Lord Michael Cashman to return as EastEnders first ever gay character

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The actor-turned-Labour MEP is making his way back to Albert Square.

Lord Michael Cashman has revealed that he is returning to EastEnders as Colin Russell – 27 years after leaving the show.

Lord Michael Cashman to return as EastEnders first ever gay character

Colin – who was the BBC soap’s first ever gay character – was last seen in Walford in February 1989.

The character first hit the headlines in 1987 when he had the first gay kiss in a British soap opera.

Show bosses are keeping details of Colin’s return top secret – but his visit is set to raise a big question for Dot Branning (June Brown) when he appears in two episodes next month.

“It was a real joy, indeed a privilege, to return to my old home of Albert Square,” Lord Cashman said.

“To be amongst so many friends again, and to be back in the place where 30 years ago I started an amazing journey, an amazing journey which incredibly helped to change the country, and certainly its attitude to lesbian, gay and bisexual people,” added.

“Arguably without EastEnders I would never have gone into politics; I would not have been one of the founders of Stonewall and its founding chair, and I would never have ended up where I am now.

Lord Michael Cashman to return as EastEnders first ever gay character

Following his acting career, Lord Cashman – who co-founded Stonewall in 1989 – was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands in 1999, until 2014 when he was appointed to the House of Lords.

In the same year, former party leader Ed Miliband named him the party’s special envoy on LGBT issues – a position he recently quit under current leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Lord Cashman won a PinkNews Award in 2014, and picked up a posthumous award dedicated to his late civil partner Paul Cottingham.

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