EastEnders gay character Johnny Carter recast again ahead of return

Sam Strike was the original actor to play popular ay character Johnny Carter in EastEnders 2013.

EastEnders‘ Johnny Carter is returning to the BBC soap opera after a five-year hiatus – but the popular gay character will be looking a little different after being recast for a second time.

A decade after Johnny Carter first rolled up to Walford, played by Sam Strike, the son of Linda (Kellie Bright) and Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) is returning again to Albert Square to shake things up. But this time round he will be played by Charlie Suff – the third actor to play Johnny since 2013.

Johnny made an impact on viewers right from the get-go after coming out as gay to dad Mick in a heartfelt storyline back in 2014. After leaving Walford on a motorbike with his first boyfriend Gianluca Cavallo (Gabriele Lombardo), he made a dramatic (and heartbroken) return in 2016, then played by Ted Reilly.

On his return he encountered many dangers, including getting accidentally shot by Ted Murray (Christopher Timothy) and then almost dying when his ambulance crashed.

In 2018, Johnny left the show once again but five years on he is making his long-awaited return.

Who is new Johnny Carter actor Charlie Suff?

Incoming EastEnders star Charlie Suff is a rising British actor who trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before appearing in a range of theatre, TV and film roles.

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Best known for his role as Tommy Wilson in ITV drama Grantchester, Suff has also starred in ITV series Grace and the Barons Court Theatre production of Lemons, Lemons, Lemons.

His role as EastEnders‘ Johnny Carter will mark Suff’s biggest to date.

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In a statement announcing his casting, Suff said: “I’m so delighted to be joining such an iconic programme – EastEnders was always on at my house when I was growing up. Johnny is a complex character who has been through so much, which I can’t wait to explore.”

“I’ve found EastEnders to be the most kind and loving space to work in, and I already feel like one of the family.”

Who played gay EastEnders character Johnny Carter in the past?

Charlie Suff is not the first actor to play the role of Johnny Carter.

When the character first appeared in EastEnders from 2013 to 2014, he was played by Sam Strike. Strike was praised for his portrayal of Johnny’s moving coming out storyline.

During his stint, Johnny had to navigate coming out to his parents, attending his first Pride celebrations and embarking on his first relationship with Gianluca.

Strike left the role in 2014, stating that he felt there were a lack of storylines left for Johnny to pursue. In an interview with Digital Spy at the time, Strike reflect on the impact of his character, and particularly his coming out scene with Mick.

“I was really grateful for the fact that they trusted me to pull something like that off before they knew what I could do.

“The scene wasn’t about fighting the world, but it was that simple day-to-day thing of just telling your dad that you’re gay. That’s what was important about that.”

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A newly-single Johnny returned to EastEnders in 2016, this time played by Ted Reilly. After escaping multiple near-death experiences, his character once more departed in 2018 to take up a job in a Manchester law firm.

Ted Reilly was the second star to play Johnny Carter.
Ted Reilly was the second star to play Johnny Carter. (BBC)

Once more looking to move on in his career, Reilly announced his departure by saying: “It was a really tough decision to leave, but at this stage in my career it’s very important to keep being challenged & experience new things!”

What can viewers expect from Johnny Carter’s to Albert Square?

Half a decade after his last on-screen appearanve, Johnny Carter is returning to EastEnders just as his mum, Linda finds herself the centre of a major Christmas murder mystery.

Teasing Johnny’s upcoming plot, EastEnders boss Chris Clenshaw, said: “Although we haven’t seen Johnny on the Square in almost five years, his character remains linked to the show and its most iconic venue, The Queen Vic.

“Since his short time away, the Carter family dynamics have changed significantly, and it’s safe to say that Johnny will be returning to a very different Walford than the one he left.”

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm on BBC One.

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