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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
13m see Mitchells' Square return
Phil and Grant Mitchell
Phil and Grant Mitchell were among the soap's main characters in the 1990s
Thirteen million people watched the long-awaited return of Grant and Phil Mitchell to EastEnders on Monday night.

Actors Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden appeared with the words "'allo Mum" to Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor).

The episode, on BBC One, took a 52.9% audience share. EastEnders has been trailing ITV1's Coronation Street in the ratings, just ahead of Emmerdale.

The actors are the latest favourites to return to the soap, following Windsor and Leslie Grantham.

Kemp, who plays Grant Mitchell, gave up playing the hardman in 1999 to join ITV, but has returned initially on a three-week deal.

And Steve McFadden, who plays his brother Phil, recently made a fleeting return to the show in April after a year away and is now back for a longer run.

Mike Reid is lined up to come back as Frank Butcher in December.

Barbara Windsor
Barbara Windsor is also back in the soap

In September, EastEnders drew its lowest audience in more than five years with 6.6 million viewers tuning in to one episode.

However, more than 14 million people watched Grantham's character, "Dirty" Den Watts, killed off in February in an episode marking the programme's 20th anniversary.

Last week, EastEnders averaged 10 million viewers per episode, more than one million behind Coronation Street and about one million ahead of Emmerdale.

EastEnders has the most nominations overall for Tuesday's National Television Awards, with six in total, compared with Coronation Street's four.

Last month, it won best soap at the Inside Soap awards for the ninth year running.

EastEnders has lined up a number of star actors to play new characters including David Essex and Phil Daniels.

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03 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
David Essex lands EastEnders role
03 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
Phil Daniels to join EastEnders
28 Sep 05 |  Entertainment
EastEnders comeback for Mike Reid
07 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
In pictures: EastEnders' 20 years
19 Feb 05 |  In Pictures



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