EASTENDERS fans were left hanging when the soap’s finale on June 16 ended with some whopping cliffhangers after being forced off air for the first time it its 35-year history due to the coronavirus.
But with filming having resumed and a number of gripping storylines set to continue, what fans really want to know is when will will the BBC One soap be back on our screens and what will happen in the "new" episodes? Here’s the lowdown…
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When will EastEnders be back on TV?
In early June, a show insider suggested that the soap will return in September.
The insider told the Mirror: "We normally work 6-8 weeks ahead of what viewers see on screen, in terms of a block of storylines, and we would look to do the same thing again when we restart work.
"Filming with the new rules and regulations will take longer and so we could be back on screen at the end of August but that is being optimistic and it may take longer than that, which would mean the soap returning in September."
And EastEnders star Dayle Hudson fuelled speculation that the soap will return next month by sharing new scripts on his Instagram page, one of which had a transmission date which read September 8.
The good news is that the BBC previously confirmed that when the soap does return, it'll be back to four episodes a week – but each episode will be 20 minutes each instead of the usual 30.
The news will be a relief for viewers, who have been left hanging after the finale on Tuesday, June 16, ended on a huge cliffhanger.
Fans were left speechless as Sharon Mitchell and Ian Beale swooped in to buy the Queen Vic, leaving Sharon's ex-husband and prospective buyer Phil Mitchell raging and setting the scene nicely for the soap’s famous doof doof theme tune.
When did EastEnders resume filming?
EastEnders recommenced filming on June 29, more than three months after lockdown forced a pause in production.
Actress Tanya Franks – who plays Rainie Branning on the soap – took to Twitter to break the news.
Writing on Twitter, Tanya said: "Looking forward to working with this geezer @RickyChamp1 again next week and getting Rainie and Stuart back to some #Stainie action. #EastEnders."
The soap was forced to halt production back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of weekly episodes were then slashed in an effort to keep the show on air for as long as possible.
But the final pre-lockdown episode aired on June 16, forcing the soap to go off air for the first time in its 35-year history.
EastEnders' executive producer Jon Sen said: "Resuming production is incredibly exciting and challenging in equal measure.
"Since we postponed filming, we've been working non-stop trialling techniques, filming methods and new ways of working so that we can return to screens four times a week – as EastEnders should be.
"Filming will inevitably be a more complex process now, so creating 20 minute episodes will enable us to ensure that when we return, EastEnders will still be the show the audience know and love."
What will happen when EastEnders returns?
It’s looking like there will have been a time-jump to account for the show’s time off air when the soap finally returns to our screens, with coronavirus having drastically changed life in Walford.
Speaking about on EastEnders: Secrets From the Square, actor Davood Ghadami confirmed that Kat Slater would be back when the soap returns and that she has been spending lockdown with Kush.
Stacey Fowler will be making a dramatic comeback in September after actress Lacey Turner was pictured arriving back on set at the end of June.
It’s looking like she’ll arriving to the sight of her ex Martin and best friend Ruby in each other's arms after James Bye – who plays Martin – let slip that the lovebirds have spent lockdown together.
Speaking last month on Secrets from the Square, James teased: "We've seen Martin and Ruby starting to get a little bit close, so that just continues, the relationship grows."
He continued: "They lockdown together and, by the sounds of it, they get on. That's all I'm saying. Things happen."
In addition, it was hinted on EastEnders: Secrets from the Square that when the soap returns there will be a potentially explosive twist between couple Ben Mitchell and Callum Highway.
Ben might be forced to reassess who is most important to him: his boyfriend Callum or dad Phil.
Tony Clay said to Stacey Dooley: "Callum is just very, very focused on trying to get into the police now, and he doesn't want that derailed by Ben trying to impress his dad again".
Elsewhere, actor Adam Woodyatt revealed his character Ian Beale will be exposed as Dennis Mitchell’s killer when the soap returns.
Speaking on Stacey Dooley's behind-the-scenes show, Adam said: "He's been locked in The Vic with Sharon and the baby.
"Ian's still got the guilt of what happened to Dennis. Lies will eventually… they've got to come back and bite him."
Meanwhile, Gillian Taylforth – who plays Kathy on the soap – gave fans something else to look forward to when she revealed her character will be finding love when the soap returns.
Fans know that the cafe owner hasn’t had a romance since a brief fling with Masood Ahmed two years ago.
Speaking on EastEnders: Secrets from the Square, Gillian said: "I think it's about time.
"She's older now and she's been looking after everyone else. It's about time that she was looked after and she had a bit of love in her life."
What can fans watch instead of EastEnders?
With EastEnders on hiatus, BBC One has been giving fans their weekly Walford fix with some of the most iconic episodes in the show’s history including Sharongate and Amira and Syed’s wedding.
In addition, fans can take a trip down memory lane by watching old episodes from 2008 on BBC iPlayer.
Four consecutive episodes began airing on BBC Four a week in June – before being added to iPlayer.
Along with the classic episodes, BBC One is airing spin-off series Secrets From The Square every Monday at 8pm.
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