The whereabouts of Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) since EastEnders‘ epic 35th anniversary week has been the topic of much discussion on and off screen, but now the soap has confirmed the hard man will be back next week for the funeral of adopted son Dennis Rickman.
Phil was at the centre of the epic episodes last month, that saw him and son Ben Mitchell embroiled a final showdown with Keanu Taylor aboard the doomed Queen Vic party boat on the Thames.
The celebrations sailed into chaos when a fight between the threesome caused the boat to crash and start sinking, giving Ben a head injury that may mean he loses his hearing permanently, and killing young Denny.
Grieving mum Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean), who gave birth to her and Keanu’s son Kayden just as she was told her eldest offspring had drowned, blames her estranged hubby for the tragedy. Echoing the sentiment of many fans, she even addressed Phil’s mysterious absence since the incident in scenes last week, accusing him of doing a runner after causing such a huge mess.
Phil returns to Walford the beginning Monday 23rd March, and first-look images show his reunion with Sharon is set to be unsurprisingly fraught.
On the day of Denny’s funeral, Shaz is struggling to keep it together and properly loses it when Phil shows up unexpectedly. Tensions boil over between the pair and as Phil asks to speak to his cheating missus an almighty showdown ensues. Will he admit his part in Dennis’s death? Is there any way back for him and Sharon after this?
And what about Ben, who will have been arrested for getting involved with dodgy Danny Hardcastle by the time Phil gets home – will the patriarch berate his boy for misbehaving in his absence? And how will he react to news of Ben’s life-changing injuries?
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