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Matt Di Angelo: 'EastEnders return felt like the right time for me'

Matt Di Angelo: 'EastEnders return felt like the right time for me'
Matt Di Angelo discusses his surprise return to EastEnders as rapist Dean Wicks.

Matt Di Angelo has said that he feels "great to be back" on EastEnders after he reprised his role as the villainous Dean Wicks.

In episodes screened this week, Dean made a shock return to the Square and immediately set about visiting Linda (Kellie Bright), whom he raped nine years ago.

Inevitably Linda was not happy to see Dean back in her life - and even more so when it became clear that he was still denying what he had done to her.

For Di Angelo, the return marks almost eight years since he was last on the soap and comes ahead of the mystery murder plot that will play out in The Vic this Christmas.

"It feels great to be back," he said. "I started at EastEnders almost 18 years ago, which seems like a lifetime ago now.

"I haven't been back for seven years, so I was thrilled to be asked again for the third time as I love the people and the show."

"It felt like the right time for me, but also for Dean," he continued. "When Mick (Danny Dyer) was alive, Dean wouldn't have dared to come back to the Square because there's no way Mick would have stood for it. Rightly so, because what Dean did to Linda is unforgivable and even his parents Shirley (Linda Henry) and Buster turned their backs on him.

"But now Mick's dead, I think it's opened up that door to allow Dean to return as Linda doesn't have him there to back her up. Without Mick, Dean can twist the narrative, and he has more chance of getting away with it."

Although Dean's return to Walford is a reluctant one due to his daughter Jade's illness, the character does appear to be setting down roots as he was unveiled as the mystery new investor in Beale's Eels.

"Dean is back in Walford to help his daughter Jade, but to do that, he needs to make a living and be part of the community," Di Angelo added. "I think the biggest challenge is going to be facing the residents of Walford, as everyone has very strong opinions on Dean, and rightly so."

EastEnders continues Mondays to Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One and from 6am on iPlayer.

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