Comp image of Linda, Isaac and Mick all looking worried
Soaps

EastEnders in 2022 – who’s leaving and who’s coming to Walford?

We're saying goodbye to Mick

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Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2022? The soap is bidding farewell to some well-known faces including Mick Carter.

But there’s also some returns lined up too.

Here are all the cast changes for EastEnders in 2022.

Read more: EastEnders cast list for 2022

Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2022?

Isaac has left the show (Credit: BBC)

Isaac Baptiste

Teacher Isaac had a low-key departure this week – in fact it was so low-key no one realised it was actually his exit.

Isaac got word his mum, Sheree, had had a heart attack in Trinidad and he decided to go and help her.

He assured girlfriend Lola he would be returning, but it now appears that’s not the case.

Actor Stevie Basula recorded a goodbye message following his character’s departure.

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“Playing Isaac has been a gift,” he said.

“It’s been challenging at times, especially with the schizophrenia storyline last year.

“Working with the Truemans, working with the G that is Mr Rudolph Walker has been special. I’m really going to miss him.”

He also went on to shout out to all the fans and thanked them for the love they’ve developed for Isaac.

Fans were pretty confused and slammed the show for not giving him a proper send off.

“That was a really poor exit for Isaac,” said one.

“Isaac’s exit was terrible. Yes he wasn’t a main character most of the time but his schizophrenia storyline alone meant he deserved a more respectful way to bow out,” agreed someone else.

Another said: “They did Isaac so dirty with that exit.”

“Stevie played Isaac so well and he had some really hard-to-watch scenes,” said a fourth. “It’s just sad how so much potential got wasted in a terrible exit.”

“EastEnders make your exits more emotional and suitable. Isaac deserved a good farewell,” raged another.

EastEnders DCI Arthurs interviews Gray
Gray will not be returning (Credit: BBC)

Gray Atkins

Every killer must pay in Soapland and Gray Atkins‘ time is finally up.

He might still be trying to pull the strings from prison, leaving wife Chelsea with no one to pay the mortgage, but he won’t be back on the Square.

Gray murdered his first wife Chantelle Atkins, Kush Kazemi and Tina Carter, who went missing in 2020.

He was caught out in a huge week of episodes that saw him finally confess.

The last we saw of him he was being put into the back of a police car.

And we won’t be getting any Meena-style trial antics, Gray has gone for good.

And good riddance.

Actor Toby-Alexander Smith is currently in a baby bubble with partner Amy Walsh and their new arrival Bonnie, but rumours are rife he’ll appear in Emmerdale next.

EastEnders Feb 11 Mick nurses a hangover as Shirley makes it clear he’s not forgiven.
Danny Dyer is departing the soap as Mick Carter (Credit: BBC)

Mick Carter

EastEnders has confirmed that Danny Dyer is leaving as Mick Carter after nine years in the role.

A statement posted to their Instagram account revealed: “Danny Dyer will be leaving EastEnders later in the year.

“Danny has said ‘I am leaving EastEnders. It’s time to roll the dice and take the leap. I love everybody here and (EastEnders) has been amazing for me… it’s an important part of television. Mick’s exit is going to be a very powerful thing.'”

The message continued: “As his departure isn’t for some time we are able to plan a huge story for Mick.

“With Linda returning to Walford very soon, the Carters will be at the heart of some very big drama in 2022!”

ian beale eastenders
Will Ian ever get to open his present from his mum? (Credit: BBC)

Ian Beale

Ian left EastEnders after Sharon tried to kill him. At the time it was said he was taking a break, but there is still no word of him returning.

Surely Mr Beale – part of Albert Square since the very beginning – hasn’t left for good?

Well, when actor Adam Woodyatt went into the I’m A Celebrity jungle last year he admitted there were “no plans” for him to return.

And appearing on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Friday April 1 he told presenter Steph McGovern: “I’ve kind of left, but not left.

“It’s kind of the way the storyline has gone – I’m not there.”

He added: “I could go back, I could not go back, I don’t know!”

EastEnders Sharon puts pressure on Phil Tue Jan 25
Phil’s struggling to find a way out (Credit: BBC)

Phil Mitchell

Say it ain’t so? The great Phil Mitchell cannot be leaving EastEnders?

Well, it’s uncertain what’s happening as he’s been told he’s facing life in prison.

He has got all his affairs in order and put fiancée Kat Slater in charge of all his businesses.

But with Kat struggling under the pressure of running his empire, will he change his mind and turn grass in order to get out?

Or is this the last act for Phil?

Coming back

Kim Medcalf will play Sam again in EastEnders (Credit: BBC)
Kim Medcalf will play Sam again in EastEnders (Credit: BBC)

Sam Mitchell is making a shock return to EastEnders – but Danniella Westbrook will not be playing her.

Phil and Grant’s younger sister was last seen in 2016 with Danniella in the role.

But now actress Kim Medcalf, who originally replaced Danniella as Sam in 2002, is returning to the role.

Kim played Sam until 2005. When Sam returned in 2009, it was Danniella playing her again.

During her last stint, Sam attended the funeral of her mum Peggy before abandoning her son Ricky with his dad Jack Branning.

She fled back to Spain alone.

In a statement Kim said: “When the BBC approached me last year to reprise the role of Sam I was thrilled.

“She’s a brilliant character and I can’t wait to get back in the Square and work with the amazing cast.”

BBC head of continuing drama Kate Oates added: “I have long wanted to bring Sam back into the family fold.

“Her return is guaranteed to be explosive.”

Sam’s return will come as her brother Phil faces a choice between life in prison or becoming a police informant.

Linda shows up at Tina's wake in EastEnders
Linda is back next week (Credit: BBC)

Linda Carter

Linda’s another vital cog in the Carter wheel and she will be back next week.

Read more: 5 soap characters that need to be introduced in 2022

A Christmas return for Linda saw Janine meddle and try to end Mick’s marriage so she could have Mick all to herself.

Linda and Mick have since broken up and with the news Danny Dyer is leaving too, is all lost for the Carter marriage?

The matriarch will return in time for Tina’s funeral next week.

But she’s back on the booze and makes a scene when she sees Janine.

As Linda goes to stay with Sharon, will she fight for her man?

Or has she given up all hope?

Ash will be returning (Credit: BBC)

Ash Panesar

After falling out with her mum and realising Suki would never accept her sexuality, Ash left Walford.

However, it’s just a break for Ash and actress Gurlaine Kaur Garcha has shared pictures back on set.

The actress can be seen cuddling up to her mum, Suki, played by Balvinder Sopal

No details of an exact date have been revealed, though, but as the soap films six weeks in advance, it’s likely to be some time in May that we see Ash back on screen.

We want Bianca back! (Credit: BBC)

Bianca Butcher

Actress Patsy Palmer was said to be gearing up for a return to EastEnders as legendary Bianca just before COVID hit.

Because she lives in America, Patsy’s plans to come back were put on hold indefinitely. But we’d love to see Bianca back in the Square, even for a short while.

Arriving?

Mr Panesar

Suki’s, as-yet unnamed, husband, father to her kids Kheerat, Jags (deceased), Ash and Vinny, is in prison.

But last month, Dotty urged Vinny to go and visit his dad to get some advice on standing up to Suki.

Vinny dismissed Dotty’s suggestion out of hand, but does the mention of the Panesar dad mean he’s on his way to Walford soon?

Rarely do character’s names get brought up if we’re not likely to see them any time soon – could we meet the mysterious Mr Panesar before too long?

Want more spoilers from EastEnders? Entertainment Daily has a dedicated EastEnders spoilers section for you to get your fix before the latest episodes air.

EastEnders usually airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One.

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**This article is updated regularly to reflect the ongoing changes in the EastEnders cast.