EastEnders 2023 preview: 6 spoilers for the year ahead
It could only be Walford!
It's going to be a dramatic 2023 in Walford, according to EastEnders' New Year preview, and according to the BBC, it will have "explosive secrets, heart-stopping drama and devastating heartbreak".
Following the disappearance of Mick Carter (Danny Dyer), Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) must learn to live without the love of her life - but can she cope?
There's a bombshell on the way for Zack Hudson (James Farrar) and Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) - and that's not just the unexpected pregnancy.
Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) and Denise Fox (Diane Parish) struggle in their marriage, and as time runs out for Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) and Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold), can they get their happily ever after?
Read on for your spoilers for New Year on EastEnders with some added insight from executive producer Chris Clenshaw and actress Kellie Bright.
EastEnders 2023 preview: 6 spoilers for the year ahead
1. Whitney Dean and Zack Hudson's relationship is tested
Following the unexpected news that Whitney is pregnant following a short fling with Zack, the pair's relationship has certainly had its ups and downs. But now their bond will be tested to breaking point - and they might not pull through it.
While Whitney is focused on her baby, Zack gets a bombshell from his troubled past which could have consequences on his future and the life of his unborn child.
While he's desperate to put the wrongs of his dysfunctional father right, Zack gets news that could send his plans into a tailspin.
Could this have anything to do with newcomer Brett (Fabrizio Santino) by any chance?
2. Linda Carter battles demons from her past
After Mick Carter went missing on Christmas Day, broken Linda - who was already struggling with losing him to Janine (Charlie Brooks) - is left devastated. For the first time in a while, Linda is alone, without any support from the love of her life. Unsure how to carry on, Linda must try to find a way to rebuild her life, this time without Mick.
With Ollie and Annie in need of their mother, can Linda battle the ghosts of her past and be there for her children?
Speaking about Linda's life after Mick, Bright revealed: “Well, let's just say Linda doesn't get over this anytime soon. You know, she's not gonna - Mick is the love of her life.”
The actress teased: "I’m only up to Feb but we've just filmed some Valentine's Day stuff and... there’s a little picture of Mick up behind the bar and I'm wishing [him] happy Valentine's Day. It's still very... he's still very present for her in that way.
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"I do know a little bit about what's in store for Linda, but I can't tell anyone. I've only just found out myself, which I'm excited about. [It's] really good because there was definitely a moment after Danny [Dyer] went where I just thought, ‘Oh, God, it's so weird here now.' It's so weird being one half of something almost, you know what I mean? It's that feeling."
Meanwhile, executive producer Chris Clenshaw said Linda will remain "at the heart" of Albert Square.
Clenshaw noted: "It's so great to have Kellie, what can I tease? I mean, as she says, she's not going to let go of Mick very quickly. She was just reunited with him and then, obviously, he was snatched away from her. So it won't be all smiles straight away, but there are big plans for Linda.”
He teased that Bright would "shoot something in January" as there is the "kind of anniversary in February and it's something that we as a show have not done before and Linda is at the centre".
3. Jack Branning and Denise Fox split?
Jack Branning and Denise Fox are at breaking point as they struggle to cope with how to support their daughter Amy Mitchell and her mental health struggles. While they both love Amy, their methods to help her cope are causing divisions which could break their marriage beyond repair. And what's more, there are plenty willing to offer them a shoulder to cry on, should they think of straying...
"Jack and Denise, their relationship is going to be tested," noted Chris Clenshaw. "Someone else is kind of going... weak at Denise (laughs). The question is whether she will resist or will she be tempted?"
Well, it seems Denise will be getting very close to bad boy Ravi Gulati...
4. Lola Pearce and Jay Brown's happy ending?
Time is running out for Lola on account of her terminal cancer, and she's determined to live life to the full with Jay before it's too late. However, the tragic reality of Lola's deteriorating health means every second together is precious.
When a photo from the past pops into her life, it sets her on one final quest - will she find what she's searching for before it's too late?
Could this perhaps link to the arrival of Patsy Kensit as Lola's long-lost mother Emma Harding?
Clenshaw noted: "Patsy Kensit is joining us - she plays Lola's mum - so she'll kind of add a new element to the story."
5. What does the future hold for Keanu Taylor and Sharon Watts?
When Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) sensationally returned to EastEnders in December 2022, actor Walters confirmed the Taylor lad wants his son Albie back, but also still has eyes for Sharon (Letitia Dean).
What will the future hold for the steamy pair? And what will Phil Mitchell have to say about their relationship?
We think it's safe to predict a complicated crossover of two love triangles, Keanu/Sharon/Phil/Kat/Alfie - you work out the realistic combinations!
Teasing the storyline Chris Clenshaw said: "Phil's back... So Phil and Keanu are kind of going head to head and Kat finds herself in a terrible, terrible situation."
Will Kat Slater live to regret choosing a life with Phil Mitchell?
6. Big story for Martin Fowler and Stacey Slater as Lily Slater pregnant
At New Year a massive storyline kicks off for Martin Fowler and Stacey Slater and while a lot of it is under wraps, it will really show off the talents of actors James Bye and Lacey Turner.
We think we can now assume that this is related to the shocking pregnancy of their 12-year-old daughter Lily Slater (Lillia Turner).
Actress Lacey Turner has already opened up about the hard-hitting plot and Stacey's difficult situation.
Executive producer Chris Clenshaw commented: "So, we've got a big story for Stacey and Martin that kicks off at New Year. Again, that's something I don't really want to say too much about but, you know, Lacey and James Bye are kind of at the centre of that and they obviously shine over Christmas and New Year."
Could this all lead to a reconciliation for the couple?
- EastEnders cast: Who is joining, leaving and returning to the soap?
- EastEnders' Kellie Bright teases Linda Carter’s future after Mick exit
- Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright react to Mick's tragic EastEnders exit
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide, or visit our Soaps hub.
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