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Wales Online
Wales Online
Sam Cook

Former EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt says he has 'no plans' to return to soap that made him household name

Former EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt, who played Ian Beale in the long-running BBC soap opera, has insisted that he currently has no plans to return to the soap. Talking to WalesOnline whilst touring with musical My Fair Lady, the 54-year-old actor discussed his future with the show.

Speaking from inside his motorhome, Adam said when asked about an EastEnders return: “The story has to be right, they’ve also got to come up with a story and it has to be at a time when I’m not doing something else.” Adam left EastEnders in January 2021 after a storyline concluded that saw Ian’s fifth wife, Sharon Watts, try to kill him for failing to save her son.

“I keep getting asked this but it is very difficult to answer it because there is no answer,” said Adam, who stressed how much he has enjoyed returning to the stage. He added: “Doors keep opening and I keep going through these other doors.”

Read more: EastEnders star and wife divorce after 22 years of marriage

Adam first played Ian Beale when EastEnders began in 1985 (BBC / Jack Barnes)

Adam is one of the longest serving cast members on EastEnders, having played Ian Beale since it began in 1985. During that time, he has been involved in some of the show’s biggest storylines, including getting married five times, numerous attempts on his life and being in the frame for his daughter Lucy’s murder.

Since his EastEnders exit, Adam has kept himself very busy. Last year, he was one of the contestants on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! As mentioned, Adam has also dipped his foot back into theatre work, which holds a special place in his heart.

Adam returns to the stage in My Fair Lady, which will be coming to the Wales Millennium Centre in November. “The last time I did a musical was 42 years ago,” he said, when asked why he chose to star in the show. He continued: “I’m familiar with the role of Alfred Doolittle (his character in the show) and I saw the films and saw Dennis Waterman do it at Drury Lane. I knew that it was within my pay grade and my capabilities.”

He emphasised how he “jumped at the chance” when asked to appear in My Fair Lady. Adam said: “I’ve got to say, it is an absolute joy playing this role. I love every day that I go to work.”

In 2021, Adam returned to Wales when he appeared in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! (ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Elsewhere in the interview, Adam discussed his relationship with Wales. He is half-Welsh and said that he “would’ve been slightly more Welsh if [his] Dad hadn’t been born in London whilst [his Dad’s] mother was on holiday”. Although he spent his early childhood in London, he moved to Llanidloes when he was 14 and during that time, worked in Newtown in a shop there before moving back to London to start work as an actor.

“The family are all from Cwm and Bargoed - down in the valleys in South Wales,” he said, stressing his adoration for the country. Unfortunately for Adam, he hasn’t had the chance to return in recent years and added: “I’ve always been so busy working to go back but the next connection we have is the fact that my daughter went to university in Swansea. Whilst she was there, it refreshed all the Welsh links.” You can read more about his Welsh links here.

Although he has reiterated that he has no plans to return to the role that made him a household name, Adam hasn’t completely ruled out heading back to Albert Square at some point. He said: “I’m sure at some point the door to EastEnders is going to open again but it’s whether I’m available at that time, whether it’s the right time and I genuinely don’t know.”

One thing he would like to forget is a particular meme that has been made of him from the show. Following his daughter Lucy’s murder in 2014, Ian broke down to rival Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and told him, “I’ve got nothing left”. The harrowing scene has been somewhat downplayed in recent years, gaining widespread popularity on social media. Of this, Adam said: “That’s the one thing that does get me about - ‘I’ve got nothing left’ - That was actually about Lucy dying and it wasn’t that funny when we were filming it.” He described how he gets sent the video on an “almost daily basis” - mainly by his children.

My Fair Lady is at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from November 8 to 26. Would you like to see Adam back as Ian Beale? Let us know in the comments. You can get more celebrity news and other story updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletters here.


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