EastEnders brings back gay character

Ian Lavender returns to EastEnders as gay character Derek


EastEnders will see the surprise return to Albert Square of a gay character who last appeared in the long-running BBC soap over ten years ago.

Ian Lavender, who starred in the show between 2001 and 2005, will return briefly for the festive season in the role of Derek Harkinson.

Derek is best remembered as the would-be romantic interest of Pauline Fowler (the late Wendy Richard), until Pauline found out that he was gay.

A close friendship then developed between the two, and Derek became a mentor to her son, Martin.

In the Christmas episodes, Derek will be reunited with Martin.

“It was a lovely surprise to be back and I had a great time,” Lavender said.

“It was brilliant to work with some old friends again, especially those who I only briefly got to work with before.”

Ian Lavender is best known for his role as the hapless Sergeant Pike in Dad’s Army.