EastEnders boss announces Christmas story as new additions cause bloodbath

EastEnders presenter Chris Clenshaw has announced that some familiar faces will return to Albert Square for the show's monumental 40th anniversary celebrations next year.

“The 40th has been in the works for some time,” he told the press, before adding that attentive fans of the BBC soap “One” may have already spotted subtle “Easter egg” clues in earlier episodes.

He also revealed: “The nostalgic element means a lot to me.” Speculation is rife among soap fans, especially after Cindy Beale's surprise return last May, even though her character reportedly died giving birth in 1998.

Michelle Collins once again followed in Cindy's footsteps, shocking her former flame Ian Beale with her unexpected reappearance. Could Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell be the next to make an incredible return from the grave?

It was a dramatic exit for the sisters when they drowned on Ronnie's wedding day. Samantha Womack's character tried to save Roxy (played by Rita Simons) but was dragged underwater by her own wedding dress, reports the Daily Star.

And let's not forget the iconic moment when 'Dirty' Den (Leslie Grantham) returned to Walford in 2003, despite being presumed dead since 1989. Given this precedent, it's anyone's guess what other characters from the past might surprise us during the upcoming anniversary extravaganza.

Den's second wife, Chrissie Watts (played by the fabulous Tracy-Ann Oberman), dealt the fatal blow at the Queen Vic in 2005 during the show's 20th anniversary celebrations. Tracy has dropped some juicy hints that her character could soon be returning to Walford, cheekily noting that Chrissie “can be paroled at any time” after being locked up in 2006.

“She served longer than most real murder prisoners, and if she had had a better lawyer, she would have received mitigating circumstances,” Tracy joked about the long time her character spent behind bars.

Chris Clenshaw, the soap's executive producer, hinted at a possible return, saying: “It's not just about the positive response. It all depends on the story and where the characters are.”

Looking ahead to the show's upcoming 40th anniversary, he adds: “As we move toward our 40th year, it's about the history of the show. I think the nostalgic element means a lot. But it has to come from the characters, it has to come from the story.”

While details of the upcoming storyline are still under wraps, it is expected to tie in with this year's Christmas storyline, which always promises to be full of drama. Last Christmas, fans were kept on the edge of their seats as the murder mystery surrounding The Six unfolded throughout the year, culminating in the big reveal.

In a shocking twist, it was revealed that Linda Carter (played by the talented Kellie Bright) was the one who ended Keanu Taylor's (Danny Walters) life, using a meat thermometer as a lethal weapon.

EastEnders' Chris revealed all at the TRIC Awards, where the show was nominated for Best Series: “Christmas is in full swing,” he revealed. “There's a board in the story office and everything is connected. I liken it to a blackboard, everything has to fit together. We're getting the new Mitchells, who are going to cause a lot of trouble. And as we move into the autumn and the end of the year, we've got some surprises in store.”

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.