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Who dies in EastEnders' 35th anniversary boat disaster?

EastEnders are gearing up for a big birthday indeed

eastenders mick carter linda carter
Published: Wednesday, 15th January 2020 at 11:17 am

EastEnders marks its 35th anniversary in February with the death of a major character as a river boat party descends into disaster. Several big storylines will clash in a special week of episodes all set on the same day, but told from different perspectives - a trick Emmerdale is pulling next week as part of their 'who kills Graham Foster' murder mystery.


As many of the locals embark on a cruise along London's iconic Thames river, celebrating the Queen Victoria winning a 'best pub' competition, an incident occurs onboard turning the event into a nightmare that has tragic consequences…

Executive producer for EastEnders Jon Sen confirmed: "For our anniversary we wanted to entertain our audience on the iconic river which has heralded the start of the show for 35 years. This unmissable week is destined to be exciting, gripping and heartbreaking - and will go down in EastEnders history."

There's more drama away from the boat back on Albert Square itself, and understands several characters will face danger without getting wet. With the promise of secrets being exposed, feuds being ignited and families at war, and more than one person with blood on their hands, here's a look at who's at risk of possibly meeting a watery grave in the coming weeks…

Phil Mitchell

eastenders phil mitchell

The patriarch's clan are in crisis following the explosive events over Christmas, and as the boat sets sail the past returns to haunt them all. An insider teases "deadly ripples are sent through the family and those they are close to," could the hard man be going overboard? Remember - it won't be the first time he's had a brush with death either, but how many lives does this cat have left?

Sharon Mitchell

eastenders sharon mitchell

Walford's princess is due to give birth to Keanu Taylor's baby around the anniversary, but would a heavily pregnant woman really go on a boat party in the middle of winter? Drama-magnet Sharon probably would. She's been at the centre of the show since day one, albeit with a few gaps, and killing her off would be a sensational shock, and would certainly make a big statement about the next 35 years of EastEnders.

Ian Beale

eastenders ian beale

An outside bet, but if EastEnders wanted to surprise the audience there'd be no bigger bombshell then bumping off Beale, the soap's longest-serving character. Sharon and Kathy have been there since day one, but only Ian has never left. He's confirmed as definitely on the boat, but Bobby's actions have caused upset again, and eldest son Peter returns that week (played by newcomer Dayle Hudson). Could it be for his dad's demise? Again, Ian is another soap favourite who is almost Mr. EastEnders himself - will this save him from an icy bath though?

Keanu Taylor

eastenders keanu taylor

Most people think he's already dead, but we (and a handful of characters) know the hunky mechanic is alive and well and on the run, having been let go by Martin Fowler who didn't have the bottle to kill him on Christmas Day having been hired as the Mitchells' hitman. Knowing his and Sharon's baby is imminent, will the fit fugitive sneak home to witness the birth, only to end up brown bread for real when Phil and Ben realise he's still breathing? With actor Danny not revealing any immediate plans to return to the soap, a shock - and quick - return before his death could be a good way to write out the two-timing character.

Mick & Linda Carter

eastenders mick carter linda carter

The publicans winning this prestigious contest for the legendary boozer is the only bit of good news they've had in months - Linda's drinking and Mick's mental health have put a strain on one of the soap's strongest marriages. L is also in the know about Keanu's true fate, and as the couple lead the celebrations we are told they face what's described as "the toughest decision they've ever had to make." Will one of them have to give their life to save the other in the ultimate Shakespearean twist?

Whitney Dean

eastenders whitney dean

Currently stalked by weirdo ex Leo King, the son of childhood abuser Tony, Whit's fate is looking uncertain. Could the creepy stallholder's obsession turn to murder? Whitney's death would certainly be a heartbreaking one considering she's been a victim of creepy Leo for months. Surely she's due some light?

Louise Mitchell


Tilly Keeper's exit was confirmed just before Christmas, so don't expect Lou to be around much longer. She's a mess in the aftermath of ordering cheating baby daddy Keanu's death - she's one of our most likely to kick the bucket, but if she is the big anniversary death will she discover Keanu is alive before tragically passing?

Ben and Callum - AKA "Ballum"

eastenders ben mitchell callum highway

With all the Mitchells in danger, cocky Ben's luck may be running out. It would be a real game-changer for the family, and if the show wanted to go for maximum viewer heartbreak then stick his on/off boyfriend Callum Highway in there too - #Ballum could be torn apart if one of them perished. But could Ben survive another lover meeting their maker following the murder of Paul Coker a few years back?

Martin Fowler

eastenders martin fowler

Sliding ever-more into self-loathing at becoming a violent criminal, Martin might commit one last act of redemptive heroism if he tries to save someone from drowning on the boat (for instance), only to end up sacrificing himself. Killing him off on the 35th anniversary would bring him full circle, as the first ever episode of EastEnders saw mum Pauline Fowler announce she was pregnant with her youngest son.

Gray & Chantelle Atkins

eastenders gray atkins chantelle atkins

The couples' compelling domestic violence storyline is heading for a big peak, and viewers are desperate for controlling lawyer Gray to get his comeuppance. It would be ultra-tragic if Chan dies, leaving two little kids without a mum, but would certainly be a way of punishing her horrid husband…

Dot Branning

eastenders dot branning

Now we're not suggesting for one second we want this to happen, but soap royalty doesn't come any more beloved than Mrs B. The entire community - and the nation - would be rocked if dear old Dorothy was to die during such a big milestone. We don't even want to think about it…


Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.


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