EastEnders are reportedly lining up a surprise affair between two characters that will shock viewers, despite the restrictions of social distancing scuppering any intimate interaction between actors once the soap starts filming again in June.
The sensational storyline is said to have been planned for a while and will still go ahead according to The Sun, so while the show works out how to convincingly portray passion from two metres apart, RadioTimes.com invites you to join us in speculating about six potential twosomes that could become Walford's next big fling.
1. Ruby Allen and Martin Fowler
The heat between the cute club owner and her hunky new head of security has soared more than the sky-high temperatures during our recent spell of sunny weather, and we'd put money on them giving into passion again any day now. Rubes has clearly had it with old man Max Branning, who didn't take that whole threesome-with-another-guy gag very well, and he needs to bore off so she can play with someone her own age. She's already slept with Martin, and her BFF/his wife Stacey Fowler is safely out of the way for a while so what's the problem? Technically it's still a massive betrayal to Stace, so it sets up some nice drama for when she eventually returns.
2. Gray Atkins and Whitney Dean
Another obvious one that we've already called - posh lawyer Gray was Whit's knight in shining armour after she killed stalker Leo King and was kidnapped by his vengeful mum Michaela, and she's started to look at him in a way not wholly appropriate for a client and her brief. What she doesn't know, of course, is that Gray is a deeply troubled individual who secretly beats wife Chantelle and controls her every move, paranoid she'll leave him for another man. He might have a point…
3. Chantelle Atkins and Kheerat Panesar
This has also been somewhat signposted during the slow burn of the Atkins' disintegrating marriage, and one recent episode in which Chan was locked in an office with her childhood pal gave us serious affair vibes. The harassed hairdresser continues to suffer in silence and endure her husband's physical and emotional abuse, but surely she'll confide in someone soon - that someone looks like it could be caring Kheerat after she almost opened up to him. He clearly fancies her something rotten, too.
4. Lola Pearce and Peter Beale
We were all thrilled when Lo finally settled down with Jay Brown after she returned to Walford in 2019, then old flame Peter reappeared, recast and with a reinvigorated attraction to his ex the minute he clapped eyes on her. The pair have already had a one-night stand and even though Lola insisted it was just a bit of fun for old times' sake, persistent Peter can't let it go and takes every opportunity to flirt with the young mum. She doesn't seem to mind either. Now he's working alongside Jay at the funeral parlour surely this is a juicy love triangle in the making, linking the next generation of Mitchells and Beales?
5. Sharon Watts and Ian Beale
As unlikely and icky as it sounds, Ian suddenly seems to think Sharon is the one that got away (they dated for five minutes when they were 15) and he's hoping their lifelong friendship can blossom into something more after her bumpy start to 2020. We've already had our say on this, and while we don't necessarily want to see two people we think of as brother and sister swapping spit, it's an interesting development for Ian's emotions to be confused as he tries to bury the guilt over his part in Denny's death by convincing himself he can protect Shaz from any more heartache. Strangely, it's not the weirdest potential fling on our list…
6. Jean Slater and Phil Mitchell
Who wasn't watching through their fingertips earlier this week when misguided, manic Jean got dolled up in a sparkly dress and a full-face of make-up intent on seducing Phil so he'd allow Stacey Fowler to return without reprisals for attacking him? As she's off her meds and struggling with her mental health, Jean forgot Phil still thinks it was Kat who whacked him over the head so he was understandably mystified by the whole situation. But was this planting a seed for what could be the most unlikely romance EastEnders has ever seen? Or is our little guessing game getting a bit silly now…?