FIRST PICTURE of iconic EastEnders characters returning next year – it’s so sweet!

Legendary characters Lofty and Mary the Punk are making a dramatic return to EastEnders for a huge storyline next year, but their comeback won't be a happy one...

After much speculation, EastEnders has confirmed that Tom Watt and Linda Davidson will be returning to Albert Square as Lofty and Mary the Punk early next year.

But while fans will be delighted to see their old favourites back where they belong, it has been revealed that their return will be for a very sad reason.

They’re back! After three decades Lofty and Mary the Punk have returned to Albert Square

The residents of Walford will bid a final farewell to Doctor Harold Legg in the New Year as he sadly loses his battle with pancreatic cancer.

And having been Walford’s GP for over a decade, it is only fitting that characters old and new are there to say goodbye.

It has been three decades since we saw Mary ‘the punk’ Smith and George ‘Lofty’ Holloway on our screens, but the characters will be returning for just one episode as they pay their final respects to Dr Legg at his funeral.

Dr Legg tells Dot his news.

Dot was reunited with her old friend earlier this year

Linda Davidson said about her return: “EastEnders was my first proper family. It gave me stability and a fantastic foundation from which to build an incredible life.

“The people of EastEnders have been a consistent thread throughout the intervening years. I am so thrilled, and very proud, to be returning to that family 35 years later. It’s going to be a blast!”

Tom Watt added: “I was delighted John Yorke asked me if I would return to EastEnders for Doctor Legg’s funeral. Doctor Legg is an iconic character so it feels fitting that Lofty should return to say goodbye.

Dr Legg will forever remain one of EastEnders most loved characters

“I have nothing but good memories from my time on EastEnders so it will be lovely to set foot back in Albert Square all these years later.”

John Yorke, Executive Consultant, EastEnders commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have Tom and Linda back for these small but incredibly important roles.

“As soon as Leonard Fenton agreed to return as Doctor Legg, it seemed just the best possible tribute we could pay both his character and the show. Mary and Lofty are huge iconic characters, and a central part of the shows’ DNA.

“Though both have moved on to hugely successful careers elsewhere we are both thrilled and touched to have them back for one very special episode.”

EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC1.

Picture credits: BBC