In the words of Ian Beale: “Again?”
Yes, EastEnders stalwart Phil Mitchell has been shot in the chest by another spurned lover, this time an increasingly volatile Shirley Carter (Linda Henry). The new wound comes 13 years after Phil originally took a bullet which, on that occasion, was fired by ex-girlfriend Lisa Shaw.
In scenes just broadcast this evening on the BBC1 soap, Phil’s new wife Sharon (Letitia Dean) was seen reeling, first from the revelation that Phil had been sleeping with Shirley in the run-up to their wedding day, then by the sight of her husband being taken away to hospital by paramedics with blood seeping through dress shirt.
Shirley, for her part, was seen fleeing the scene in Aunt Babe’s Reliant Robin, abandoning distraught son Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) for the second time in his life.
Now the big questions to be answered are: will Sharon will tell the police about Shirley being responsible for the shooting? And will she stay silent about the fact that the firearm was owned by Phil’s cousin Ronnie (Samantha Womack)?
“Sharon is the key to what happens to Shirley and Ronnie,” a show insider told RadioTimes.com tonight. “Is Sharon really a Mitchell yet? Will she stick by the Mitchell code or end up breaking ranks?”
Phil’s son Ben, who has only recently returned to Walford following a spell in prison, also found himself embroiled in the drama after he and best friend Jay (Jamie Borthwick) attempted to get rid of the gun, just as a team of police officers was circling the Square.
Speaking about Ben’s state of mind and whether Phil will be pull through, actor Harry Reid said to us: “If Ben loses his dad, he’s lost everything. His dad is the source of Ben’s strength. He knows Phil has been shot before and survived, but everyone’s luck runs out eventually. Ben’s only just come back and now this has happened! It’s a very traumatic time and you’ll see a softer side to Ben as a result of it all.”
You can find out what happens in the wake of Phil’s shooting when EastEnders returns on Monday 6 October at 8pm on BBC1