EastEnders pub landlord Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) has been left reeling after discovering that wife Linda (Kellie Bright) hid concerns that their son Ollie could be autistic.
The pair were seen in Tuesday’s episode attending a doctor’s appointment that Linda made after noticing various behavioural issues concerning Ollie, most notably a recent incident in the local park that saw the youngster lash out at Dennis Mitchell.
Mick was under the mistaken impression that the root cause of the behaviour lay in a fall Ollie took from his high chair back when he was a baby, an accident that resulted in the Carters being told that there could be problems later down the line where their son’s health was concerned.
What Mick didn’t know though, was that the prospect of autism had been raised during a visit to the doctors’ back in December, a consultation that Mick couldn’t attend thanks to him being in jail at the time.
Now, Mick has been left rocked by his wife’s betrayal after learning that Ollie is showing signs of autism – and that Linda has known since late 2018 that this was likely to happen.
EastEnders is working with the National Autistic Society on this storyline, with future episodes set to see Mick and Linda begin the autism assessment process with Ollie.
Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, said: “We were absolutely delighted when EastEnders contacted us about this storyline.
“We jumped at the chance to be involved because we recognised that it was a fantastic opportunity to help millions of viewers understand more about the autism assessment process and what families go through in order to get a diagnosis.”
“There are over 700,000 autistic people in the UK and most people know someone who is autistic, whether it’s a friend, classmate, colleague or family member.
“Yet only 16% of autistic people and their families feel the public understand autism and half of autistic people sometimes don’t leave the house because they’re afraid the public won’t understand them.
“So it’s hugely encouraging to see more TV dramas representing storylines about autism in their work.”
EastEnders’s executive producer Jon Sen added: “EastEnders has a history of doing groundbreaking stories that resonate with the nation. When Mick and Linda start to worry about Ollie’s behaviour, they face various challenges as they search for the answers necessary to help their son.
“EastEnders has been privileged to work closely with the National Autistic Society to accurately depict the pressure and struggles that can be felt by parents as they begin this journey.”
What happens in Thursday’s episode?
Still anguished about the doctor’s feedback about Ollie, Mick will be seen giving Linda a hard time, despite her offering up an explanation as to why she kept concerns about their son to herself.
Later on, as the Carters prepare to don fancy dress ahead of their trip to see the Spice Girls in concert, Mick refuses to join in. However, disaster strikes when, as they travel to the venue, they get a flat tyre.
With tensions between Mick and Linda running high, Linda storms off. As Shirley then tries to talk some sense into her, she is left surprised when Linda opens up about Ollie, unaware that Mick is eavesdropping on their conversation.
The situation then comes to a head as Shirley leaves Mick and Linda to talk, the result being the publican finally getting into the party spirit and dressing up as Posh Spice! With the tyre eventually getting fixed, the family heads off to the gig.
But fans can expect EastEnders to revisit the issue of Ollie’s future on Friday when the Carters try to come to terms with what’s going on in their little boy’s life. Do tough times lie ahead for Mick and Linda once they eventually receive the diagnosis?
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