When it comes to two-hander episodes, EastEnders sure knows how to put on a show with numerous instalments of the BBC soap over the years being dedicated to just two characters.
Following the BBC’s decision to repeat a couple of the very best, we thought it was best you had your say on which is your favourite.
You can order the episodes in your order of preference below, and scroll past the poll for a helpful reminder of each gripping instalment.
Den and Angie – 16th October 1986
The two-hander between Den and Angie Watts (Leslie Grantham and Anita Dobson) was part of a long-running storyline that saw Angie feign a terminal illness to stop Den from leaving her. It was in this episode that she came up with the lie and it still holds up today as gripping television that led some truly memorable episodes in the weeks that followed.
Dot and Ethel – 2nd July 1987
In a change of pace from the drama of the last, this episode was a quieter one that allowed the spotlight to shine on two classic members of the older cast. Dot Cotton (June Brown) and Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin) spent time together babysitting and we stayed with them the whole time as they reflected on their lives and gave details on what it was like for them growing up during the war.
Michelle and Sharon – 4th April 1989
The father of Michelle Fowler’s (Susan Tully) baby, Den Watts, supposedly died with the secret of Vicki’s parentage staying under wraps. One evening as she and best friend, Sharon (Letitia Dean) spent time together with a bottle of wine, she decided to admit the truth and Sharon was left devastated by the betrayal – slapping Michelle before storming out.
Grant and Phil – 15th November 1994
Things were not exactly great between Phil and Grant Mitchell (Steve McFadden and Ross Kemp) at this point as the shock events of Sharongate caused Grant to beat his brother so badly that he ended up in the hospital. Their two-hander was a chance for the brothers, fan-favourites at this point, to discuss all that had happened while shedding some light on little known facts about their past.
Pat and Peggy – 27th October 1998
Pat Evans (Pam St Clement) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) had a very rocky friendship over the years, and this latest one left them stuck alone together while the men in their lives dealt with their own problems. After some wine, insults and home truths, the two women found themselves unable to control their anger and the episode ended with an amazing slap and a table being flipped by Peggy!
Roy and Frank – 29th October 1998
As for the men that Pat and Peggy were arguing about, they got an episode to themselves straight after that ran alongside the drama we saw previously. A depressed Roy Evans (Tony Caunter), who had sped off and nearly hit Pat with his car, was found by Frank Butcher (Mike Reid)- who had to talk him down from a suicide attempt. They both eventually found common ground and returned to Walford, just in time to walk in on the carnage between Pat and Peggy!
Matthew and Steve – 3rd February 2000
The first two-hander of the ’00s was certainly a dramatic one as Matthew Rose (Joe Absolom) finally took his long-awaited revenge on Steve Owen (Martin Kemp) after the villain set him up for murder and had him sent to prison. Viewers got to see a different side of Steve who became a scared mess; begging for his life as he had what he thought was petrol poured all over him. It turns out that Matthew just wanted to see Steve broken and desperate, and the petrol was revealed to be only water. But for a while, it looked like this was the end of the line for one of Walford’s most memorable villains.
Ricky and Phil – 20th April 2000
Phil got a second two-hander here alongside Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) who had just learned that Phil had him working on dodgy cars at The Arches and the car he had crashed after fleeing Walford turned out to be stolen. Phil caught up to him to try and convince him to stay but Ricky, already fragile after his wife and son left, eventually snuck away while Phil was not looking, despite Phil doing his best to talk him around.
Kat and Zoe – 21st October 2001
“You can’t tell me what to do, you ain’t my mother!”…”Yes, I am!”. These two lines of dialogue that concluded the previous episode will always go down as one of the classic Eastenders moments and the follow-up episode, that only featured the two Slater women, did not disappoint. As Zoe learned all about the deception and the reasons Kat stayed quiet, she still had to contend with another bombshell as Kat told her that her uncle Harry was, in fact, her father and she had been conceived while he had been sexually abusing Kat.
Sonya and Dot – 9th May 2002
Another one here for Dot and this time she was joined by Sonia Jackson (Natalie Cassidy) who had just kidnapped her daughter after previously making the difficult decision to give her up. The tense episode revolved around Dot doing her best to make Sonia hand the child back over with the adoptive parents giving her a strict time limit to do so before the police were called – which she thankfully eventually did.
Phil and Sharon – 5th September 2002
By this point, Phil and Sharon had more than their fair share of dramatic history together and this episode allowed the pair to take stock of all that had happened and begin to move on. Essentially a long heart-to-heart, this two-hander had them both look back on all their mistakes and look to the future after agreeing to put everything behind them. Given what is happening with them both now over the pub and baby Kayden, maybe they could do with another of these in 2020!
Little Mo and Trevor – 31st October 2002
Little Mo Slater (Kacey Ainsworth) had far more than ghosts stories to be scared of this Halloween when things came to a violent head with her abusive partner Trevor Morgan (Alex Ferns) who had been tormenting her and making her life hell. Trapped with him in the house and fearful that this may be the day he kills her, a scuffle over a lit match soon ended things and it was Trevor who would ultimately pay the price for his actions as he was killed in the flames, alongside Sharon’s then lover, in the following episode.
Lisa and Phil – 27th March 2003
Number four here for Phil who was paired with Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin) for this one which was a whole episode of flashbacks to the time Phil found Lisa in Portugal and took Louise away from her. Thinking that Lisa was not mentally fit to raise a child, Phil took great pleasure in telling her what he thought of her and had no qualms in leaving the distraught mother alone, wailing, on a clifftop as he walked off with their daughter.
Den and Sharon – 30th September 2003
The not actually dead Den left Sharon stunned when he reappeared 14 years after he was thought to have been killed next to a canal. Den’s return was huge for EastEnders and it was only fitting that we had a whole episode dedicated to the two as Sharon had a lot to process. It was not exactly a loving reunion as an angry Sharon tore into her father for leaving her and finally got the chance to call him out on his affair with Michelle. As for Den, this was the episode in which he learned he had a son he knew nothing about.
Den and Dennis – 1st April 2004
Speaking of that son, Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman) got his own episode alongside his dad, but this was certainly not an episode for the two to start bonding. Having discovered that Dennis and Sharon are in love, the two have a tense conversation in The Vic and Den does all he can to push his son away and to ensure the relationship goes no further. Sharon did make a brief appearance at the end when she was accidentally hit by Dennis, but this still counts as a two-hander for us as, for the most part, this is just the Den and Dennis show.
Kat and Alfie – 25th May 2004
Kat was not having a good 2004 after having been tricked into sleeping with the villainous Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs) who had, unbeknownst to Kat, recorded their night together and made sure Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) saw the tape. A devastated Alfie refused to listen to Kat’s excuses whilst she did all she could to plead her case and explain the events that led up to it. Despite seeming like all was lost for their marriage, the episode ended with a sign of hope as the two held hands and vowed to find a way through it.
Den and Dot – 26th August 2004
An unlikely pairing for a two-hander, this episode featured a much softer side of Den who discovered Dot had been diagnosed with cancer and had decided to not get treatment- nor had she told her friends and family. While she confided in him, he told her all his problems with his wife and son and the episode ended with both characters making the decision to set things right with the ones they love.
Sonia and Martin – 5th January 2007
Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richards) had recently died when this episode aired and her son Martin (then played by James Alexandrou) was shocked when he learned that Sonia could have been responsible. When he hears that she slapped Pauline just before she died, he believes her to be guilty of killing his mum and did not hesitate in calling the police and having her arrested.
Max and Stacey – 26th March 2010
Max Branning (Jake Wood) was stunned to find out that Stacey (Lacey Turner) was the one who killed Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb)- in fact so was Turner who had no idea until just before the live scene was filmed. As a result, this two-hander was filmed at the last minute after episodes in the future had already been completed and featured Max doing all he could to convince Stacey to hand herself in to the police – eventually relenting when he realised his late son would want her to be happy.
Phil and Jay – 21st August 2017
A long spell without a two-hander came to an end in 2017 as Phil got his fifth and was joined by Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick). In an episode the dived back t0 1994 when Phil accidentally burned a homeless man alive while setting fire to the car lot, Phil told Jay that the man was his real father and attempted to persuade him not to go to the police. The episode ended with Phil making a phone call to brag about the pack of lies he just told him while Jay was left to process all he had learned.
Linda and Stuart – 13th December 2018
The most recent two-hander was two years ago (so we must be due another) and put the focus on Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ). The episode saw Linda attempt to get Stuart to reveal Mick’s (Danny Dyer) innocence on a recording as the pub landlord was currently serving prison time for a crime he did not commit. When he learned she had lured him into a trap, he tried to rape Linda but received a bottle to the head as a result ad Linda did indeed get the confession she was seeking.