EastEnders legend Adam Woodyatt may never return to play Ian Beale in the soap again.
The actor has been a mainstay of the EastEnders cast for 36 years, making the hapless business mogul the character with the longest continuous run in the BBC One show until a shock exit in January.
Adam's departure isn't set as permanent as he's taking an "extended break" from filming to appear in a stage adaptation of Peter James' crime novel Looking Good Dead, but he said he won't be back until 2022 - if he comes back at all.
"I won't be going back until this time next year at the absolute earliest," he told the Metro. "I'm committed to touring with Looking Good Dead until the end of October. I'm then going to America because my daughter is getting married.
"Then hopefully we're going to pick the tour up and do some of the venues that were originally planned but that we hadn't managed to get to. That's likely to be January to April. And EastEnders might not want me back! We could get a new boss in who goes, 'Beale's gone, we don't need him anymore'."
Ian's exit came after his marriage of convenience to best pal Sharon turned sour and she tried to poison him after learning he was responsible for the death of her son. It's not the first time a spouse has tried to murder Walford's unluckiest lovebird, as the character's first wife, Cindy, hired a hitman to bump him off back in 1996.
The star went on to add that even if Ian's time on Albert Square has come to an end, he hopes he's had enough iconic storylines to cement an EastEnders legacy to match other popular characters.
"I think even if I actually left, I'd still be part of the fabric," he explained. "Ian will always be associated with the Square. People still talk about Den and Angie, and they haven't been on the programme in 32 years, so I think I will always be there in people's minds."