Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) has confessed to murdering Archie Mitchell – in the very same venue where she originally committed the crime.
In scenes just aired during this evening’s EastEnders, Stacey was seen summoning the police to the Queen Vic where she made her surprise admission to both them and assembled drinkers including Ronnie (Samantha Womack) and Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons).
In the closing seconds, Stacey told officers in a tremulous voice, “I’m the one who called you. I did it. I killed Archie Mitchell” before the soap’s cliffhanger drumbeats kicked in.
Throughout the course of the episode, viewers saw Stacey battling with her emotions as she tried to readjust to life on the Square. But after a heart-to-heart with Dot, it became obvious that she was still haunted by the fact that husband Bradley had had to pay for her sins.
Before she handed herself in, Stacey told Kat (Jessie Wallace) that she was determined to salve her guilty conscience and that she intended for mum Jean to take care of her daughter Lily. “I’m not Janine. I can’t just walk off into the sunset and get my happy ending,” she said. “I thought I could live with it, Kat, but I can’t. I need to clear Bradley’s name. I don’t want my daughter growing up in a lie.”
The villainous Archie Mitchell was killed off over Christmas 2009 after he was hit over the head with the pub’s bust of Queen Victoria. The murder put several characters in the frame in the style of a whodunnit mystery, with the culprit finally revealed to viewers at the climax to the live 25th anniversary episode in February 2010. But in a cruel twist of fate, Stacey’s true love Bradley died following a fall from the Vic’s roof after taking the blame for her crime.
Following a couple of years away in Mexico, Stacey recently returned to Walford with tonight’s episode proving that her guilt was just too much to bear. EastEnders continues tomorrow at 7.30pm on BBC1.