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EastEnders icon return date confirmed weeks after exit – and fans don’t have long to wait

EastEnders star Lorraine Stanley is set to reprise her role as Karen Taylor just weeks after she bid farewell to Walford as she returns in the aftermath of her son's death

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EastEnders fans will be greeted with a familiar face as Karen Taylor is set to return to Albert Square.

Lorraine Stanley will be reprising her role as Karen, just weeks after her emotional exit. Karen was driven out of Walford after staging Albie’s kidnap alongside son Keanu (Danny Walters).

Covering for her son, Karen took the full blame and fled the Square with partner Mitch (Roger Griffiths) and their children – along with £50,000 of Phil’s (Steve McFadden) money. Despite her departure appearing permanent, new listings for the soap have confirmed Karen will return to the Square in early February.

The synopsis for the episode set to air on February 6 reads: “When Karen comes asking questions, Kathy and Stacey team up to convince her of their version of events from Christmas Day.” A lot has happened since Karen left Walford, including the death of Keanu.

Karen Taylor is returning to Walford
Karen Taylor is returning to Walford (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes)
On Christmas Day, Sharon (Letitia Dean) discovered Keanu was behind Albie’s kidnapping. She then dropped the bombshell that Phil is Albie’s biological father and not Keanu.

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Later, in The Vic, Linda (Kellie Bright) fatally stabbed Keanu to stop him from killing Sharon, who he was strangling in a fit of rage. The Six buried Keanu’s body underneath the floor in the café and spun a web of lies to the police.

She arrives with questions for The Six, unaware her son Keanu was murdered
She arrives with questions for The Six, unaware her son Keanu was murdered (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

They claimed Keanu did a runner after attacking Nish and holding the women hostage. Now Karen is returning, she will likely have plenty of questions for The Six.

Opening up about her exit from the soap, Lorraine, 47, previously said: “I just want people to remember her as the best mum on the square, a heart of gold, she’d give you her last fiver and would do anything for her kids – a bit like myself.”

Karen left before Christmas with partner Mitch and their family
Karen left before Christmas with partner Mitch and their family (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

After her departure was confirmed, the actress shared an emotional message to fans who sent supportive message following the news. She began: “Hey everyone! I’m so grateful for all of your lovely messages this past week. Thank you to Daran Little for creating the Taylors and to the BBC for giving me the opportunity to play such a fabulous character, I’ll be sad to be saying goodbye to Karen Taylor and will miss all the cast and crew at EastEnders.

“However I’m looking forward to my next chapter and excited about being a jobbing Actor again and starting new ventures.” Lorraine previously told The Sun that she hoped the door would be left open for her to return – and luckily BBC bosses have done exactly that.

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