EastEnders marks the milestone of 35 years on air with a special week of episodes celebrating the anniversary packed with shock twists, high drama – and at least one tragic death.
Beginning on Monday 17th February, and following the BBC One soap’s normal transmission pattern of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (although be aware Friday’s starts at 8:30pm instead of the usual 8pm), all four editions take place on the same day but told from different perspectives.
Locals board a boat party to celebrate the Queen Vic winning a ‘best pub’ award, and as several explosive storylines collide together the first three editions end at the same cliffhanger moment as a dramatic incident occurs on board. The final episode of the week explores the immediate aftermath.
While there are plenty of surprises planned and the identity of the deceased will not be revealed until the night, here is what we know so far about EastEnders‘ epic week, episode by episode…
Monday 17th February, 8pm: Carters crisis, Patrick’s confession and Sonia’s surprise
The first outing is largely from the Carters’ point of view. Maudlin Mick can’t believe his marriage is over having signed the divorce papers Linda cruelly served to him last week, while L acts as if she’s thrilled to be a free woman. As the punters prepare to board the boat, Shirley Carter tries to make her daughter-in-law see sense, but when drunk Linda sees Mick and Whitney Dean together paranoia takes over and she tells the coach to leave them behind.
With the boat party underway the Carters are hardly in a celebratory mood, and Mick eventually arrives to be publicly humiliated by his plastered wife, leaving him fearful for their future.
Sonia Fowler is at home on the Square and is shocked when the police knock on the door and drop a big bombshell that has massive repercussions for her family.
Elsewhere, we also follow the Truemans as Patrick insists he reveal the truth to Isaac Baptiste – he’s not just his stepdad, he is his biological father. Sheree pleads with her other half to keep quiet, but before Patrick can spill the beans the party spirals into a chaos with the first of three identical doof-doofs – and we wind back in time…
Tuesday 18th February 7.30pm: Beale beating, Branning bust-up and Ben’s secret
Walford’s first family, the Beales, are in focus on day two. Troubled patriarch Ian Beale is still at odds with son Bobby Beale, and is encouraged by mum Kathy Beale and oldest friend Sharon Mitchell to make amends. Bobby, who recently converted to Islam, then becomes the victim of a racially-motivated attack, being targeted along with pals Iqra and Habiba Ahmed.
Beaten Bobby ends up in hospital, and word reaches the family he needs life-saving surgery. The incident brings Peter Beale home after five years away (newcomer Dayle Hudson replaces Ben Hardy) and he keeps vigil by brother Bobby’s bedside as Ian receives shocking news from Ben Fowler as to who’s responsible for Bobby’s beating and storms out seeking revenge. But how is dodgy Dotty Cotton involved?
Kathy also has to abandon her youngest grandson when she gets a worrying phone call from son Ben Mitchell, leading to a horrifying discovery fully explored in the Mitchells’ episode later in the week.
Back on the boat, Denise Fox urges boyfriend Jack Branning to tell big brother Max he has been secretly in touch with niece Lauren Branning since she split from the aforementioned Peter. Accusing his sibling of meddling, Max and Jack come to blows and a fight breaks out. Ian then arrives on the scene in search of the person who’s been harassing Bobby. He confides in old flame Denise who is stunned at what she hears – just as the nightmare unfolds for a second time…
Thursday 20th February 7.30pm: Mitchell mayhem, Sharon in labour and disaster strikes
The mighty Mitchells occupy the third slot, beginning with Ben at breaking point and desperate to save kidnapped lover Callum Highway from Keanu Taylor’s murder threat. Phil Mitchell is in full protective thug mode and on the hunt for Keanu, the man who got both his wife and daughter pregnant and tore the clan apart.
A shouty showdown with Karen Taylor sees Phil get closer to tracking down Keanu, while Ben’s own rescue plan for Callum eventually leads to both Mitchell men finding the vengeful Mr Taylor. The gallons of bad blood between the trio leads to an epic confrontation on the boat.
Elsewhere, heavily pregnant Sharon and son Dennis Rickman are about to leave Walford forever, but when Shaz sees Kathy and reveals her plan she’s stopped in her tracks by an angry Ben – then the cheating blonde goes into labour…
Friday 21st February 8.30pm: Shock death revealed
This is the big one, the moment we’ve been building up to for weeks where fans finally discover the identity of the killed-off cast member. EastEnders are currently keeping all pre-transmission info on this episode completely under wraps, only confirming that multiple lives are left hanging in the balance as the partygoers struggle to comprehend what’s happened among the chaos and panic – and that one person meets a tragic end.
All bets are off when it comes to predicting who the unlucky local might be, but a big hint came from Danny Dyer who told RadioTimes.com at the National Television Awards 2020: “The death was a real shock to everyone. It’s really powerful stuff, and we’re trying to get a message across.
“Sometimes when you do that, you’ve really got to go full throttle with it.” Could that be a clue one of the Carters is set to meet their maker?
Whoever’s time is up, this week is undoubtedly set to go down in soap history. Don’t miss a minute…
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