Johnny Carter is returning to Walford – but Sam Strike (pictured) won’t be playing him again. The role is being recast.

Sam played the gay son of Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and wife Linda (Kellie Bright) from December 2013 until the following year, when he quit to pursue a Hollywood career.

Sam has since had a guest role in Silent Witness and has been cast as Jackson in Leatherface, a Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel.

Johnny was last seen on screen departing Albert Square to go travelling with his Italian boyfriend, Gianluca (Gabriele Lombardo).

Before that Johnny was seen becoming involved in a strained relationship with Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) after he discovered he was gay.

The Mirror quoted a BBC spokeswoman as saying: “We can confirm we are recasting the role of Johnny Carter.”

Mick and Linda have just been visiting Johnny in Italy during their honeymoon. Did they talk him into coming home? And if so, why?

“There are so many more stories that we wanted to tell with Johnny, so we felt that the time was right to unite the Carter family again,” added the BBC.

But Johnny’s return will also reunite him with Ben…

So, where will that leave the secret relationship between Ben and Paul Coker (Jonny Labey)? And Ben’s troubled relationship with Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald)?

Or will Johnny return with Gianluca?

EastEnders, BBC1