EastEnders spoilers: Ian Beale returns as Kheerat seduces Sharon for his whereabouts?

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But the long-term EastEnders character could make a dramatic return soon. Ian’s mother Kathy Beale (played by Gillian Taylforth) has been desperately trying to find out where her son is, but hasn’t found anything out. A new possible storyline could see Ian (Adam Woodyatt) make a sudden comeback, leaving Sharon (Letitia Dean) stunned. And it could all be set in motion by an unlikely local who uses Sharon to find Ian.

Official spoilers confirm that upcoming episodes will see Kheerat Panesar (Jaz Deol) ask Sharon out for a drink.

Over a bottle of wine, they discuss their romantic pasts, but Kheerat puts his foot in it and leaves Sharon hurt.

Sharon abruptly leaves Kheerat alone following their disastrous date. But a little while later, as Kheerat sits at the call centre, a seductive Sharon appears in his doorway.

It’s not been unveiled what Kheerat says to Sharon to upset her, but if it’s related to her dating life, Ian could certainly have been mentioned.

In a ruthless attempt to get rid of him, Sharon and Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) plotted to kill Ian after finding out that he unwittingly had a part to play in Sharon’s son Denny’s (Bleu Landau) death.

The pair planned for Sharon to marry Ian, winning his trust before murdering him – and they almost succeeded.

In his latest scenes last year, Sharon had decided to poison his food, but quickly had a change of heart and forced him to be sick to get rid of the poison.

He later left the square, and it seems nobody has heard from him since. But had Kheerat’s sudden interest in Sharon got something to do with the missing character?

Kheerat is close with Ian’s troubled brother Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden), who is likely trying to help their mum trace his whereabouts.

Ben and Sharon have bad blood though and refuse to speak to each other.

Kheerat could be trying to get close with Sharon in order to help Ben find out where Ian is, but will the plan work?

It seems likely for Ian to make his dramatic comeback soon, with Sharon having recently given up The Vic in attempts to move on with her life.

In typical soap fashion, this would be the perfect point for a surprise revisit from her ex-husband.

As the only character surviving from the original EastEnders cast, Adam has played the ruthless businessman in the soap since 1985 and has been involved in some of EastEnders’ biggest moments.

These include the murder of his daughter Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) and his last, infamous disappearing act after he found out Ben had murdered Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison).

Months later, he returned after a stint on the streets looking unrecognisable.

His snap exit last year surely wasn’t his final scenes on the show, and the run-away exit has left room for him to come back at any point.

It was confirmed last year that Adam would be taking an extended break from filming the soap, but many have theorised that he will return soon.

If anyone does know where he is, it’s likely to be Sharon. She couldn’t go through with killing him, so it seems unrealistic that she’d have let him disappear into nowhere in a vulnerable state.

He may have asked his ex to keep his location a secret in attempts to put his life in Walford behind him, but he has far too many connections to stay away for good.

His brother Ben is also supposed to be getting married next week – could he make a surprise attendance?

If Kheerat does get to the bottom of the mystery, Ben is likely to go after Ian and try to get him to return.

But will he once again come back in a bedraggled state, like he did when he became homeless after fleeing the square before?

It’s possible he could be out for revenge on Sharon and arch-enemy Phil, and he’s been biding his time to make a move.

However it happens, it’s bound to be dramatic and get the square talking. Fans are keen to see the long-standing character return, or at least discover where he is and what the future holds for Ian.

EastEnders continues on Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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