**This article contains discussions of sexual assault which some readers may find upsetting.**


Frankie Lewis's (Rose Ayling-Ellis) terror turned to anger in tonight's EastEnders (9th September), after she was followed and assaulted by a stranger on her way home from a nightclub.

The latest episode of the BBC soap, which aired this evening, was postponed yesterday (Thursday 8th September) following a series of BBC One schedule changes in light of the death of Queen Elizabeth II aged 96.

It saw Frankie join pals including Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold), Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) and newcomers Finlay (Ashley Byam) and Felix Baker (Matthew Morrison) for a night out. But when a man who wouldn't leave her alone groped her on the dancefloor, Frankie made repeated attempts to get away from him.

Telling Lola she was heading home, her friend said she would come with her - but Frankie insisted that she would be fine on her own. But as she rode the tube back to Albert Square, she found the stranger from the club sitting opposite her.

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Frankie was followed and sexually harassed by a stranger. BBC

Scared for her safety as he put a hand on her leg, Frankie uttered the words "no thanks" and fled from the train, making her way through the Square as quickly as she could. She was anxious that she was being followed, and sadly, her suspicions were correct.

In a harrowing interaction, the man approached her once more and began speaking to her. Having already committed sexual assault, he invaded her personal space and refused to take no for an answer when she tried to break free from his grip. Thankfully, two nearby men heard her shouting and stepped in so that Frankie could escape, and she ran to her home at the Queen Vic pub.

Shaken, Frankie headed upstairs as she took in what had just happened to her. She looked at a text message on her phone from Lola who was checking she got home safely.

Later, grandmother Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) supported Frankie as her dad Mick (Danny Dyer) expressed his relief that Frankie had got away. Shirley backed Frankie up as she argued that this wasn't the point. She had done everything she could to stay safe, including holding her keys between her fingers as she walked.

Mick insisted that she should report this man, but Frankie's distress turned to fury as she asked, in powerful scenes, why she was the one who had to take action. This is happening to so many women, she pointed out, but how is it ever going to end?

Will Frankie go to the police over her ordeal? And what does the future hold for the character, who is due to depart the soap in the coming weeks?

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, visit the Victim Support website for support and more information.

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