Woodward's new character passes himself off as a genial old boy
Edward Woodward, famous for his roles in cult horror The Wicker Man and The Equalizer, is joining EastEnders.
His character, Tommy Clifford, is being brought in for a specific storyline involving Patrick Trueman which will run for several weeks.
EastEnders chief Diederick Santer said: "On the surface, this is a warm, charming and engaging man but there are other much darker things going on."
Woodward, who is 78, has started filming and will be on screen in March.
The actor made a name for himself in the television spy series Callan, which ran during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
He had a central role in the film The Wicker Man, as the devout Christian police officer drawn to investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a sinister island of pagan cult members.
Then, in the 1980s, he gained international attention when he starred in the American show, The Equalizer, this time as an ex-spy working as a gun-for-hire.
His EastEnders character Tommy stealthily draws out details of Patrick's past for less than honourable reasons.
Santer said that the actor, who has been a fan of EastEnders for many years, was perfect for the role.
"Edward shades in all those layers, and I hope the audience are as fascinated watching him at work as I have been," he said.