Grief-stricken Pam Coker will put the trial of Paul’s killers at risk when she makes contact with Diane – the mother of gang leader Simon.
Next week’s episodes of EastEnders will see Pam go behind husband Les’s back when she and Kathy meet with Diane in a nearby cafe. But what does she hope to achieve by reaching out like this?
“Pam wants to see what sort of woman she must be to have brought up a son like that,” says actress Lin Blakley. “It’s a horrible thing to have such homophobia in this day and age. And Pam wants to be able to turn around and say to Kathy, ‘See? I told you she’d be a nasty woman.’ But Pam might just be in for a shock.”
And further drama is to come when Les finds out what his wife has done: “Les has told Pam that she mustn’t do this because she’d be jeopardising the whole case. But Pam goes ahead and does it anyway. And when Les and Ben discover what she’d done, it really does drive a wedge between them.”
However, it does look as though Les, Pam and Ben will be a united force once more when – at the end of the week – they head to court to hear how the killers will plea. Show bosses are remaining tight lipped as to what happens, but for Blakley, the filming of Paul’s death and its aftermath has proven to be an emotional experience:
“I’m very close to Jonny Labey [Paul]. He does now feel like my grandson. And I think the relationship between me, Roger Sloman and Johnny really worked on screen. We were thrown together – and we really did love and care about each other.
“Every family is touched by tragedy. I lost my own husband 20 years ago and it’s still a tragedy in my heart and there’s not a minute that goes by when I don’t think about him. So when I read the script in which Paul was killed in such a senseless manner, I really got myself psyched up for it.
“When I was playing those scenes, I felt every single word. And as I was preparing to go into that chapel of rest to see the body, I remember the feeling of doing that for real. You feel sick – like everything is dropping out of you. I felt it so much that my whole being was shaking. So I hope those emotions came through that lens and into people’s homes.”
The current drama marks the end of Blakley’s two-and-a-half-year stint on the BBC1 soap, with Les and Pam both set to exit Albert Square in the coming weeks. But despite the pair having faced no end of trauma during their time in Walford, fans will be heartened to know that it’s all smiles behind the scenes – and that Blakley is also still in regular contact with the very-much-alive Jonny Labey.
“Like any grandparent, I want to hear what’s happening to Jonny! I met up with him just this week, actually. Earlier this year, the three of us went to Greece together on holiday. And I met up with Roger in Richmond Park last week for coffee and a sandwich. You can’t have a bond like that and just say cheerio at the end of your last scene. We will definitely be together for the rest of our lives.”
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.