Dad's Army star Ian Lavender is making a surprise return to Albert Square as Derek Harkinson. Is this good news – or bad – for Martin Fowler and his family?

Walford will be welcoming back a familiar face later in November when Ian Lavender returns to the Square to reprise his role as Derek Harkinson, an old friend of the Fowler family.

Ian will be seen in a number of episodes over the festive season as part of a storyline involving a number of the residents.

Could he have a role in the Walford Christmas show that is being arranged among the community? Or is he back for someone in particular?

Best known for his role in Dad’s Army, Ian was last seen in the Square back in 2005 when his character, Derek, waved an emotional goodbye to Walford to be with his family. During his time in the Square, Derek became close friends with Pauline Fowler after she made a move on him, only to discover he was gay.

Over the years, he became a father-figure for Martin Fowler (James Bye), teaching him to drive and even taking the blame when Martin was caught growing cannabis. Now the pair are set to be reunited.

Will his arrival somehow make this a very special Christmas for Martin and his family?

eastenders, martin fowler

Will Martin Fowler be smiling when Derek reappears?

“It was a lovely surprise to be back and I had a great time,” says Ian. “It was brilliant to work with some old friends again, especially those who I only briefly got to work with before.”

EastEnders, BBC1