Mary and Lofty return to Walford

Photo: BBC

Eastenders legends Mary Smith and 'Lofty' Holloway have been pictured alongside Do in the Queen Vic ahead of their return after 30 years.

Linda Davidson and Tom Watt are making brief returns to Albert Square, reprising their roles of Mary and Lofty.

The duo will be returning for a storyline next year that will see another of the soap’s original characters, Dr Harold Legg, get killed off.

Mary and Lofty were two of the show’s 26 characters when it launched in 1985 — first appearing in episodes three and five respectively.

But neither have been seen in Walford since their final appearances in 1988.

Tom, 62, and Linda, 54, have now returned to the set at the show’s Elstree Studios, in Hertfordshire - posing with June Brown, who has played Dot in the soap since 1985.

The pair were recently seen together in 2015 at celebrations for the 30th anniversary of EastEnders.

A soap source previously told The Sun: "Lofty and Mary The Punk are two of the most memorable characters of the original set of stars.

"It’s staggering to think it’s been more than 30 years since they were last on the Square but soap fans will be delighted to hear of their comeback.

"Regular viewers will know Dr Legg’s health is bad and it’s thought his death will play out in February next year, and these two will be back around the time of his funeral."

Mary was seen as one of EastEnders’ most controversial characters at its launch — a former punk rock groupie and drug user whose wild lifestyle put her baby at risk.

Barely able to write, she couldn’t look after her child without her neighbours’ help and earned her living as a prostitute.

Actress Linda, who was born in Canada, dated co-star Nejdet Salih, who played cafe owner and minicab driver Ali Osman.

She later gave up acting to work in web design and now runs a social media agency.

And George 'Lofty' Holloway — the barman at The Queen Vic pub — was hopelessly in love with Michelle Fowler, who also returned last year played by Jenna Russell rather than original actress Susan Tully.

Michelle dumped him at the altar at their first wedding, but they later married after she had Dirty Den’s illegitimate child, Vicki.
Lofty left the soap after their relationship broke down to become a social worker.
In real life, aside from a few small roles, actor Tom moved into sports journalism and regularly appears on radio.

He also ghostwrote David Beckham’s autobiography.

He recently praised his time on the soap and his character, saying: "I had really good working relationships with people like Leslie Grantham (Den Watts), Anita Dobson (Angie Watts) and Sue Tully.

"Lofty was a really rewarding character to play — a beautiful mix of comedy and proper drama."

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