EASTENDERS bosses have revealed a devastating cancer storyline for one long-serving Albert Square character.
The BBC soap has announced Alfie Moon – played by Shane Richie – will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in a brand new storyline.
Viewers will see how the market trader come to terms with the disease, and how it effects his friends and family.
The soap is working alongside Prostate Cancer UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, as well as experts in the field to ensure the storyline is portrayed as accurately and as sensitively as possible.
The EastEnders favourite made an epic return to Walford in September 2022, after two years away.
Alfie came back ahead of Kat Slater’s (Jessie Wallace) wedding to Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), in a last-ditch effort to win her back.
Kat and Phil’s ceremony was postponed and Alfie stayed in Albert Square.
Although they haven’t given their relationship another go, Kat and Alfie have maintained a united front as their family experienced some minor setbacks.
Alfie has also been a prominent support figure for Freddie Slater (Bobby Brazier) amid his ADHD diagnosis storyline and his discovery of the truth about his biological father Graham Foster.
But while he’s been standing on the side-lines for most of the drama unfolding, Alfie is catapulted back into the spotlight next week after a health scare.
Upcoming scenes will see his son Tommy Moon (Sonny Kendall) act out again as he struggles to forgive Alfie for being an absent father.
Phil, who has acted as a father figure for the youngster, will be stepping in and both men will be taking action to help Tommy.
However, in doing so, Alfie suffers from huge pains prompting Phil to urge him to seek medical help.
And Alfie will receive bad news during his hospital visit.
The new cancer storyline begins after executive producer, Chris Clenshaw, teased a “tough road ahead” for Alfie.
He revealed: “When we first embarked on this storyline we knew it was imperative that we worked alongside Prostate Cancer UK and Macmillan Cancer Support to take on and accurately portray such an emotional and pivotal storyline for Alfie, and one that many viewers may relate to Shane [Richie] has thoughtfully portrayed the realities of being diagnosed with prostate cancer with grace and understanding.
“We hope that this storyline resonates with the audience, and that we represent it as sensitively, and as accurately as possible.”
Amy Rylance, Head of Improving Care, at Prostate Cancer UK added: “It’s been a pleasure working alongside EastEnders on their prostate cancer storyline, and we salute the BBC for approaching Prostate Cancer UK to ensure the narrative is as close to real life as possible.
“Every man’s experience of prostate cancer is unique, and it’s so important for viewers to be given accurate information about the disease.
“It’s been a privilege to provide insight into Alfie Moon’s journey with prostate cancer, ensuring an authentic story is told every step of the way.
“Introducing Shane (Richie) to one of our supporters affected by prostate cancer gave him the opportunity to understand what it’s like to experience the disease first hand.”
Dany Bell, Macmillan Cancer Support’s Strategic Advisor for Treatment, Medicines and Genomic, added: “Storylines like Alfie’s play a vital role in helping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on individuals and their families.
“We also know that men can often find it difficult to talk about cancer, to protect the people around them or simply wanting to stay strong.
“We hope that seeing a character like Alfie go through this experience will help open up these vital conversations and highlight the array of support that’s out there.”