As anticipation builds for a dramatic week ahead, we take a look at the storyline spoilers for EastEnders's anniversary as Walford's finest take a disastrous trip down the river...
Boat trip to disaster
The undulating curves of the Thames have featured in the opening, aerial shot of every episode of EastEnders. And now, for the show's 35th anniversary, we're setting sail on the river itself for this much-talked-about boat party stunt.
As with the recent ‘Who Killed Graham?’ mystery on Emmerdale, each of the week’s episodes will take place on the same day, but from the perspective of different characters. The cliffhangers will be the same moment of disaster, but it’s only on Friday that we’ll witness its immediate aftermath. However you may feel about this trend for narrative trickery and the stress testing of the usually naturalistic soap format (part of me thinks, “stop messing about and just tell the story!”), there are bound to be moments of high excitement. And in a neat tribute of which I heartily approve, the vessel itself is called The Smith-Holland – a nod to EastEnders creators Julia Smith and Tony Holland.
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Bobby in danger
The bullying of Bobby Beale worsens as, following his harassment online, he's forced to defend himself after being confronted by a gang. As racial insults are hurled, Bobby tries to defend himself, Iqra and Habiba. But viewers can expect the situation to spiral out of control with Bobby left in need of emergency surgery after he gets beaten up. Ian's horror at what's happened will lead him to the party boat where he seeks out the person responsible for posting the internet insults. Later on, Denise spots a distraught Ian, who reveals what's happened to Bobby. But their conversation comes to an abrupt end when disaster strikes...
We're in danger of getting testosterone overload on Thursday as Ben goes to extreme lengths to get Callum back. Phil is also on the warpath because of what Keanu has done and takes matters into his own hands, threatening Karen in order to find her son. Will either of the Mitchells be able to stop Keanu before it's too late? And let's not forget Sharon in all of this - she ends up going into labour just as the boys are having their ultimate showdown...
Mick helps Whitney
We've already had one shock demise, what with Leo currently lying dead on Whitney's kitchen floor. Whit did, of course, kill her stalker in self-defence, but she's still terrified as to what the repercussions will be. In the end, she turns to Mick for help, but how will he react when learns what's happened? And how much will be prepared to risk in order to help her?
Let's not forget also that there are also massive cracks in the Carters' marriage and - after spying Mick and Whit together - an already paranoid Linda finds herself spiralling even further out of control.
Friday's big reveal
Well, this is it: the night when we learn who dies. EastEnders began back in February 1985 with a death (Reg Cox, revealed much later to have been done in by Nick Cotton), so it seems only fitting that the grim reaper now claims another victim.
But who will be the poor soul who doesn’t make it through to the weekend? We’ve recently learned that Jasmine Armfield is leaving, so surely Bex is the hot favourite to meet her maker? Mind you, the Carter family has been really prominent of late, so perhaps drunken Linda ends up inadvertently causing the demise of one of her own clan. Maybe Tina? Now, to a non-fan, I can see how this speculation may seem ghoulish. But it’s actually one of the main joys of soap: we get to experience a sneaky thrill witnessing the misfortune of others, while also being thankful that we haven’t chosen to spend our evening setting sail on an ill-fated party boat headed for catastrophe.
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