was looking forward to reuniting with former cast mates as well as meeting new ones, with him teasing that there are some "wonderful storylines" to come.
Chris Clenshaw, Executive Producer, said: "[Shane] created one of the most iconic, loveable and most memorable characters in soap, and to welcome him back [...] is an absolute pleasure."
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