Joe McFadden is returning to ‘Holby City’ as Raf di Lucca’s ghost.
The 44-year-old actor played the surgeon for four years on the hospital series before he was killed off in 2017.
But Raf is set to make an emotional comeback this month as he appears as a spirit to help his wife Essie (Kaye Wragg) deal with her cancer diagnosis.
Joe told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "I’ll always look back on my four years on ‘Holby’ with such fondness as it was one of the happiest jobs I’ve done and it was a real pleasure to get to wear Raf’s scrubs one last time in order to offer his wife Essie some guidance in such a touching episode."
The star’s alter ego was killed off three years ago when Raf was shot by Fredrik Johanssen (Billy Postlethwaite) – the son of Holby CEO Henrik Hanssen (Guy Henry) – during a rampage through the hospital.
Now, the character will return as Essie has to decide whether to continue her palliative care treatment after being told her cancer is terminal.
A source added: "It’s incredibly moving to see Essie speaking to the beloved Raf again, just as she needs him the most.
"It’s going to be emotional."
Before his departure, Joe wanted to be killed off in an "explosive storyline".
He explained at the time: "If and when it does happen it would be nice to have the big exit, as an actor no-one wants to leave in the back of a taxi even if it means being killed off. And obviously a big stunt would be brilliant!"
And the soap star – who appeared on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ the same year he quit the show – admitted it was difficult keeping his on-screen death a secret.
He said: "It has been hard to keep a secret because I’ve been doing lots of interviews for ‘Strictly’ and people have been asking me about ‘Holby’.
"I always dreaded the day when I would leave. It has been four years since I’ve done a play or been on stage."