EastEnders executive producer Jon Sen has teased that Ian Beale will become the "most hated man in Walford" in the weeks after the soap's return.
Following a break of almost three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, EastEnders will be back in the BBC One schedules from Monday, September 7 in a new 20-minute episode format.
Actor Adam Woodyatt has already announced that he will be taking a short break from playing Ian later this year, sparking rumours that he may have signed up for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
On screen, Ian is still harbouring the secret that he was responsible for the death of Sharon's son Dennis but the net appears to be closing in on him after Dotty deduced the truth.
"Ian's creating as many enemies as before," Sen told reporters. "And those stories are carrying on from before."
Senior exec producer Kate Oates added: "Sharon doesn't know about Ian's role in Dennis's death, so that's an unexploded bomb and the irony is that she is defending him as he becomes increasingly unpopular with other people in the Square and members of his own family.
"So we'll be watching that unfold."
The producers have also revealed that a former character will be making a return to Walford as part of a "huge" Christmas storyline.