Ever since Jessie Wallace has confirmed her return to EastEnders as Kat Moon (nee Slater), fans have asked if her husband Alfie, played by Shane Richie, will be joining her.
The pair go together like bread and butter and viewers have watched their relationship have numerous ups and downs in Albert Square – from Kat having affairs to a house fire that which Alfie set up to claim on insurance which nearly killed his wife.
At the end of last year, it was revealed that Jessie would be making a comeback to Albert Square along with Big Mo, Jean Slater and a mystery new Slater character.
Now Shane Richie has spoken out on whether he will be joining them – and the answer will disappoint many fans.
He told The Sun: “I’’m in a fortunate position where I can pick and choose what I want to do and EastEnders at the moment I said no to it.
“I just need to take a break from television and a little break away from showbiz.
“Trust me, it’s not because I’ve got loads of money because that is far from the truth. But I just need to pick and choose.”
However, fans of Shane can console themselves by seeing him on another show soon in scenes he’s already filmed for ITV’s Benidorm.
He revealed on his Twitter account that his character Sammy Valentino will appear in the new series.
When Kat and Alfie were last on EastEnders, the pair left for Ireland to discover Kat’s long-lost son, with Alfie suffering from a brain tumour.
Their adventures across the Irish Sea were turned into spin-off show Redwater, which ended on a cliffhanger with Kat being involved in a speedboat accident and Alfie undergoing surgery for his tumour.
EastEnders returning executive consultant, John Yorke, who is responsible for convincing Jessie to return to Albert Square, said he knew he had to reunite the Slaters when he took back the reins.
He said last year: “The Slaters are one of the all-time great families in EastEnders and Albert Square has never felt quite the same since they scattered to different ends of the country, and in some cases beyond.
“It has been a real joy to find a way to bring them back together and we’re incredibly excited about where we are taking them next. It won’t just be familiar Slaters either as there are a couple of twists and characters to add fresh spice to an iconic creation.”
The family will return to support the only remaining Slater on the Square – Stacey – who is currently having a tough time in her marriage after admitting to her husband Martin that she slept with Max Branning on Christmas Eve.
Explaining how Kat is able to return after facing a watery grave, John said: “Kat took swimming lessons as a child so survived the dramatic storm of Redwater and she comes with Jean, Big Mo and another yet to be revealed Slater reuniting to sort Stacey out once and for all.”
But if Kat will be back without Alfie, does that mean he’s dead?
It seems not as an EastEnders insider told The Sun they would love for him to return one day.
They said: “Alfie’s still a much-loved character on the Square and bosses will always keep the door open.
“Producers know that the filming schedules can be exhausting and they’ll always be willing to wait until he’s ready.”
We hope you change your mind soon, Shane! Kat without Alfie just isn’t right!