Living life under the arches! EastEnders' Ian Beale looks unrecognisable as he returns to Albert Square as a bearded homeless wreck

By Kirsty Mccormack


Everyone knows that it's obligatory to suspend your disbelief when watching any soap opera, but fans may find it hard to follow EastEnders' latest storyline.

Images have been released of one of Walford's well-known characters, Ian Beale, but he is barely recognisable follwowing his time sleeping rough on the streets.

In scenes that are to be aired later this summer, Ian (Adam Woodyatt) is a bearded and homeless tramp who has been living in an underpass for the past few weeks.

Who's that guy? EastEnders' Ian Beale looks unrecognisable as he returns to Albert Square after sleeping rough for weeks

When he finally decides to return to Albert Square and face his problems, Ian is seen peering from behind a tree wearing a beanie hat and sporting bloody cuts on his face as well as bushy unkempt beard.

The Walford resident, who has been married four times, has always been known for seeing his troubles through and coming out the other end smiling, but clearly he has finally reached breaking point.

Fans of EastEnders last saw Ian over a month ago as the signs of his mental breakdown began to show.

Out of the limelight: The actor was spotted on set sporting a bloody and bruised face and wearing scruffy clothes

He was seen walking down the motorway wearing a pair of pyjamas after his financial problems and Ben Mitchell's confession became all too much for him.

But while his own daughter Lucy has been trying to play things down and pretend her father is away on his honeymoon, it has emerged that his fellow neighbours Alfie Moon (Shane Richie), Max Branning (Jake Wood) and his wife Tanya (Jo Joyner) decide to go looking for him when they realise that not all is well.

We're here! Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) Max Branning (Jake Wood) and his wife Tanya (Jo Joyner) were spotted on set too as they filmed scenes where they go looking for Ian

Bit of drama: The threesome enlist the help of a mystery blonde who tries to escape

The trio were spotted on set in an underpass where a mystery female was seen helping them try and locate Ian.

Their search takes them to all the homeless areas where the blonde woman eventually finds a guy who has the information they require.

She is seen here taking £10 from Max and giving it the guy in return for the information, which leads them to another underpass.

Moment of truth: Tanya discovers where Ian has been sleeping for the past month or so

All hell breaks loose: A fight erupts at the underpass when the trip come to rescue Ian

However, once they get there a huge fight breaks out and the woman tries to run away, but Max chases her and is seen forcing her to come back as they prepare to come face to face with Ian - who has been sleeping there beneath the motorway.

The show's bosses have introduced the latest turn of events to highlight the seriousness of mental health problems and have also worked closely with related charities.

Found a place to stay? Ian (Adam Woodyatt) has been sleeping underneath a motorway ever since he had a mental breakdown

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Jenni Regan, of charity Time to Change, said: 'We set up a meeting between the scriptwriters and someone who has suffered from depression so they could reflect accurately what Ian has been going through.

'Mental health problems can happen to anyone and we hope EastEnders will help eliminate the stigma and taboo that still surrounds the issue.'

Enjoy your holiday? The storyline allowed Adam Woodyatt to take a six-week break from the BBC1 soap opera