Who dies in EastEnders at Christmas 2023? Flash-forward shows bloody death
So many questions...
We have so many questions for EastEnders right now, after the BBC soap delivered a Christmas twist which saw a number of characters standing over a dead body - and all we currently know is that the victim is a 'he'.
The show previously teased a storyline that had never been done before, ahead of a trailer which promised that everything can change "in a flash". And the story began with the Queen Vic landlady calling last orders as she prepared to close up for the night.
Linda was distressed when she spotted some photos of Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) spending time with her son - and Linda's rapist - Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo). Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) comforted her, understanding her torment completely due to her own ordeals.
Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) got steamy with on/off lover Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) in the toilets, before swiftly dumping him when a voice note revealed that Keanu had also had a fling with Sharon's former sister-in-law Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf).
Denise Fox (Diane Parish) was fed up when husband Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) ditched her for work, so she proceeded to get drunk and proposition Ravi Gulati (Aaron Thiara) who refused to take advantage of her.
Suki (Balvinder Sopal) and husband Nish Panesar (Navin Chowdhry) made Linda an offer for The Vic, with Nish hoping to oust Sharon as buyer as he went back on his offer to buy into her gym. As for Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner), she was still angry over Ryan Malloy's (Neil McDermott) treatment of her and daughter Lily (Lillia Turner). Stacey resolved to stay in the pub until Linda called time, as Eve Unwin (Heather Peace) rushed out to avoid the woman she loves, Suki.
As each of the six women chatted, Linda decided on a lock-in, which saw them all share heart-to-hearts over the men in their lives. Grieving her beloved Mick (Danny Dyer), Linda opened up over how the photo of Dean had shaken her, while Kathy pointed out just how life-changing one moment can be.
Stacey confided in Suki that she knew what it was like to love two people at the same time; and Suki explained how she had changed in the 20 years since Nish's imprisonment, with Stacey promising that she was there if Suki needed to talk further.
More like this
Denise spoke to Sharon as she stewed over her lust for Ravi and her issues with Jack, leading Sharon to ponder her own choices in a trip down memory lane. The women then came together for a toast, where they renounced their need for men with the phrase "may they get what they deserve".
But viewers were then transported to Christmas Day 2023, where Linda tentatively stepped forward as she looked upon the floor of The Vic, where a body lay. Suki looked uneasy, while Kathy stared at her in shock.
Stacey held out her hands, soaked in blood, while Denise's hand shook as she gripped a broken bottle. Interestingly, the camera then panned to Sharon donning a wedding dress. With blood staining her outfit, Sharon crouched down to inspect the mystery person on the floor and picked up one of his arms, where an amber cufflink could be seen. After checking his pulse, Sharon announced: "He's dead."
So who is set to lose their life this Christmas? We've got plenty of time to consider this, and we're anticipating further clues as the year unfolds. We'll keep this page updated as time goes by, but for now, let's delve into the lives all the Walford men whose fates could now be sealed...
Who dies in EastEnders at Christmas 2023?
Our top pick for now has to be Nish - but that could all change based on whatever evidence may come to light in the future. At the moment, Nish certainly serves as EastEnders' villainous frontrunner, with his controlling hold over Suki, who spent years building herself back up only to find herself trapped with him once more.
Nish is a sharp dresser, and the body we only caught a glimpse of looked to be suited and booted. That cufflink has also got to hold some significance, so we'll have to wait and see whether such a link is established as Nish continues his menacing ways throughout 2023. Other clues include Suki's reaction in the flash-forward, and the fact that Kathy's first thought was to turn to Suki. What's the reason behind this? Has Suki killed her abusive husband in self-defence? Whether Suki is the perpetrator or not, that doesn't rule Nish out as the deceased.
There must be a reasoning behind poor Linda's fresh turmoil as she was faced with a photo of Dean. The man escaped justice after attacking Linda, fleeing the country - and now he appears to be happily reunited with Shirley! During the lock-in, Kathy made a point of assuring Linda that if Dean ever stepped foot back in Walford, she would have an army of friends supporting her to block him from going anywhere near her.
Could this be a massive hint that Kathy and the group will take this vow very seriously, with one of them stepping in to kill him out of protection for her if Dean does return? The flash-forward showed Linda before anyone else, and she looked hesitant before moving across the room. Remember, this was moments before Sharon pronounced the death, so Linda may have been in fear of Dean. Has he been brought back to pay the ultimate price for his crimes?
Ryan may have walked away from Walford again last week, but he did so looking and sounding like a very cruel and bitter man. In the aftermath, with Ryan having cut down his child support payments and then having the nerve to ask for Lily to stay with him come Christmas, Stacey revealed that she'd "love to throttle him".
An offhand comment, yes, but with cousin Kat Slater's (Jessie Wallace) wedding to Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) now confirmed for Christmas Day especially to keep Lily around, might Ryan make his way back to try and kidnap her? If so, could this lead to a fight that turns physical, leading to Ryan being fatally injured? After all, Stacey was the one with blood on her hands...
Sharon fumed when she learned who else Keanu had been intimate with, and claimed they were over for good. Keanu, who made a shock return last December, has only just got Phil - and the threat of certain death - off his back. But could his days be numbered after all? It would be just like EastEnders to change the goalposts again, just as we were expecting Keanu to stick around!
He did the gentlemanly thing in turning Denise down when she was worse for wear - but Ravi is Nish's son and another schemer through and through! Let's not forget that Suki still doesn't know that Ravi killed his adoptive father Ranveer (Anil Goutam) last year, leaving her to believe she had struck the fatal blow. Her son Kheerat (Jaz Deol) took the fall for Suki, but when she inevitably discovers that it should have been Ravi who was sent to prison, could things turn nasty?
We also don't yet know how far Ravi's dalliance with Denise will go, so what if they do embark on a long-running affair and Ravi pays with his life? It's worth noting that Denise might well have been holding the murder weapon. Ravi is also being investigated by the police, so there's a lot of drama woven into this character's story. Will it be cut short during the festive season?
There might seem no reason for Phil to feature on this list, but EastEnders has placed Phil in the firing line so many times. He's survived each and every one of his near-death experiences, and the idea of Phil actually being killed off is unthinkable; but this is supposed to be his wedding day, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he was central to the action! Phil has somewhat reformed himself recently, but a lot can happen between now and December, so perhaps he crosses a line and ends up dead for real this time?
- EastEnders boss reveals "twist" anniversary episode will raise more questions
- EastEnders star James Bye calls for answer to Ruby Allen mystery
- EastEnders exit for Dr Ash Kaur as actress Gurlaine Kaur Garcha departs
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.
Try Radio Times magazine today and get 12 issues for only £1 with delivery to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times View From My Sofa podcast.