EastEnders teased the imminent affair between Sharon Mitchell and Keanu Taylor when Phil’s missus copped an eyeful of the hunky mechanic as he whipped his top off after unblocking her kitchen sink.
Shazzer – and viewers – didn’t know where to look in tonight’s episode (Thursday 16 August) when cutie Keanu got soaked and was forced to go topless, with flustered Mrs Mitchell handing him a towel and trying to stop herself drooling over his pecs.
Their sizzling attraction signposts an upcoming fling sure to scandalise Albert Square, and we’re all for it. In fact we’ve got a whole list of reasons this is the best idea EastEnders has come up with for ages.
It’s Sharongate for 2018
Who could forget Sharongate? The iconic storyline saw Shaz’s then husband Grant find a tape recording of her confessing to a fling with his big brother Phil, which he then played to a packed Queen Vic and life – and the method of how to reveal secrets in soap for maximum impact – was never the same again. Now, 24 years later, Phil is Grant, the brutish cuckolded husband, Keanu is Phil, the sensitive mechanic providing an escape from a fractious marriage, and Sharon is still Sharon, except with bigger hair and more fake tan. Maybe a sex tape leaks onto the internet and Phil knocks seven bells out of Keanu in the Arches pit, just like Grant did to him back in 1994.
It gives Keanu a proper love interest
Other than boring Norwegian nanny Ingrid it’s been pretty non-existent on the romance front for Keanu, his lack of success with the ladies even had fans shipping him and Ben Mitchell as a couple, and we get the sense him and pregnant Hayley Slater will remain in the friend zone. The Taylor totty has the potential to be a real soap heart-throb and an explosive dalliance with a high-maintenance, glamorous cougar who’s terrifying husband is his boss would make for a juicy relationship.
It pits Sharon against Karen
Making strong women enemies rather than mates can be a tedious and borderline misogynist soap device, but we all like an alpha female rivalry if it’s handled right. Remember Karen smacking Shaz in the chops the minute she moved to the Square last year? Imagine the showdown if she found out her precious son had been seduced by the saucy blonde? Sharon’s no shrinking violet, though – Karen could end up with a face as broken as her bra strap.
It’s what Angie Watts would’ve done
It may be a subconscious on EastEnders’ part, but Sharon is morphing into her mother. The legendary original Queen Vic landlady left the show 30 years ago, but her legacy continues in her daughter. Sticking by a dodgy husband, turning a blind eye no matter what? Flirting with other fellas to stop herself feeling romantically neglected? Hitting the bottle with alarming regularity? Slapping on the warpaint to hide an inner vulnerability? We could be talking about either Watts woman. Remember Angie tried to seduce handsome neighbour Tony Carpenter? If this was her she’d have had Keanu out of his overalls by now.
It’s not about gangsters
It’s been a patchy year plot-wise for the show, with drawn-out storylines about gangsters, crime, heists and nasty violent thugs, with a distinct lack of focus on relationships and romances we can invest in. Sharon/Keanu/Phil feels refreshingly old-fashioned, involving three flawed but sympathetic players, and a pleasingly plausible love triangle. Or it could just turn out to be a bit of frothy fun, as Sharon noted with a saucy pout as she cosied up to half-naked Keanu after he’d sorted out her pipes: “This is like a 70s film – Confessions of a Housewife and a Handyman!”
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