Soaps love to seek inspiration from zeitgeist TV dramas and movies: think Who Killed Lucy Beale on EastEnders (Broadchurch), Ross and Finn’s drug dealing on Emmerdale (Breaking Bad) or the Jade and Alfie cancer plot on Hollyoaks (The Fault in Our Stars). With EastEnders in need of a big storyline to grab the interest of fans, we came up with 10 options from the small screen that could be refashioned for life in Walford:
1. Line of Duty Max Branning is exposed as Walford’s ‘Caddy’, the supposedly upstanding member of the community who’s revealed to be a traitor. Expect a 30-minute interrogation scene with Cora Cross in the Ted Hastings role.
2. Westworld Steely Fi Browning never takes her coat off and always has a laptop with her – is she actually a wi-fi-operated android secretly controlled by a shady corporation planning to turn the Queen Vic into an East End-themed immersive theme park? It would also explain why Kush and Denise are stuck in a constant loop – their storyline chip has malfunctioned.
3. Big Little Lies Tensions between the Walford High mums explode at a school function when Sharon tips Karen out of an upper-storey window, all of which leads to a conspiracy of silence between Shazza, Stacey and Sonia as they try to keep a lid on their guilt.
4. 13 Reasons Why Jane Beale takes her own life after Ian continually fails to listen to her dietary advice. He and Kathy then spend the ensuing months in a state of recrimination after finding some cassette tapes in which Jane details her 13 reasons why Ian is a feckless idiot.
5. The Americans Ted and Joyce Murray turn out to be KGB spies who went deep undercover in the ’70s (after Ted’s previous cover as a chirpy Yorkshire vet was blown) posing as a happily married cockney couple – only it’s 2017 and no one told them the Cold War is actually over. It would explain why they’ve got that gun.
6. Stranger Things Bex suddenly develops psychokinetic powers when she realises she can play her guitar mournfully without touching the strings. She is taken away for government testing, only for Keegan, Louise, Madison and Alexandra to team up and free her while riding BMX bikes.
7. The Fall Michelle Fowler’s seemingly charming Tube boyfriend Tom becomes obsessed and starts stalking his prey, taking sneaky pictures of her at work in that clothes shop and making creepy phone calls in an Irish accent. It becomes a tense game of cat and mouse as she develops a penchant for light blue silk blouses.
8. Mr Robot Sinister Steven Beale develops extraordinary cyber skills thanks to his creepy yet resourceful surveillance methods employed to track secretive girlfriend Lauren’s movements. He’s recruited by a group of vigilante hackers to help them take down mysterious corporations – like the Weyland company for instance…
9. Orange is the New Black Shirley and Linda both get banged up after getting busted for forging Mick’s signature on the Queen Vic freehold. OK, so this is more of a Bad Girls reboot what with Linda Henry and Kellie Bright both being involved, but cut us some slack, eh?
10. The Missing Dot’s beloved cat Dave disappears and against her family’s advice the plucky pensioner recklessly gets back behind the wheel and drives to France (all on green screen) following a tip-off of a sighting of the missing moggy. Begging local police to help her, Dot is driven slowly insane by her quest.
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