Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few days, you’ve probably heard Eastenders celebrated its 30th Anniversary this week and as is common practice with milestone episodes these days, the cast and crew of everyone’s favourite London based Soap, pulled out all the stops to mark the special occasion.
Of course the most talked about storyline of the week was the long awaited conclusion of the ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale?’ whodunnit, which has been ongoing for the past 10 months. While we’ve had plenty of Red Herrings thrown in the mix along the way, the killer was finally revealed to be Lucy’s 11 year old half brother Bobby.
While Bobby Beale may have done the dastardly deed, it was his adoptive mother Jane who covered up the murder and even managed to convince Bobby that Lucy had been fine following his altercation with her and that someone else killed her later that night, elsewhere.
The revelation was met with mixed reactions from the audience, with some unimpressed that Bobby turned out to be the culprit. Personally, I found it to be an interesting turn in the story and the aftermath it holds for the entire Beale clan in the coming weeks and months should make for great viewing.
As well as the Bobby reveal, there was another huge surprise in store for fans of the Beale family this week as Ian’s mum Kathy and original EastEnders cast member Gillian Taylforth made a surprise return on Thursday night, despite the fact the character was allegedly killed off in a car accident in 2006…
Of course, any true soap fan will know that the #1 rule of the genre is if you don’t see them die on-screen, they’re probably not dead and could return at any moment. Kathy’s apparent demise almost 10 years ago did indeed happen off-screen and when Taylforth left her Hollyoaks role several months ago the thought of a return for the Beale matriarch had entered my mind right before I dismissed the idea on account of my over-active imagination.
When Phil Mitchell pulled Ian aside the other night mere minutes before Ian’s second wedding to Jane however, my interest was piqued once again as Phil wanted to tell the groom something very important, following an equally suspicious conversation he had with Billy and Peggy. Before the infamous Mitchell could spill the beans to Ian they were interrupted by Ben (Phil and Kathy’s son) and Phil suddenly decided what he urgently needed to tell Ian could wait. Sure enough two episode later we saw Phil secretly meet with Kathy… Not saying I called it, but I certainly had an inkling.
Other highlights of the eventful week saw the discovery of Nick Cotton’s body in the burnt out Slater House where his dear old Ma, Dot, had left Albert Square’s original Villain to die after taking some dodgy gear. Several Walford residents including Stacey Slater, Martin Fowler, Charlie Cotton, Carol Jackson, Sharon Watts and Ian Beale (as if he didn’t have enough going on already) rallied to cover up Nick’s death in order to protect Dot, only for Dot to go and shop herself in to the old Bill and get driven off the Square in a squad car.
As all this was taking place there was further drama kicking off over in the Queen Vic as Kim Fox gave birth two months prematurely on the toilet floor of the iconic Boozer, while Mick Carter and Dean Wicks faced off once again in the barrell store resulting in the possible death of rapist Dean – except of course when Mick and Nancy return later on, the body has mysteriously disappeared and Nancy suspects her dad has disposed of it…
To increase pressure for the cast and crew, to make sure none of the big twists and secrets were leaked beforehand, and to make sure the week felt even more special, there were LIVE scenes included throughout the week leading to a 35 minute fully LIVE episode on Friday night, which ended the week with a bang (literally, there were fireworks and everything)…
Naturally the audience, being quite the sadistic bunch of people, always want to see something go wrong when the soaps go live and while everything pretty much went off without a hitch this week, we did have one little hiccup during a live scene on Wednesday night when actress Jo Joyner (who was reprising her role of Tanya Branning for the festivities) accidentally said “How’s Adam?” when referring to Ian (played by Adam Woodyatt), but the slip up added to the week for me, and both Joyner and Laurie Brett who plays Jane recovered brilliantly from the mistake and thankfully it didn’t all fall apart at the seams. I’m sure hardly anyone noticed – actually loads did, it kinda broke Twitter!
Special Kudos to Adam Woodyatt who managed to turn the waterworks on and off at will during the live scenes, and to Executive Producer Dominic Treadwill-Collins who masterminded the entire week and has kept the audience on their toes since taking the helm of the show in 2013.
But of course, a huge congratulations to the entire cast and crew for a spectacular week of revelations, brilliant performances all around, and here’s to the next 30 years on Albert Square!