Some of Albert Square’s most famous residents – Cindy Beale, Pat Butcher and Kathy Mitchell – will be making an EastEnders comeback for Children In Need.
Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) will be visited by some of the ghosts of his past after he is knocked unconscious by the door of a washing machine in the launderette in the TV sketch.
Viewers saw the funeral of Pat Evans, previously Butcher, take place in January 2012, marking the end of 25 years of the famous earring-wearing character.
Cindy died in childbirth in 1998 while Kathy was also killed off-screen, in 2006.
But Ian discovers his adulterous ex-wife Cindy (Michelle Collins) in his kitchen, battleaxe Pat (Pam St Clement) running The Queen Vic and his mother Kathy (Gillian Taylforth), who has a new love interest, in the cafe.
Ian will also encounter his daughter Lucy (Hetti Bywater), whose killer has not been found, in the Children In Need episode.
Woodyatt said: “After being knocked unconscious Ian finds himself taken back in time and he comes into contact with Pat, Cindy, Kathy and Lucy in various iconic places around the Square.
“I don’t want to spoil it but Ian is really happy to see some faces and completely knocked for six by others but then again I think finding your late ex-wife in your kitchen is enough to shock anyone.”
Taylforth said: “It was surreal being back but it was fantastic to have the chance to play Kathy again. Once I was back in the cafe with my apron on and stirring the beans it was like I had never left.”
She added: “Ian finds himself being visiting by some familiar faces from his past so it’s only right that his mum makes an appearance.”
In a separate interview, Woodyatt told Radio Times magazine: “Kathy and Cindy both died off-screen, so for years I’ve been coming up with ways to bring them back.
“Anything can happen in the world of soap... What they’ve done for this sketch is joyous. Filming it was one of my best days at work.”
Asked whether he thought his alter-ego’s days could be numbered, Woodyatt told the magazine: “This place is like home. Like having a second family. And besides, Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) and I reckon that if a nuclear bomb went off in Walford, we’d be the ones walking out of the dust cloud saying: ’Did you hear a bang?”’
The sketch will air on the BBC Children In Need appeal show on Friday November 14.