25/07/2013 03:30 BST | Updated 25/07/2013 03:55 BST

'EastEnders': David Wicks To Return To Albert Square As Viewing Figures Fall Below Five Million

Former Eastenders star Michael French takes on a new role in 'The Crime Traveller', an eight-part drama series for BBC-1 in which he plays Jeff Slade, a time travelling detective.

'EastEnders' bosses have confirmed Michael French will reprise his role as womaniser David Wicks as viewing figures for the BBC soap fell below five million.

The actor will be back on screen later this year in scenes that will cause a stir with the other residents of Walford.

'EastEnders' executive producer Lorraine Newman said: "It's an absolute honour to have Michael back in the show. Michael created an iconic character in David and with such rich history - with Ian, Bianca and of course Carol - there's plenty to explore in the future."

He is the latest character confirmed to make a return to the show in a bid to turn flagging viewing figures around.

Samantha Womack will return as Ronnie Mitchell and Barbara Windsor will reprise her role as Peggy Mitchell for one episode.

Executives on the show are said to be confident that the return of some familiar faces and big storylines - including Phil Mitchell being involved in a car crash - will win back viewers who have switched off - and attract new ones.

Just 4.8 million viewers watched the long-running BBC soap on Tuesday after going head-to-head with ITV's 'Emmerdale'.

Even a specially filmed scene of characters Dot Cotton and Abi Branning discussing the birth of the Royal baby that was inserted into Tuesday's episode failed to attract extra viewers.

A source told The Sun: “All the soaps are struggling at the moment.

“We got seven million on Monday. We’re not worried, there are some huge storylines planned for the autumn.

“Good storylines take months to plan, we’re fully expecting the soap to recover. There are always peaks and troughs.”

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