Chantelle Atkins’ death is getting closer on EastEnders, and things got worse for the hairdresser when she was caught on the phone telling Kheerat Panesar she had changed her mind – she wanted to be with him. Abusive husband Gray was standing behind her when she made the call.
EastEnders announced recently that Chantelle (Jessica Plummer) would die at the hands of her husband after his controlling, violent behaviour made her life intolerable during lockdown.
On Monday she tried to make her escape with her children Mia and Mackenzie, ostensibly on a family holiday to Southend, but she had no intention of returning to her solicitor husband. Gray (Toby-Alexander Smith) suspected her plans and manipulated the situation to keep them at home, meaning she had to leave Albert Square alone.
On Tuesday, Chantelle came close to telling her father, Mitch, about her abusive marriage and why she had arrived in Southend in such a state of anxiety without her children. She didn’t, but he told her he was going to fetch them: clearly she was unhappy without them.
Later in Tuesday’s episode, her mother Karen told her Mitch was on the way back to Southend with the children – she was perplexed but delighted that Gray had let them come. Trouble is, she had no idea that he was coming too.
The rest of the family were happy to see Gray when he walked in, announcing: “I didn’t want to miss out on the family fun.”
Chantelle, meanwhile, was in a café nearby, dialling Kheerat (Jaz Deol), to tell him she had changed her mind – she wanted to symbolically cash in the casino chip that he’d told her to keep until she was ready to spend it.
“Listen, Kheerat,” she said. “I’ve changed my mind. I’m ready. I want to cash in.”
The camera shot then widened to reveal Gray standing behind her. He’d heard every word she had said and the end was one step closer.
EastEnders has worked closely on the storylines with Women’s Aid and Refuge and the BBC One soap has been praised for the way it has highlighted the rise in domestic abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Refuge reacted to the latest storyline development on Tuesday.
EastEnders returns to BBC One on Thursday night at 7.35pm. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.