EastEnders: how will Steven Beale leave? Five theories on his big exit

Dead? On the run? Behind bars? We have some thoughts...

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EastEnders have announced Steven Beale is leaving the soap later this summer, with Aaron Sidwell departing after a year back in the role he left in 2008 – and frankly we’re not surprised. With so many deceitful schemes on the go, the man must need a lie down so getting away from Walford is a very good idea. 

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Steven has been a troubled character right from his conception, when he was at the centre of a ‘who’s the daddy?’ plot when mum Cindy fell pregnant by lover Simon Wicks after cheating on hubby Ian.

Understanding Ian eventually took Cindy back and raised toddler Steven as his own, but by the time he hit his teens Steven had serious abandonment issues over the death of his mum, erratic relationships with stepdad Ian and real dad Simon, and a fractured place among the Beale clan.

Then there was that time he stalked Ian pretending to be Cindy’s ghost and shot Jane in the stomach… 

Returning last year with little brother Peter’s girlfriend Lauren Branning on his arm, recent months have seen Steven seriously lose the plot. Learning Lauren had secretly aborted his baby and fallen for another man, Steven is lying about having a brain tumour to stop her leaving him, is sleeping with Lauren’s sister Abi, is embroiled in Max’s mysterious plot to destroy Albert Square, and has taken to talking to himself quite a lot.

A juicy exit is in the offing, but how could Steven leave?   

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Death?

‘Who Killed Steven Beale?’ would work brilliantly as he’s got so many enemies (Jane could finally get her own back!), but the family has already endured the iconic Lucy whodunit, would ‘Enders go there again? It wouldn’t have to be murder, stressed Steven could take his own life or end up dying in a tragic twist of fate. Perhaps he chokes on one of Beales’ burgers at his wedding reception? Or bangs his head against the wall again so hard he does himself fatal damage? It would be a really dark twist if it turned out he did have a brain tumour after all…

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Prison?

Max and Abi know Steven’s making up the whole tumour thing, and they’re both pretty sneaky. If they both got frustrated with Steven’s schemes – particularly Abi, who’s living on another planet if she really believes she’s going to get a happily-ever-after with her future brother-in-law – they could team up to frame him and leave the lad to rot to teach him a lesson. Max knows a thing or two about putting people behind bars for something they didn’t do. 

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Blackmail?

It’s hard to keep track of who knows what about who in Steven’s murky megaplot of lies, but Abi is probably the one holding the most cards. Seeing as she’s turning into the next Janine Butcher, she could turn the screws on Steven and threaten to expose his sick deceit, forcing him to leave town with no explanation while she does that minxy smile and revels in Lauren’s heartbreak. Though Lauren would probably be quite relieved as she’d finally be free to get off with hot Josh Hemmings.

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Escape?

What if it all just got too much for sly Steven and he couldn’t keep his numerous  plates spinning for one second longer? Frank Butcher got himself into a spot of bother back in the 90s and walked out of Bridge Street and didn’t come back for nearly two years. What if Steven snatched Lauren’s son Louie, who he’s desperate to adopt just to get one over on his real dad and rival sibling Peter, and fled to play happy families with his pretend child? 

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Disappearance? 

It would be an intriguing twist if Steven literally vanished one day with no trace or explanation, sparking a long-running guessing game… Has he been murdered and the body buried among all those dug up roads in the Square? Has he done a runner to avoid recriminations for his web of lies? Is the ‘Aaron Sidwell is leaving we wish him all the best’ line actually a bluff from the BBC and Steven will lay low for a while before making a shock return to exact his real master plan? 

Watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.

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