The BBC has confirmed that memorable EastEnders characters Lofty and Mary the punk are to make guest returns to bid a final farewell to Doctor Legg.
Dr Legg returned to EastEnders earlier this year and broke the devastating news to his friend Dot Branning (June Brown) that he had terminal pancreatic cancer. He will succumb to the illness in the new year.
Having been Walford’s GP for over a decade, it’s not only the current residents of Albert Square that want to say farewell. Three decades since they were last seen in Walford, Linda Davidson and Tom Watt will reprise their roles as Mary ‘The Punk’ Smith and George ‘Lofty’ Holloway, guest starring in one episode to pay their final respects to Doctor Legg.
Walford’s original wild child, Mary Smith rocked up in Albert Square with her baby daughter Annie in March 1985. She had shunned her conservative family to become a punk rock groupie, falling pregnant with Annie during this time.
An early controversial character, Mary went on to prostitute herself for a living and for a while was slack at provisioning childcare for Annie, leaving the tot home alone on numerous occasions to the concern of neighbours.
Mary later dabbled in drugs and was last seen giving Albert Square the finger after boarding a bus. Canadian-born Davidson subsequently quit acting to work in web design and now has her own social media agency.
“EastEnders was my first proper family. It gave me stability and a fantastic foundation from which to build an incredible life. The people of EastEnders have been a consistent thread throughout the intervening years. I am so thrilled, and very proud to be returning to that family 35 years later. It’s going to be a blast!” – Linda Davidson
Ex-soldier George ‘Lofty’ Holloway rented a room above Dr. Legg’s surgery and worked as a bartender at The Vic, having been forced out of the army by his chronic asthma. He is best remembered for being stood up at the altar by gymslip mum Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) after offering to help raise her baby daughter, Vicky.
Michelle and Lofty did eventually tie the knot, but the marriage imploded after just one year when Lofty found out that Michelle had aborted their baby behind his back.
Lofty left the Square to take up a job in a children’s home while Watt went on to pursue his love of football, moving into sports journalism and working predominantly in radio, though there have been minor acting appearances over the years.
“I was delighted John Yorke asked me if I would return to EastEnders for Doctor Legg’s funeral. Doctor Legg is an iconic character so it feels fitting that Lofty should return to say goodbye. I have nothing but good memories from my time on EastEnders so it will be lovely to set foot back in Albert Square all these years later.” – Tom Watt
The characters of Lofty and Mary were part of the original cast of EastEnders in 1985, alongside Dr. Legg who returned to screens in October. They departed Albert Square in 1988 but can currently be seen in re-runs of classic episodes on UKTV channel Drama.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Tom and Linda back for these small but incredibly important roles. As soon as Leonard Fenton agreed to return as Doctor Legg, it seemed just the best possible tribute we could pay both his character and the show. Mary and Lofty are huge iconic characters, and a central part of the shows’ DNA. Though both have moved on to hugely successful careers elsewhere we are both thrilled and touched to have them back for one very special episode.” – John Yorke, EastEnders’ Executive Consultant