“The main thing that comes out of the death we see tonight is its consequences,” says Kate Oates, Head of BBC Continuing Drama, of the EastEnders 35th anniversary aftermath. “It’s where it goes. It’s the people who are left behind.”
As Albert Square mourns the loss of terrible tyke (and social media hate-crime troll) Dennis ‘Denny’ Rickman Jr (Bleu Landau) the Walford blame game begins and there are many whose lives are now in deep trouble. Radio Times.com presents our list of folk who may be suffering for many months to come.
Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt)
Angry dad Ian was well within his rights to storm onto the doomed party boat looking for vengeance after Denny trolled his son Bobby for his religious beliefs. That prompted a hate attack on Bobby, Iqra and Habib that left his son needing emergency surgery. Ian locked Denny in a cabin below decks which proved fatal when the Thames cruiser crashed. Ian did try to rescue Denny by bashing a hole in the door with a fire extinguisher and pulling Denny through it but it wasn’t enough to save him. So what will his closest pal Sharon think when she discovers Ian’s part in her sons death?
Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean)
Talking of Sharon, the grieving mother is currently heaping a great deal of the blame on herself. Firstly for falling for that oh so tempting six pack of Keanu Taylor’s and embarking on one of the most foolhardy and potentially lethal affairs that the Square has ever seen (as the wife of Phil Mitchell and step-mum of Keanu’s pregnant fiancé Louise). Secondly – and we do feel she’s being a little hard on herself here – for swearing on Denny’s life to Louise back in 2018 that she wasn’t sleeping with Keanu. She is of course also blaming Keanu. “If I hadn’t let you into my life I’d still have my son!” she shouted as she banished him forever.
Callum Highway (Tony Clay)
Someone who is almost completely blameless in all of this is poor Halfway. Minding his own business and preparing for his police exam Callum was taken hostage by Keanu. It was all Ben and Phil’s fault for hiring Martin Fowler to kill Keanu in revenge for cheating on Louise and getting Sharon pregnant. So whilst Ben failed to get together the necessary £100,000 to save his boyfriend poor Callum did his best to escape but instead fell from a great height in the deserted warehouse where Keanu was holding him hostage. A feeble twitch of a finger leaves his many loyal fans worried that there could still be another surprise death.
Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty)
Abused as a child by Tony King and then stalked by his twisted son Leo Whitney was well within her rights to defend herself with a kitchen knife when he came at her once again in her home. It was self-defence. It may be harder to prove that though since she phoned Mick Carter for help and he convinced her to leave Leo’s dead body on the kitchen floor and join him on the party boat to give her an alibi. Wracked with guilt Whit wouldn’t let go of that knife. She scared the hell out of Jack Branning before handing it and herself over to the police once back on dry land. With Whitney’s luck the future does not look good.
Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell)
Bobby’s conversion to Islam has been a force for good in the troubled teenager’s life (whatever Ian thinks). The Ahmed sisters Iqra and Habiba have given him the much-needed support that was missing at home which makes it all the more cruel that he should end up in hospital with potential brain injuries after defending them from a racist attack. With half-brother Peter back from New Zealand there’s a lot of making up to be done but how will this attack change him? And how will he feel about his tormentor’s death?
Bex Fowler (Jasmine Armfield)
Bex has been mentally fragile for some time but the lack of support at home from mum and dad Sonia and Martin and a 20 year-old’s desire to push boundaries and not be molly-coddled made Bex takes risks. Dotty Branning is a lousy choice of mate but it was Bex who badgered Dotty to give her the dealer’s number which resulted in her taking contaminated pills. After collapsing on the boat she’s now in hospital. Could this latest setback push her over the edge? And what physical damage has she done to her body?
Dotty Cotton (Milly Zero)
Kirsty Dorothy ‘Dotty’ Cotton has caused plenty of trouble since she showed up back in the Square but introducing Bex to drugs could well cost her dear. Sonia and Martin are sure to be on the warpath. When Bex was wavering on the coach whether to take the pills it was Dotty who encouraged her. The fact that she was the one who discovered Denny to be the internet troll might help her at some point but it’s likely there’s a lot more trouble ahead.
Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters)
Keanu was last seen saying an emotional goodbye to his mum at Walford East Station as he contemplated a new life without either of his children. To the Mitchells he could not be more persona non grata but will banning him from Walford ever be enough? Is there a little part of Phil and Ben that will always want to finish the job? And as he’s shown already will Keanu ever be smart enough to stay away when there’s the slightest chance of seeing his kids again? Also the police might like a word with him for his dodgy boat steering that caused the crash. Sleep with one eye open, lad.
Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden)
That said it takes two to tango – or in this case capsize a boat – and the police will be just as interested in Phil’s part in the wheelhouse brawl that caused untold damage and loss of life. Added to that, Phil also knocked the poor Captain Cox out sparko. Will Phil blame himself for Denny’s death and hit the bottle again? And how do him and Sharon continue to live on the same square? The rueful look on his face once he was back on dry land hinted at plenty of unfinished business.
Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick)
Another Mitchell that will most definitely be in Phil’s thoughts and probably off his Christmas card list is Billy. It was one of the high points of the 35th’s week when Billy laid Phil out cold as he defended new love Karen Taylor. The pair then shared a few idyllic moments on the sofa as Billy basked in his unexpected glory. The smile was wiped from his face again when they looked behind the sofa and Phil was gone again. Karen may need to return the favour and save Billy once Phil stops rubbing his sore head.
Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden)
Ben knew just how much trouble he’d caused as soon as his boyfriend was bundled into Keanu’s boot. Trying to make amends was all very well but it’s likely that Callum will blame Ben as much – if not more – than Keanu. That’s if Halfway’s even alive. So Ben could have blood on his hands both for that and his part in the boat fight with Keanu. His attempt to become a better man has massively come unstuck. And what will Sharon think of her step-son’s part in Denny’s death?
Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy)
Sonia’s most immediate concern is Bex’s recovery but putting that to one side how is she going to explain to the police about the dead body (Leo) that she failed to mention when they called round to warn her about the contaminated pills? Now that Whitney has told the police he’s lying on the kitchen floor there’s no way of covering this up? Is there jail time ahead for Sonia as well as Whitney?
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer)
And finally, it might not have been Mick’s cellar with a corpse in it but what was he thinking when she persuaded Whitney to scrap her self-defence plea and instead get her glad rags on and take his arm for a trip up the Thames on the boat of doom? His marriage may be looking healthier but another dose of prison life could finish that.
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