EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt hits out at changes to Ian Beale’s story

“He was an absolute narcissist.”

Eastenders star Adam Woodyatt, who played long-running character, Ian Beale, spoke out against the direction his character took toward the end of his time on the soap.

Woodyatt first appeared as Beale in 1985 and stayed until January 2021, when his character fled Walford after his wife tried to poison him at dinner.

Speaking about his character’s journey, Woodyatt told White Wine Question Time: “Ian evolved over years and years and years. In the 80’s, he was a teenage kid!

“There’s been a very long journey, and I don’t always think some of the changes were right, and maybe they should have chosen other directions in which to go, but they weren’t my decisions; they were stuff that the bosses chose.

“Did it make Ian unpopular?” Woodyatt continued, “yeah, at times because he was quite forthright and quite rude to everyone, even people he loved. He claimed to be a great father when actually he wasn’t.

He was an absolute narcissist. Some would also say he was actually a sociopath if you really want to psychoanalyse him.”

However, Woodyatt also defended his character: “But he was also very misunderstood because I think a lot of the time his heart was in the right place. He just got things wrong.”

Woodyatt even compared Ian’s wife Jane to Jiminy Cricket acting as his moral compass but said after the couple split, all of Ian’s character progression was undone as he forgot the lessons he had learnt.

Back in April, Woodyatt addressed rumours that Ian was returning. “I could go back and I could not go back! I don’t know. The speculation has been hysterical. I think everyone is always going to speculate. But there are no plans at the moment.”

EastEnders airs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One and streams on BBC iPlayer.