EastEnders favourite Dean Gaffney to return to soap after 14 years

EastEnders favourite Dean Gaffney is returning to the role of Robbie Jackson after a 14-year break from the soap.

The actor has said he feels "so lucky" to be reprising his part as the Walford regular after previously starring in the BBC series from 1993 until 2003.

Gaffney last appeared in EastEnders briefly in 2015 after his official departure.

Gaffney said: "I'm really happy to be back. I'm so lucky to be given the chance to work again with such a talented group of people."

He said it will be a "lot of fun" and thanked the soap's executive producer Sean O'Connor for bringing him back.

O'Connor said: "I'm thrilled to welcome back Dean as Robbie Jackson, one of EastEnders' most loved and most popular characters.

"Bridge Street Market has never quite been the same without Robbie policing it in his high-vis jacket. Dean brings a wonderful warmth and fun to his portrayal of Robbie and I'm sure that audiences will take him to their hearts again, just as they have always done."

With Natalie Cassidy, who plays his sister Sonia Fowler, in 2000 Credit: PA

Robbie was a troublesome teen when he first arrived in Albert Square with the Jackson family over 20 years ago, although he went on to become a fan favourite.

After a decade as one of the soap's most familiar faces, Robbie left to move to India with his girlfriend Nita (Bindya Solanki) although he later moved to Milton Keynes.

In 2010, he returned briefly for the wedding of Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) and Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen), during which time he revealed that Nita was pregnant.

At the time, he was also devastated to learn that his trusty sidekick, pet dog Wellard, had died a few years before.

Gaffney is set to appear in EastEnders in the coming weeks, although details of his comeback storyline are currently unknown.