Actor Adam Woodyatt has revealed that the upcoming plotline featuring the death of his on-screen daughter Lucy was pitched to him as EastEnders’s answer to Broadchurch.
“I got a text saying to come and see Dominic [Treadwell-Collins], our executive producer, just as I was filming Christmas dinner. He actually sold it to me in one word and that was ‘Broadchurch’,” said Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale on the BBC1 soap.
Hit ITV drama Broadchurch made a big impact on viewers in 2013 thanks to the way it focused not only on a police investigation following the murder of an 11-year-old boy, but also on the grief felt by the victim's family members.
Now, in episodes of EastEnders that also mix police procedural with scenes of domestic heartache, viewers will see Ian break the horrifying news to the rest of the Beales that his daughter Lucy (Hetti Bywater) has been found dead on Walford common.
Speaking at the launch of the soap’s Easter episodes, Treadwell-Collins acknowledged that his storyline captures the spirit of not only of Broadchurch but also Scandinavian crime dramas:
“You have The Killing and all those big, broad murder mysteries that we do so well, but on a soap you hopefully get to do it better.”
“Because we’ve got a longer time to tell the story,” added Woodyatt.
Like Broadchurch – which kept fans guessing over the course of its eight episodes – EastEnders also intends to keep its viewers in the dark for as long as possible. For Woodyatt, this means that not even he is privy to the vital information. But at least it’s a tradition that he’s used to:
“In the past, I’ve had fake scripts and censored scenes. I’ve still got a fake script from the time that Phil was shot in which he confronted Ian and accused him of doing it. But we never filmed it. Funnily enough, we’re also getting some censored scripts at the moment…”
“it’s all about secrets and twists,” said Treadwell-Collins. “I want to surprise the audience.”
“Though I think I’d be having a very long chat with Dom if it turned out to be me,” laughed Woodyatt.