The star is back as Alfie Moon after two years away from Albert Square.
Shane Richie has revealed how he kept his return to EastEnders a secret from his closest co-stars – and even his mum!
The 54-year-old actor was back as Alfie Moon in the BBC1 soap on Thursday night after two years away.
Shane starred in EastEnders’ spin-off Redwater with Jessie Wallace (Kat), who has since made her return to Albert Square.
He told Good Morning Britain: “My mum rang me last night from Dublin and said ‘I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about Alfie’…
“I was snuck in. Jessie’s one of my best friends. I couldn’t even tell her.”
Speaking about his other co-stars, he said: “Jake Wood (Max Branning) texted me, Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) contacted me, saying ‘Are you coming back?’ I said ‘No, I’m away filming Benidorm’. Of course, I wasn’t.”
He said of keeping his return under wraps: “I was snuck in on the back seat of a car, hood over my head, and was locked in a dressing room. None of the other cast knew.”
He hopes that EastEnders’ boss John Yorke will want him back for more, once his current storyline finishes.
“I’d like to think he’s got plans in the future for Alfie,” he said.
“There’s stories to be told and fingers crossed they’ll bring Alfie back to tell those stories.”
Shane also spoke of Dame Barbara Windsor’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, saying: “I imagine me talking to Barbara and her saying ‘I’ve got a little spot of forgetfulness’.
“That’s where I am when I speak to (her husband) Scott (Mitchell). They’re battling on, every day’s a different day for him.”
Shane added: “He’s every man I’d like to be … looking after his lovely wife … He steps up to the mark and he’s a lovely geezer.”