EastEnders always pulls out the stops at Halloween, be it Abi stalking Lauren in a Weeping Angel mask, the macabre murder of Michael Moon or the spooky resurrection of Nick Cotton.
And 2015 will prove to be no exception when Kathy and the Mitchells find themselves trapped in a terrifying situation from which there is no escape. Be prepared for gasps, shocks and the occasional nod to Wes Craven’s Scream films.
“I love horror movies,” says EastEnders writer Leo Richardson, who has penned this years’s scare fest. “My first draft was probably way over the top and I was told to pull it back a little bit. But most of the references to Scream, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street are all still in there somewhere. Kathy is basically the Scream Queen in her own horror movie.”
For director Toby Frow, the chance to helm a Halloween episode also offers the opportunity to up the ante in ways EastEnders fans might not expect. “Halloween visits to Walford have become slightly larger than life. Which is amazing on this show because it’s usually so naturalistic. But it does give you licence to do something a bit more visually arresting. They don’t give you any more time or money, but you do get to push yourself!” he says.
As for what fans will get to see this Friday, executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins explains: “Our Halloween episode kicks off a lot of big things. There’s lots of stuff for Sharon, for Phil, for Stacey and Martin. A lot of things are kickstarted in this episode.
“What you’ll see is that Kathy and Phil have both been given panic buttons and everyone thinks that Gavin has gone. But of course not!”
And don’t expect the shocks to end with the Halloween cliffhanger. Richardson – who has now been writing for the BBC1 soap for two years – reveals that his next big episode will hit the screens at the very beginning of January. And it seems that it’s one the fans also won’t want to miss.
“I’ve got something at the start of 2016. It’s a big start to a massive story.
“I won’t ruin it, obviously. But it can be terrible being the keeper of all these secrets! My mum always rings and asks me about the cliffhangers. She loves EastEnders, but I can’t tell her whats going to happen because it would spoil it.
“It’s a great privilege though – I’ve grown up watching this show, so it’s nice to be involved and to know what’s going to happen next.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.