EastEnders

EastEnders Fatboy return ‘sealed’ – Gina link, exit left ‘open’ and flashback clue

Dancing on Ice star Ricky Norwood has been open about wanting to return to the role of Fatboy in EastEnders – and there are plenty of ways the character could make a comeback

EastEnders fans have been longing for the return of Arthur ‘Fatboy’ Chubb.

The character, played by Dancing on Ice star Ricky Norwood, first arrived in Albert Square in 2010 and became an instant hit with viewers. In 2015, Fatboy was kidnapped by Ronnie Mitchell’s (Samantha Womack) henchmen in a case of mistaken identity.

Fatboy was shoved into the boot of the car and was killed off-screen in the following episode. Fans have always questioned whether Fatboy actually died that night and further suspicion was raised after a card of condolence was sent to his dear friend Dot Branning (June Brown) by an unknown party on the day of her funeral.

In June 2023, Ricky, 40, reprised the role in an unannounced cameo as part of a flashback sequence surrounding the return of Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins). With fans already on side, there are plenty of ways Fatboy could return.

Exit left ‘open’

Fatboy was killed off-screen
Fatboy was killed off-screen (Image: BBC)
Everyone knows that if a character is killed off-screen in a soap, there’s every chance they might not be dead. Countless characters have returned from beyond the grave since the soap began in 1985.

After his alleged death in 1989, Dirty Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) strolled back into Walford over 14 years later like nothing had happened. Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) faked her own death as part of an insurance scam, making people believe she died in a road collision in 2006.

Nearly 10 years later, Kathy returned to her family in the Square and revealed it was all a lie. The most recent return from the dead came from Cindy.

After believing her former cellmate had something to do with daughter Lucy Beale’s (Hetti Bywater) death, Cindy was place into witness protection for nine years. With it being a regular feature in soaps, it wouldn’t be surprising if Fatboy was to walk through the door of The Queen Vic very much alive.

Flashback clue

He returned in a flashback sequence in 2023
He returned in a flashback sequence in 2023 (Image: BBC)

Last year, Fatboy made a brief cameo as part of Cindy’s return. After heading back to Walford from Spain, Cindy came across Fatboy and asked for the time. In typical Fatboy fashion, he waffled for a while before heading on his way.

Viewers seem to think there was a specific reason Fatboy was chosen to appear in the scene, suggesting it could be linked to a possible return. “We need fatboy back in the show, why else was he in the flashback and not other characters?” one said. “You have no idea how reminiscing it was seeing him in the show again, I had the biggest smile omg!!”

Witness protection

Some believe he has been placed in witness protection
Some believe he has been placed in witness protection (Image: BBC/Gary Moyes)

With his return linking to the reveal of Cindy living in witness protection for years, a number of fans think Fatboy has been doing the same. At the time, Ricky re-shared a post on Instagram which discussed his off-screen death.

In the caption, the user shared their view on how certain things involving Fatboy’s death did not add up. “The thing is we did not see a body or blood just the car,” the fan explained. “I still think that Ricky Norwood is on a witness protection thing as well.”

Another agreed: “Ok so hear me out… We now know that Fatboy knows Mary the witness protection lady… so what if he WAS able to escape that whole thing with Ronnie’s henchmen… and what if Vincent later did the same? They totally could come back and it would make sense!”

Gina link

Others believe Fatboy's return could be linked to Gina Knight
Others believe Fatboy’s return could be linked to Gina Knight (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Others have speculated that Fatboy could be somehow linked to Gina Knight. Gina, played by Francesca Henry, arrived in Walford alongside the rest of her family in June 2023.

She was later revealed to be the biological daughter of Cindy, who used the fake name Rose Knight whilst in witness protection. Gina didn’t have the easiest upbringing and was introduced to drugs by her ex-boyfriend, Antonio.

Her drug problems didn’t stop after she left Spain as she overdosed and ended up in hospital in August. Sharing their theory on how Fatboy’s return could involve Gina, one fan penned: “Ooh how about Fatboy meets Gina somewhere randomly. Say, a club… sees some drug dealers harassing her.”

Ricky Norwood's cameo last year tied in with the return of Cindy Beale
Ricky Norwood’s cameo last year tied in with the return of Cindy Beale (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

The user continued: “He comes in to save the day and rescue her. She thanks him and they exchange contact details. They meet up, get close and become a couple. They end up serious and he moves to Walford with her (and coincidentally explains his past life there).

“Cindy comes into the Vic to try and win Gina over yet again and sees Fatboy. They recognise one another and more pieces of the puzzle are filled.” Another fan responded: “I really like that idea! I think Gina deserves a bubbly and supportive partner – she does seem to want a partner, and someone like Fatboy would be great and really balance her out, would be great to have him behind the bar too being cheeky to Linda and the Knights.”

‘Anything can happen’

Ricky is taking part in this year's series of Dancing on Ice
Ricky is taking part in this year’s series of Dancing on Ice (Image: Kieron McCarron/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Ricky was reportedly fired from the soap after he was caught smoking cannabis and performing a sex act online. The alleged clip came from a Skype chat and was captured by a woman the actor met online.

Following the claims and a meeting with BBC bosses, Ricky was suspended from the soap in April for two months. It was then announced in October 2015 that he had been axed from EastEnders and his character was swiftly written out of the show.

Despite his abrupt exit, Ricky has always been open about wanting to return to the BBC soap. “The thing with EastEnders is that anything can happen,” he exclusively told Daily Star and other press ahead of starring on Dancing on Ice. “I’ve got a lot of love for EastEnders I’ve got a lot of friends and family that are still there.”

The actor has been open about his desire to reprise the role
The actor has been open about his desire to reprise the role (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes)

He continued: “I call them family because you share a lot there. You really build a strong bond with the people that you work with.” The former soap star went to acknowledge that a character’s death doesn’t always end their story, adding: “Whether you die onscreen or offscreen, there have been returns.”

He went on: “[EastEnders] had a year full of great storylines. Christmas was fantastic. If they wanted Fatboy back, they just need to give me a call.”

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