Walford villain Carl White is to show just how evil he can be next week when he causes a car crash that incapacitates Phil (Steve McFadden) as well as injuring himself. A crazy plan? Well, it seems that actor Daniel Coonan, who plays Carl, is in full agreement.
“It’s such an insane thing to do. You get to see how nuts Carl is. He doesn’t care if Phil dies yet he risks damaging himself as well,” he says. “But he sees Phil as top boy and he wants to take over his turf, so he realises he will have to get rid of him.”
But it’s soon revealed that there is further method behind Carl’s madness – by Thursday, Carl’s love rival Max (Jake Wood) has been arrested over the incident, the accusation being that he has been caused criminal damage with intent to endanger life. The shock development comes after the police receive an anonymous tip-off that Max tampered with the brakes of Carl’s car.
With Max and Carl having spent the past few weeks engaged in a bitter feud over the affections of Kirsty (Kierston Wareing), could it be that Max is being framed?
“In Carl’s head, he’s coming in on a white horse to save Kirsty from a bad marriage. But I wouldn’t mess with a man like Carl – I would stay indoors a lot more if I’d got on the wrong of someone like him. He’s someone who doesn’t care and who’ll go to any lengths to take people out.”
And what is it about Kirsty that has brought out such an obsessive streak in Carl? “They had a fiery relationship when they were both quite young and, in his crazy head, he thinks this is the only woman for him. He’s been inside for five-and-a-half years and he’s put her on a pedestal. She’s all he’s had to focus on and Kirsty has become an object of this freedom he was dreaming about in prison. Now he sees she’s poodling after Max and that he isn’t treating her right.”
So what was it like for Coonan to be involved in his first major stunt for EastEnders? On screen, it looks visceral and intense, but was it the same experience during filming?
“Yeah, it was exciting. I was inside the car when they detonated the glass, but I didn’t have time to be scared. Before I knew it they’d blown up the windscreen. It’s real glass and it’s designed to shatter into tiny particles. I had a cut on my leg and another on my hand. But hey, you’ve got to suffer for your art!”