Ian Beale called a mystery woman at Dots funeral in EastEnders

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EastEnders’ Sonia Fowler (played by Natalie Cassidy) announced at the Queen Vic that Walford stalwart Dot Cotton (June Brown) passed away peacefully at her home in Ireland with grandson Charles Cotton (Declan Bennett). Sonia had since been tirelessly working to put on the perfect service for her step-grandmother, welcoming neighbours and lifelong friends to her funeral. While not everyone could make it to the church, one EastEnders veteran was there to say his quiet goodbye from the sidelines.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from EastEnders.

Who was Ian Beale talking to on the phone?

Smug businessman Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) hadn’t starred in EastEnders since January 2021 as he left Albert Square in tears.

The year before, Ian locked Sharon Watts’ (Letitia Dean) son Denny (Blea Landau) in a room for disturbing the Queen Vic’s boat party on the Thames.

But when the boat started sinking, he struggled to save the teenager in time, resulting in Denny’s death.

Sharon was unaware that Ian was partly responsible for Denny’s demise until a few weeks later when she listened to a voice message left to her by her son.

She was desperate to get revenge and so ended up marrying Ian and putting poison in his food to try and kill him off.

When he discovered the truth, the pair had a heart to heart of sorts but he felt as if he could no longer live there and dropped his phone in a bin before walking away.

There has been little to no contact from Ian since this moment but in tonight’s [Monday, December 12] episode, fans were shocked to see him pop up.

Ian was standing behind the bushes as Dot’s coffin was carried into the church and with tears in his eyes, he whimpered: “Goodbye Dot.”

He then received a phone call with Ian telling someone that he was “coming home love”.

When initially asked who called Ian at a Q&A, executive producer Chris Clenshaw joked “Yeah I called Adam [Woodyatt]”, but went on state “I’m not going to reveal that. He’s on the phone to someone, we know who.”

Talking of how the moment came about, he continued: “I told him my plans and I said ‘Ian has to be there’ and he agreed, it was as simple as that.

“Obviously, he didn’t make it into the church but he made his own private goodbye to Dot.

“Adam wanted to be there for June [Brown] and he knew that Ian had to be there for Dot.”

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Ian has been away from the square for almost two years so he has started a new life away from his loved ones.

So it could well be that he has a new love in his life that EastEnders fans have not yet met.

However, another theory is that it could be one of his ex-wives on the other end of the line, and in particular, Jane (Leslie Brett) who left in 2017.

After covering up the fact Bobby Beale (Eliot Carrington) killed Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater), Max Branning (Jake Wood) wanted his revenge against Jane as he spent a year in prison for her murder.

He ended up threatening to kill Bobby if Jane didn’t leave Walford and so without saying a word to Ian or anyone else, she left.

So could it be that Jane and Ian have reunited away from Walford after being forced apart for years?

As of yet, there is no official confirmation that Ian will be returning but Clenshaw has teased it could happen in the future.

He added: “I think Adam’s a little busy at the moment but Adam is Ian Beale.”

EastEnders is available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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