Original EastEnder Sharon Watts is to make a return to Albert Square after an absence of six years.
Actress Letitia Dean, 44, will head back to Walford later this year – her third major stint on the series. Details of the circumstances of her return are being kept under wraps.
The last time viewers saw her was in early 2006 after she had been left a widow following the death of husband Dennis Rickman.
Letitia said: “I am really looking forward to being part of the EastEnders team again, as it has always been very close to my heart. I cannot wait to work with my old colleagues and see what is in store for Sharon.”
Former Queen Vic landlady Sharon has been one of the show’s key characters and her affair with brother-in-law Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) led to one of the show’s highest rating episodes. It also prompted her departure from the series in 1994.
Sharon returned in 2001, to take over at the Vic, which had formerly been run by her adoptive parents, Angie and Den Watts.
She stayed until 2004 and then returned again the following year, only to bow out once more in January 2006, following the stabbing of Dennis who died in her arms.
Letitia went on to compete in BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2007, as well as tour in the stage production of Calendar Girls.
Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said: “I’m thrilled that Letitia is coming back home to Albert Square where she belongs.
“Sharon is a real favourite amongst EastEnders’ fans and I for one can’t wait until she arrives back in the summer.”