It can be one of the most baffling things for soap addicts, characters that you've watched suffer dramas, heartbreak and tragedy suddenly turn up on screen looking and sounding completely different.
EastEnder’s Martin Fowler is the latest character to make a return to the screen played by new actor, James Bye. James is the third actor to play Martin, the youngest son of matriarch Pauline. The character was last seen on screen in 2007 played by James Alexandrou before leaving with Sonia.
Ben Mitchell returned to the Square in 2014 with Harry Reid taking over the role from Joe Pascoe who left in 2012 after Ben confessed to the murder of Heather Trott. Five different actors have now played the character who was born in 1996 to Phil and Kathy. Charlie Jones brought the character back to the Square in 2006, however he was revamped with an edgier, harder Ben Mitchell played by Joe Pascoe.
Tracy Barlow, the daughter of Deirdre and stepdaughter of Ken, returned to the Street in 2010 played by Kate Ford. The character first appeared in Coronation Street in 1977 and has now been played by four actresses, including Dawn Acton.
Danniella Westbrook first appeared in EastEnders in 1990 as the feisty little sister of the Mitchell brothers. After after much publicised personal issues, she left the soap, returning to the Square with Kim Medcalf in 2002 playing Sam Mitchell. But in a strange turn of events, the character left the soap so they could bring back the original actress and Danniella Westbrook returned to the Square.
Still one of Albert Square’s youngest characters, 11-year-old Bobby Beale has made quite an impact in the short time he’s been in the show. Beginning with the confusion over the identity of his father after his mum Laura Beale had an affair with Gary Hobbs, whilst married to Ian. And who could forget the big reveal on EastEnders’ live 30th anniversary that he was responsible for killing his sister Lucy. The character has now been played by four actors since being introduced in 2003, including Alex Francis (2007-2012), Rory Stroud (2013-2014) and Eliot Carrington (2014).
Corrie’s Nick first appeared on screen in 1981 with Warren Jackson playing the adolescent first-born of Gail Platt. He left in 1996 to live in Canada with his Uncle Stephen, returning in 1997 with Adam Rickitt taking over the role with a teenage marriage to Leanne Battersby. The character was recast in 2009 with Ben Price bringing Nick back to the Street with an edgier reincarnation of the character.
The ‘Who killed Lucy Beale’ storyline is the soap’s biggest ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery, ending with the identitiy of Lucy’s killer, played by Hetti Bywater, being revealed in a live episode to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the soap. But before Hetti’s arrival in 2012 the character had previously been played by three other actresses including Melissa Suffield who played the character from 2004-2010.
Kym Valentine is probably the strangest soap recasting. The actress was signed off sick from playing Neighbours’ Libby Kennedy and instead of the character being written out of the soap for the duration they decided that actress Michala Banas would take over the character for a month!
Who do you think has been the strangest soap character recasting? Let us know!