THE death of Sharon Mitchell's teen tearaway son Dennis, during EastEnders' explosive 35th anniversary week, left Walford's residents reeling.
But what fans really want to know is who else has come and gone out of the BBC One soap cast in 2020? From Stacey Slater to Honey Mitchell, here's everything you need to know…
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1. Dot Cotton (June Brown) – leaving
Walford legend June Brown shocked fans on February 21, 2020 when she announced she had quit her role as chain-smoking hypochondriac Dot Cotton.
Fans were left fearing she’d quit last month after Dot left a voicemail for Sonia Fowler saying she’d moved to Ireland – and it seems they were right.
Speaking in an interview, June – who has played Dot for 35 years – said: “I don’t want a retainer. I’ve left. I’ve left for good.”
She added: “I’ve sent myself to Ireland and that’s where she’ll stay. I’ve left EastEnders.”
2. Dennis Rickman (Bleu Landau) – leaving
The long-awaited death of a major character during the 35th anniversary week turned out to be Dennis – Sharon’s tearaway son.
Denny defied Sharon’s orders and made his way onto the doomed vessel ahead of its deadly crash.
Ian Beale then sealed Dennis' tragic fate by locking him below deck to teach him a lesson for bullying his son Bobby.
When the boat crashed, Ian did come back to rescue Denny by breaking the door down with a fire extinguisher.
But unfortunately for young Denny, the damage was already done.
3. Honey Mitchell (Emma Barton) – returning
EastEnders character Honey is currently taking a temporary break from the Square to get things together.
It was all looking up for Honey when she finally exposed her cheating partner Adam in a Queen Vic-style showdown before hitting him over the head with a bin and sending him on his way.
But following his departure, the Minute Mart worker continued to struggle and developed an eating disorder.
When her ex husband Billy discovered what she was going through, he encouraged her to seek help for her problem.
Honey then departed from the Square to stay with a relative.
But in reality, Honey was written out of the soap to facilitate Emma Barton’s training schedule for 2019’s Strictly Come Dancing.
The actress is expected to be away while she takes part in the Strictly Come Dancing tour.
Her last performance will be February 9 at London’s O2 Arena, when she will return to play the fan-favourite character in the soap.
4. Kim Fox (Tameka Empson) – returning
EastEnders legend Kim has been off screens for a few months while actress Tameka Empson took a temporary break.
The character returned on Christmas Day 2019 via a video call and revealed she’d been working as a tour guide in Scotland.
Tameka is expected to appear in person at some point this year.
5. Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner) – returning
Fan favourite Stacey Slater left the Square to accommodate Lacey Turner’s maternity leave.
The character made a brief appearance in the autumn of last year but ran for the hills when she got a frosty welcome from Martin Fowler.
Martin pretended to have been unfaithful – in order to protect her from Ben Mitchell’s threats.
Stacey then made another brief appearance in May 2020 when she was heard in a phone call to Kush Kazemi who was trying to lure her back to the Square to look after her mum Jean.
Speaking about returning to EastEnders, the star said in February 2020 that she was enjoying the time at home with her baby and husband Matt Kay.
"I think it will be hard to go back to work as much as I’m looking forward to working again," she said.
"I will miss Dusty because you get so used to spending all day every day together. She’s great company."
6. Bex Fowler (Jasmine Armfield) – leaving
EastEnders actress Jasmine Armfield has quit the BBC One soap after five years as Bex Fowler.
The Sun Online revealed in January that Jasmine had filmed her final scenes already, and she departed in March 2020 to go travelling.
The troubled teen has been embroiled in some hard-hitting storylines which culminated in an attempt to take her own life last summer.
7. Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) – leaving
Danny Walters made a dramatic comeback to EastEnders ahead of the show’s 35th anniversary.
The former mechanic continued his feud with Phil and Ben aboard the doomed party boat, which in turn, led to its devastating crash.
But Keanu left again with his tail between his legs after being rejected by Sharon and refused a chance at parenting baby Kayden.
8. Leo King (Tom Wells) – leaving
EastEnders fans were left stunned when Leo ended up falling on his knife – and dying a grisly death – as he tried to attack Whitney Dean after spying on her from her attic.
His exit is the beginning of a huge storyline for Whitney Dean, who handed herself into the police and now faces a murder trial and possible life behind bars.
Daniel Cook (Ade Edmondson) – leaving
9. Peter Beale (Dayle Hudson) – returning
Peter Beale returned to EastEnders during the week of 35th anniversary episodes following a four year absence.
The role has been reprised by rising star Dayle Hudson, who took over the reins from former actor Ben Hardy following his exit in 2015.
Fans are now hoping for his ex-girlfriend Lauren Branning’s return next after Jaqueline Jossa hinted that the door will always be open for her character’s comeback.
10. Danny Hardcastle (Paul Usher) – joining
Gangster Danny arrived back on the Square in March 2020 with a business proposition for Ben.
But Danny – who is played by former Brookside and The Bill star Paul Usher – exploded when he discovered Ben’s boyfriend Callum was joining the police.
The Liverpudlian hardman was last seen threatening Phil mitchell for money after their business in Spain folded.
11. Suki Panesar (Balvinder Sopal) – joining
Suki Panesar arrived in the New Year with quite the dramatic entrance, fainting in her daughter Ash’s arms.
The newcomer had been worming her way into her children’s lives on the Square by lying about having cancer, but was exposed as a liar in public by Jean Slater.
The manipulative mother eventually managed to convince her sons that it was their fault she’d lied about the cancer and gained another chance at playing happy families.
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