Gay character Johnny Carter is set to return to Eastenders, but will be re-cast.

Actor Sam Strike, who left the soap in 2014, will not reprise the role.

Johnny Carter, the son of Danny Dyer’s character Mick Carter, will return to Walford later in 2016.

A spokesperson for the soap told the Radio Times: “There are so many more stories that we wanted to tell with Johnny, so we felt that the time was right to unite the Carter family again.”

“The Carter family quickly became one of EastEnders’ most iconic families and there are lots of stories planned for them, but it felt it would be a shame if those stories had to be told without Johnny’s involvement,” another source adds.

“Whoever gets the job will be landing themselves a dream role.”

Characters on the soap are often re-cast, as actors leave.

Strike joined the BBC soap in December 2013 as Carter, and has won acclaim for a storyline that saw him come out to his father, played by Danny Dyer.

The show received a torrent of homophobic abuse on Twitter in January this year, when Strike’s character locked lips with Danny Pennant (Gary Lucy).

However, the BBC told PinkNews that only 2 complaints were made about the kiss out of approximately 7.9 million viewers.

Gay kiss Eastenders

A quote from Strike saying he thought the character wasn’t “necessary” in the Soap from 2015, was among a list of stories removed from Google results

Speaking to Digital Spy, Strike cited a “mixture” of reasons for his decision to quit, including a desire to branch out in acting and “try new things”.

However, he added: “I also didn’t really feel like at the time my character was necessarily needed in EastEnders.”