FIVE years have passed since Danny Hatchard’s official departure EastEnders.
The actor – who portrayed Lee Carter in the BBC soap – came back for a small stint in December, 2020, and has since shown off his incredible body transformation.
One year after his last appearance on EastEnders, 30-year-old Danny wowed his social media following by sharing a snap of his toned physique on Instagram.
“I achieved what I set out to do. Blood, sweat, tears and many weeks of hard work”, he captioned.
“But worth every second… 2 stone lighter and feeling good.”
“A massive thank you to the guardian angel that is @leannemarshallfitness you’ve been a mentor and a real friend during this whole process.”
His Instagram community reacted with a wave of support and congratulations.
Danny’s appearance has drastically changed since he set himself the task of overhauling his body in August, 2021, much to the public’s surprise.
He had initially set out to take three months away from the limelight, stating he would be showing off the results of his transformation journey on November 11, 2021.
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Fans of the former EastEnders star eventually heard from him on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2021).
BBC One viewers last saw the actor on screens during a short New Year’s Eve stint on EastEnders one year earlier, in December, 2020.
Danny then slipped into the skin of Linda and Mick Carter’s son Lee, when his father was struggling with his mental health.
He had already returned to the programme once, in December 2019, to help his parents overcome their relationship issues, even making amends with ex-wife Whitney.
He was Linda’s main source of support as she passed out drunk in the square.
Danny’s 2020 appearance in the soap was included three years after he had been written out of the show.
In August 2016, two years after his EastEnders debut in 2014, BBC bosses announced Danny’s departure from the programme.
“This was a tough decision”, said a source close to the channel at the time, “but sometimes to create big storylines characters need to come and go.”
“Danny-Boy is a dedicated actor and a popular cast member, and as part of the Carter family, no one should rule out a return.”
Danny left the show in 2017 and, in July that same year, admitted he was “disappointed” by his EastEnders exit.
This was notably due to Ronnie and Roxie Mitchell’s dramatic departure, two other stars of the programme whose contracts had not been renewed by producer Sean O’Connor.
Danny deemed his exit anti-climactic in contrast to his former co-stars’.
“I was disappointed how my character left with the mental health story”, he told The Mirror.
“He could have left with something similar but with a little more attention to detail. I feel it got a little brushed off a bit.”
Danny-Boy then stated he accepted Sean’s decision: “I had to accept that, just in terms of how my storyline came to an end. That is just the way it is.”
Lee’s story ended with the character’s marriage to Whitney breaking down, prompting him to leave her behind for a new life in Dover.
Lee sent his friend Moose Parker (Sam Gittins) over to Whitney to announce that he wanted a divorce.