EastEnders currently feels like it’s been given a new lease of life thanks to the #Ballum partnership, a tense siege at the Queen Vic and much-missed characters like Bianca and Lisa making a comeback. In fact, such is its current good form that we can’t help but feel that 2018 must have happened in some kind of alternative reality.
Are you with us in being thankful that the one-time plotlines below have all been mercifully given the heave-ho?
This time last year, Kat was always seen in the company of her A-Z as she agonised over the Knowledge. There was also that strange interlude where, in her efforts to become a taxi driver, she ended up questioning just how much her dad Charlie might have known about the abuse she endured as a teen. Now, of course, Kat is more interested in Kush than being a cabbie – and we also haven’t seen her unconvincingly trying to ride a moped lately either. Remember when she almost killed a pensioner for the sake of a swiftly forgotten cliffhanger? Thank goodness all that’s now in the past.
Everything’s about Hayley
For more evidence of 2018 taking place in an alt-universe, look no further than the now errant Hayley Slater. For a while, EastEnders was revolving completely around her, from her honey-trapping of Martin to those fights with monstrous mum Bev. Then she got admitted to a psychiatric hospital before fleeing, leaving an apologetic note to Kat. Now, it’s like she never existed. And we barely get to see her and Alfie’s daughter Cherry, who Kat is supposedly caring for.
Is Vincent still alive?
While we wouldn’t mind Richard Blackwood resurfacing as the missing Vincent at some point in the future, his departure brings unwelcome memories of all that tepid Aidan Maguire gangsterism back into focus. EastEnders is never at its strongest when its main storylines see supposedly alpha males all squaring up to each other and arguing over money. And has there been a more bizarre character than vampy Ciara Maguire in recent memory? And, while we’re at it, why didn’t she turn up when her brother Ray was shot dead?
Halfway the gangster
Seeing Mick celebrating on Callum’s stag night served as a reminder of how far we’ve come since Halfway was introduced. Back on New Year’s Day 2018, Callum was seen emerging from the back of a van and shooting Mick during a bungled heist. For a while, it seemed as though EastEnders didn’t exactly know who Halfway was supposed to be. Wannabe gangster? Dopey beanie-wearing army caterer? But as soon as that hat came off and Callum came out, he became one half of the soap’s most popular current pairing.
Where’s Mitch’s wife Marla?
What happened to Mitch Baker’s wife Marla, who scammed him by pretending that she was pregnant? Now, excuse us if we missed some vital explainer, but when Mitch was reintroduced to the show, he’d somehow lost his missus but gained a child in the form of Bailey. Mitch, being a serial cheat, might well have just dumped Marla at some point off screen. And seeing as though he’s now been repositioned as a caring family man, we doubt Marla will be back anytime soon.
Alfie on the run
It was one of the noisiest, most screechy Christmases for some time as the Slaters ganged up on a suddenly seedy Alfie and sent him tumbling down the stairs. First, we thought he was dead, then we found out he wasn’t, then he went on the run by faking his death to escape the debt he was in. The only reminder we now get that he ever came back at all is the stack of cash he left the Slaters. Since that sudden exit, Kat hasn’t exactly been trying very hard to track Alfie down – but then she has been a bit distracted by Kush. Maybe he went back to Redwater…
Is Stuart still a paedophile hunter?
Such is Ricky Champ’s charisma that you can understand EastEnders wanting to keep Stuart on screen. And while the character still retains that vital element of unpredictability, the show has dispensed with his main preoccupation: the entrapment and exposure of paedophiles. Is he still tracking them down? Who knows! We’ve also been asked to forgive him for once abducting and terrorising poor Tina Carter. And where is his daughter Zara, seen briefly in September 2018, but never referred to or glimpsed again?
Is Dylan Box dead?
And speaking of Stuart, we still don’t know whether he bumped off Dylan Box, the man he forced into aiding him in his twisted plan to frame Mick. The fate of Mr Box remains ambiguous, but it looked as though sinister Stuart was about to chuck him off a bridge. With Stuart currently in the process of being rehabilitated, we can’t help but wonder whether he’s actually guilty of murder….
Dot’s a millionaire!
A hefty inheritance from old friend Dr Legg in his will effectively made a dumbstruck Dot a millionaire. Since then, of course, the character has been largely absent from our screens. Let’s hope that when Dot returns with granddaughter Dotty, she’s blinged-up to the eyeballs and driving a Lambo.
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