EastEnders stars who returned from the dead – car crashes to witness protection

It's a big day for Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) as she is set to marry Rocky (Brian Conley) on EastEnders.

But while Kathy is preparing to walk down the aisle, Rocky is more concerned about the events of the stag night after losing their honeymoon on a bet with Nish (Navin Chowdhry).

Waiting nervously at the registry office, the day took a nightmare turn for Rocky when his ex-wife Jo (Vicki Michell) turned up and revealed they are not divorced.

READ MORE: EastEnders legend Rita Simons 'set to join rival soap' six years after brutal death exit

The horrified groom tried to process the news, just as Kathy arrived to marry him.

But this is no doubt the hardest thing Kathy has had to deal with in her life, as fans will remember the character pretended she was dead for nine years before returning to Albert Square in 2015.

Here, Daily Star has looked at which characters have made a surprise resurrection on the BBC soap.

Kathy Beale

After 15 years in Walford, Kathy bid farewell to her family and started a new life in South Africa in 2000.

In 2006, it was revealed she had been killed in a car accident – a storyline which facilitated the return of her son Ben, now played by Max Bowden, to his father Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden).

But Kathy was resurrected nine years later, returning to Albert Square and reuniting with her family in 2015.

It was later revealed that Kathy faked her own death to claim insurance money after being bullied into the scheme by her husband Gavin Sullivan (Paul Nicholas).

Den Watts

Arguably one of the most memorable resurrections in soap history, fans were stunned when Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) turned out to be alive and well after his supposed death.

Dirty Den made several enemies on the square and it was believed someone had finally got the better of him after he was shot by a gang member and thought to have drowned in a canal.

What made it more convincing was his own daughter Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) identified the body.

In 2003, the infamous villain returned to the square and reunited with Sharon, using the iconic line "Hello, princess".

It turned out Den had survived the shooting and had been living in Spain for the past 14 years.

But it didn't last long as he was killed off for good in 2005 by ex-wife Chrissie Watts.

Nick Cotton

Making his first appearance in 1985, Nick Cotton quickly carved himself out as one of the square's most iconic villains.

Nasty Nick kept popping up out of nowhere across three decades, but it was believed he was finally gone in January 2014 after an overdose.

Dot was told by the police that Nick had died of respiratory failure from a heroin overdose the previous week.

One of the police officers who broke the news was Nick's son, Charlie Cotton, and it was later revealed he had been impersonating a police officer.

Seven months after faking his death, Nick re-appeared in Walford and got straight back to work, blackmailing Charlie and his then-fiancé Ronnie Mitchell for £10,000.

In 2015, Dot obtained heroin for her son and later found him unconscious.

He died in his mother's arms shortly after, with Dot confessing to letting him die.

Cindy Beale

In the most recent EastEnders resurrection, Cindy Beale made her triumphant return to the soap in June 2023.

The character, played by Michelle Collins, supposedly died in prison while giving birth to twins Lucy and Peter Beale in 1998.

She was serving time for the attempted murder of then-husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt).

25 years after her off-screen demise, it was confirmed that Cindy never actually died, but instead turned informant for her ex-cellmate which saw her enter witness protection after she had been given a plea deal.

Assuming the identity of Rose Knight, she was revealed to be the wife of George Knight (Colin Salmon) and mother to their daughters, Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna (Molly Rainford).

Grant Mitchell

Mitchell brothers Phil and Grant made their way to Albert Square in 1990 and became a central part of the soap's biggest storylines.

When actor Ross Kemp had decided to leave the soap for the first time in 1999, his exit storyline focused heavily on the fractured relationship between the two brothers.

After discovering that Grant had sex with his then-wife Kathy, Phil caused Grant's car to plunge at high speed into the River Thames.

While Phil was rescued, Grant was never found and presumed dead.

But one week later, it was confirmed that Grant was alive and left with his daughter Courtney for a new life in Brazil.

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday on BBC One at 7.30pm

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