EastEnders: Jewish actor Leonard Fenton to return as Dr Legg
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EastEnders: Jewish actor Leonard Fenton to return as Dr Legg

Fenton, 92, who is himself Jewish, appeared in the very first episode of the BBC One soap more than 30 years ago and left in 1999

EastEnders cast member Leonard Fenton will return to the soap this autumn as Doctor Harold Legg. Credit: Press Association
EastEnders cast member Leonard Fenton will return to the soap this autumn as Doctor Harold Legg. Credit: Press Association

EastEnders’ first Jewish character Dr Harold Legg will return to Albert Square this autumn.

Actor Leonard Fenton, 92, who is himself Jewish, appeared in the very first episode of the BBC One soap more than 30 years ago and played Walford’s local GP until his departure in 1999.

Dr Legg was a close friend of Dot Cotton, played by June Brown, who entertained her hypochondria and seemingly endless list of ailments.

He returned a handful of times over the years, most recently in 2007 when Dot needed his help.

Fenton, 92, said: “I am very happy to be back at EastEnders and am looking forward to working with June and the rest of the cast and crew again.”

Brown said of working with her former colleague again: “It’s been 11 years since Dot last visited her favourite doctor, Dr Legg, and it’s an utter delight to be working with Leonard Fenton again in 2018.”

Fenton has returned to the show for filming, and will be seen on screens later this year.

John Yorke EastEnders‘ executive consultant said: “It’s a huge honour to have Leonard back in the show and to see him and June working together again for an exciting and emotional story.”

Dr Harold Legg was one of the original 23 characters invented by the creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland and Julia Smith.

His character was an attempt to represent the East End’s once-flourishing Jewish community, which largely settled between 1881 and 1914 after escaping the pogroms of Eastern Europe.

Reunited: Leonard Fenton as Doctor Harold Legg with Dot Cotton, played by June Brown. Credit: PA

The second generation of East End-born Jews, like Dr Legg, prospered in the area until the 1930s when Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists was formed and used violence to instil fear in the Jewish population.

As they grew wealthier, many moved from the East End to more affluent areas of London.

When the show began, Dr Legg was living in Islington, but commuting to his practice in Walford.

In past interviews, Fenton has revealed that much of Dr Legg’s character traits were actually based on himself.

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