EastEnders‘ new boss Kate Oates is already hard at work on the soap and alongside promising more diversity and a big “issues led storyline” that makes her nervous coming up in the future, the senior executive producer has now teased that she’s bringing back some old faces too.

Speaking to the Daily Star on Sunday, Oates once again reassured fans that she won’t be axing any of the current cast, while also sharing more of her plans for the future of Albert Square.

“I’ve only been there a few weeks but we’re already making our plans,” she said. “We’re going to be bringing people back. So that’s exciting.”

And it seems they’ll be coming back quite soon too, with Oates adding: “I haven’t made the calls yet, but there will definitely be two, possibly three old faces returning. You’ll probably see them in the first quarter of the new year.”

Of course, Kate didn’t actually confirm who she’s looking to get back, but names like Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) and Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakrar) are among our picks.

Patsy Palmer as Bianca and Sid Owen as Ricky Butcher are dream, if unlikely, returnees, while current star Jamie Borthwick has predicted a return for Ben Mitchell at some point too.

But as well as old, familiar faces, the new boss has promised to introduce new characters, adding: “There will be some new faces too, so that’s exciting.

“No-one will be going. I go with it when the story goes with it – I haven’t come in with a list of people to axe. At Corrie, I put the iconic families, like the Barlows and Platts back at the heart of the show and I think a similar approach is needed at EastEnders.”

So, return of the Mitchells and the Beales then?

Kate also stressed that her focus is on “engaging” storylines, saying: “I know that EastEnders is known for being gritty, but I just want to tell stories that I find engaging.

“That’s what I did on Emmerdale and Corrie, and hopefully now on EastEnders.”

EastEnders airs Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on BBC One.

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