Tonight saw one of EastEnders most despised men, James Willmott-Brown make a shock return to Walford.
In Friday’s episode, Max Branning collected his old cell mate, Luke, from prison and took him home where his sister Fi, half-brother Josh and his Uncle Hugo were waiting for him.
Little did Max know that he would also be meeting their father, and his boss, for the first time. This turned out to be none other than James Willmott-Brown, played by William Boyde who was last seen on screen in 1992 when he made a brief return to Walford following a three-year sentence for raping Kathy Beale.
He has three children, Fi (Sophie) and Luke Browning from his first wife Elizabeth and Josh Hemmings, their half-brother from his later relationship with Wendy Hemmings.
Then there’s Hugo Browning, older brother of James’ first wife Elizabeth, he is the Chairman of Weyland and Co. which is owned by James Willmott-Brown.
Since his release from prison, Max Branning has been working for Weyland and Co. and although his intentions were focused on revenge, it was never clear who he was actually working for, or why, until tonight.
Max has no idea of Willmott-Brown’s history or connections to Walford, only that he claim, like Max, to be a wronged man.
With the help of his family, Willmott-Brown will continue in his mission to slowly take over Albert Square and a story of power, control, money and revenge will unfold as he and his family attempt to destroy everything and anyone in their way.
Speaking of his return to EastEnders, William Boyde said “I’m delighted to immerse myself once more in the fascinating world of soap land.”
What remains to be seen is how much each of those involved knows, and how far each will go. And of course, there is one other person on Willmott-Brown’s agenda, the woman he believes ruined his life, Kathy Beale.
Family loyalties will be questioned, tested and exposed but one thing is for sure, with ruthless Willmott-Brown ruling the clan, the residents of Walford are in for a huge shock.
EastEnders continues Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on BBC One