EastEnders star reacts to surprise return

EastEnders spoilers follow.

It’s the week of surprises in EastEnders, and sure enough, there was another shock return tonight (December 13) as Keanu Taylor is back.

Last seen in 2020, Keanu appeared in the closing moments of Tuesday’s episode, just as the Walford residents were winding down after an emotional day of saying goodbye to Dot Branning.

Keanu’s return hadn’t been announced before transmission, with today’s episode also not airing early on BBC iPlayer in a bid to keep it a secret.

embargo 8pm on 1312 danny walters as keanu taylor in eastenders


But why is Keanu back? And what will it mean for Sharon, Phil and the Taylor family?

Digital Spy and other media recently caught up with Danny Walters – who plays Keanu – to hear all the gossip on Keanu’s comeback.

How does it feel to be back?

“When I got the call from Chris [Clenshaw], he told me about some of the storylines. Even as Chris was teasing some, I don’t think he’s told me everything yet, but his vision is incredible and I like what he’s done with it, and all the writers involved and the directors and everything. So when I heard what he wants Keanu to do, I couldn’t help but want to come back.

“I’m very privileged to be coming back in such an iconic episode. The way I’m playing him now, there’s a new type of character that you’ll see from Keanu – there’s a very different side to him.”

What brings Keanu back now?

“Sharon’s a strong force but he’s now got a child, Albie, who’s two. He has Peggy as well. Keanu has always been the man of the house in the Taylor household. He’s not had a father figure in his life and the way I’ve always played it is to be the dad that his dad wasn’t. He goes into those old habits where he sees himself becoming like his father so he tries to change those habits.”

Has he changed?

“I think while he was in Portugal and away from the Square he’s had time to think about things and to grow up. It got to the stage where he realised he had to take the future into his own hands. There was only one way, which was to come back to the Square and face the music.”

What about Keanu vs Phil? And how is it working alongside Steve [McFadden]?

“Steve is, in my opinion, one of the finest actors I’ve worked with and I’m sure a lot of other actors on this job will say that. He’s such a unique actor and, as Natalie [Cassidy] said about June [Brown], I’ve learned so much from working with Steve, and through listening as well.

“Steve is that sort of actor. You have to know your stuff when you’re on set, there’s no room for error. If you don’t know what you’re doing – the character, the purpose, everything – we do our due diligence coming into the scene and if you don’t know that, Steve sniffs it out very quickly. I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a good friend outside of the show but when we’re on set we’re working.”

louise mitchell and keanu taylor reunite in eastenders


Are Keanu’s feelings for Sharon still there?

“Sharon was always the reason that Keanu had a bit of purpose and a bit of drive. There was a deep, deep attraction to Sharon that I guess even Keanu couldn’t explain. There is something that he’s drawn to and I think it’s reciprocated because Sharon had someone who appreciated her for who she is, and that’s why that relationship worked so well.

“Keanu has come back to the Square with the intention of creating a relationship with his son and to have an impression in his life, but also to rekindle that relationship with Sharon. That is maybe a motive.”

How did you manage to keep this a secret?

“I’ve limited the number of people I’ve told. None of my friends know, none of my family know. I’ve told my mum, my dad, my partner and my brother, although I probably shouldn’t have told my brother! But it’s been very tough because I’ve been making a lot of excuses. My in-laws and family members and cousins want to know what I’m up to and I’m just: ‘Oh, I’m playing golf.’ I’ve just been playing golf every day!

“It’s been very hard to keep it a secret but I wanted to respect Chris and the show here and what we’re doing here today is the whole surprise of Keanu coming back. I wanted to keep it a secret in my life as well as much as it is for the show.”

EastEnders airs on Mondays-Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.

Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

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