EastEnders fans left floored by Phil Mitchell’s reaction to seeing Ian Beale again

Fans of EastEnders were left confused after spotting Phil Mitchell's bizarre reaction to seeing Ian Beale return to Albert Square.

Ian, played by Adam Woodyatt, left the square two and a half years ago, but in explosive scenes this week, he returned with his ex-wife, Cindy Beale – whom everyone believed to be dead.

Cindy (Michelle Collins) has been absent for 25 years, but she shocked revellers in the Queen Victoria pub as she turned up on her daughter Anna Knight's 21st birthday.

Anna (Molly Rainford) can be seen closing her eyes to blow out the candles on her cake, as Cindy storms through the pub to stand in front of her face.

The shock is clear to see on Anna's face as she opens her eyes and stutters: "Mum?"

Ian Beale and his son Peter also entered the pub, drawing confused looks from Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace), Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean), Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) and his old arch-nemesis, Phil Mitchel (Steve McFadden).

In classic soap style, the episode ended on a cliffhanger, with one enthralled fan tweeting: "Omg tonight's cliffhanger!"

But many fans were quick to comment on some of the characters' reactions, including Phil.

One wrote: "Sharon and Phil are in utter bewilderment, Ian there and nobody noticed, where's tomorrow's episode??"

Another said: "I love how they showed Sharon, Phil, and Sonia's reactions to seeing Ian," whilst someone else said: "Sharon, Phil and Kat’s reactions to Ian being back, they were like 'am I hallucinating?'"

Cindy Beale actress Michelle Collins recently appeared on BBC's The One Show, where she said she 'almost crashed her car' when EastEnders bosses called her to let her know they wanted to bring back her scheming character after 25 years.

She explained how she and her former on-screen husband Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian, used to argue on-set, but now that time has passed, they're fine, and she revealed how they called each other as soon as they heard the news.

She said: "I was driving somewhere up north and had Bluetooth on, of course. I got the call, John Cannon called from EastEnders asking if I would go back. I nearly crashed the car actually, I was like 'I've got to stop!' I had to pull over. Then I thought 'I've got to phone Adam' and he's actually already called me.

"He said: 'I've just had the call, have you?' and we both said yes! I didn't want to go back for one episode. It wouldn't have been worth it. I wanted to make sure it was planned properly. It was a big move for me. I had to make sure it was the right decision. If I left five years ago, I would have said no."

Speaking of their former differences, Michelle explained: "We used to row all the time and we don't any more! We used to bicker, they used to call us George and Mildred.

"We were very different, but we've not gone full circle – I'm so fond of Adam, he's been so supportive. It's great to be working together again."

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