EastEnders' first gay character Colin Russell makes his return to Albert Square

Last month, Lord Michael Cashman announced that he would be returning to EastEnders after 27 years away from the show. The actor-turned Labour politician, who is gay in real life and went on to co-found LGBT rights charity Stonewall in 1989 following the introduction of Section 28, sparked a national dialogue when Colin was involved in the the BBC One soap’s first same-sex kiss back in 1986. 636221 At the time character Dot Cotton (June Brown) was uncomfortable with Colin's sexuality, and went as far as to spread a rumour that Colin had AIDS after catching him kissing his boyfriend, Barry (Gary Hailes). However, the pair managed to rebuild their friendship after Colin reached out to Dot when her husband's bigamy was uncovered. Now, Colin is back, and by the looks of this new photo, Dot is the first person he visits. Will Dot be pleased to see Colin, or does his arrival stir up memories she'd rather forget? 57d128a663283_eastenderscolindotsona Speaking of his excitement at returning to the show, Lord Cashman said: "It was a real joy, indeed a privilege, to return to my old home of Albert Square,’ said Lord Cashman of the opportunity to return. "To be amongst so many friends again, and to be back in the place where 30 years ago I started an amazing journey. An amazing journey which incredibly helped to change the country, and certainly its attitude to lesbian gay and bisexual people. He added: "Arguably without EastEnders I would never have gone into politics; I would not have been one of the founders of Stonewall and its founding chair, and I would never have ended up where I am now. "As Shakespeare would have said by returning to where it all started “the wheel has turned full circle”. And the exquisite joy of having my scenes with the incredible “Dame” June Brown was a bonus beyond anything else." Eastenders continues tonight at 7.30pm on BBC One. More stories: Tom Daley reveals what he wants to do for his stag do Apple's new iPhone 7 advert features an adorable same-sex couple - WATCH