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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 17:04 GMT
Actor McFadden back in EastEnders
Phil Mitchell in EastEnders
McFadden joined the soap in January 1990 as Phil Mitchell
Steve McFadden is to return to EastEnders to reprise his role as hard man Phil Mitchell.

McFadden, 45, who was last seen on the BBC One soap on Christmas Day 2003, will return to Walford in early spring.

He quit the show to concentrate on other projects, but was not killed off by scriptwriters as he always planned to return.

McFadden, who joined the soap in 1990, said: "I can't wait to get back to EastEnders and settle a few scores."

Arch enemy

McFadden joined EastEnders as one of the hardmen Mitchell brothers along with his brother Grant, played by Ross Kemp.

They quickly became two of the soap's most popular characters and were involved in some explosive storylines.

Phil was last seen on screen when he was on the run from the law after being set up for an armed heist by arch enemy Den Watts.

He is unaware that the Queen Vic pub, Snooker Hall, the Arches garage and café have been sold by his sister Sam.

Actress Barbara Windsor, who plays Phil's mother, is also set to return to the soap after a two-year break.

A debilitating illness forced her to quit the role of Peggy Mitchell, but she is due to return in the summer.

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