He may be greying, but hearts will still quicken at the news that David Wicks is to reioin EastEnders. Seventeen years after his departure, the charmer who repeatedly disappointed Carol Jackson will be back in TV”s most famous square.
Played with a permanent twinkle in his eye by Michael French, he was one of the soap”s most popular characters during his stint from 1993-1996.
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David returned briefly in 2012 to say goodbye to his dying mum Pat Butcher, who was portrayed by Pam St Clement.
Unfortunately, he had to leave in a hurry after being threatened by Carol”s brothers, the Brannigans, who warned him to leave their sister alone. He left his former childhood sweetheart a letter of explanation that she didn”t receive until it was too late.
Since the Nineties, Michael has won roles in Casualty as consultant Nick Jordan and as a former cardiothoracic registrar in Holby City. The 50-year-old also trod the boards as Billy Flynn in a West End production of Chicago opposite Brooke Shields.
For many TV viewers, though, the Londoner will forever be associated with his Walford character David.
He provided some of the series” most sensational storylines. The rogue flirted with Carol”s attractive flame-haired daughter Biana – Patsy Palmer in real life – before finding out that he was her father.
His affair with Cindy Beale, the wife of his half-brother Ian, also set screens alight. Obssessed with David, the blonde temptress hired a hitman to kill her husband then ran off abroad with her and Ian”s child.
The soap currently has seven million viewers, but is struggling with competitors such as Coronation Street. The new signing, who is set to appear on TV in September, should help boost its following.
An insider told the Daily Mirror: “David is a massive character and was always hugely popular with fans. Michael”s return to the soap is a huge coup for the BBC, and viewers will see his character back to charming, cunning best.
“He has also been assured of a couple of major, forthcoming storylines.
“He”s a bit older but David still sees himself as a womaniser and is sure to break a few hearts third time around.”