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After a long absence, Matt returned to the soap in 2014, in a dramatic storyline that saw his character sexually assaulting his uncle’s wife, before going on to many other ill deeds around Albert Square.
With his departure from the soap now looming, Matt has revealed he can’t help but feel a bit relieved to be saying goodbye to Dean - and admitted that losing the character’s trademark facial hair felt particularly poignant.
Matt Di Angelo as Dean Wicks
Opening up to The Mirror about his soap exit, he joked: “It’s been my evil beard. It was kind of cleansing in a way, shaving it off.
“All that drama and Dean’s mindset, it feels like I am getting rid of it and going back to being me.
“It’s been a fun two years, I’ve done some amazing stuff but now it’s time for me to shave and find a new job.”
In the first ‘EastEnders’ of the New Year, a special double-bill will see Matt’s character coming to blows with Mick Carter on his wedding day, with the two brawling underwater in a fight that will leave Dean fighting for his life, though it’s not yet known whether he’ll pull through.
Matt says he’s now keen to follow in former co-star Ben Hardy’s footsteps and try and make a name for himself in Hollywood, adding: “I’m a Londoner, I love this city, but if I get a chance to go over there then it’s definitely an option.
“I feel like I need to go away and try other things to get better as an actor.”
Dean and Mick’s showdown airs in Friday’s ‘EastEnders’, kicking off at 6.30pm on BBC One.