17/07/2012 11:08 BST

'EastEnders': Homeless Ian Beale Bumps Into Lauren Branning (PICTURES)

Ian Beale's much-mooted return to EastEnders has been previewed in more photos released by the BBC soap.

The snaps show businessman Beale's shocking transformation into a tramp, which fans previously got a peek at last month.

The four-times-married Albert Square stalwart has been away from the Square for several weeks, and it transpires he has been sleeping rough following a number of strain, including his marriage breaking down and financial woes.

The photos capture the moment Ian returns to Walford and comes face-to-face with Lauren Branning, doing voluntary work with homeless people.

As his daughter's friend Lauren looks shocked at who she's spotted, Ian puts his head down in an attempt to avoid his former neighbour.

EastEnders will air Ian Beale's return on Thursday 31 July at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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