Hollywood star Patrick Bergin is joining the cast of EastEnders as a charismatic old school villain.
The Sleeping With The Enemy and Robin Hood actor, 66, will play Aidan Joseph Patrick Maguire – an old friend of Phil Mitchell’s from prison.
Soap bosses said the character would be part of a “truly explosive storyline” over the festive season.
Bergin said he was thrilled about being cast in the BBC soap as he has “watched and admired it since the days of Dirty Den”.
He said: “It is an iconic show that has the ability to shape the way people think, whilst also telling big explosive stories that keep the audience gripped.
“I am really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for Aidan as it’s bound to be dramatic.”
Aidan will first appear in Albert Square later this year.
Despite the bond he and Phil (Steve McFadden) formed inside, the pair have not been in touch for years.
But their friendship is reignited when Aidan suddenly turns up on Phil’s doorstep.
EastEnders creative director John Yorke said: “EastEnders deserves the very best and in Patrick we are absolutely privileged to have a truly great actor join the show.
“It’s a huge honour to have him on board, where he’ll be working hand in hand with Phil Mitchell and Mick Carter to carry a truly explosive storyline for Christmas and New Year.
“We can’t wait to get started.”