It has been a rollercoaster summer in Walford with unexpected pregnancies, a wedding, shock arrests and secrets galore. It has all been gearing up to what promises to be an explosive end to the show’s 30th year. Here’s who you cannot afford to take your eyes off!
1. Ian Beale
Ian Beale has rightly been at the centre of the show over the past 18 months and he looks set to remain there. The Who Killed Lucy story has shown that British Soap operas can still capture the public’s imagination in a major way with 12 million tuning in for the killer reveal. The Bobby reveal has proved to be a masterstroke and has commenced a whole new chapter in the story. But keeping the secret and watching someone else go down for it, is going to push Mr. Beale to the edge. (Literally!) Don’t worry Ian, mummy is on her way with another massive Beale story.
2. Kathy Sullivan
Yes. She’s alive. It’s really her and Phil hasn’t lost his marbles. Viewers wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that Phil was being affected by the early onset of dementia when he met ‘dead’ Kathy twice this year, alone but she’s alive and well and on her way back to Walford. It’s not going to be easy for her. She will feel tremendous guilt for not being there for Ben and Ian over the past nine years. Why did she fake her death in South Africa? Well, this is the beginning of the show’s next big storyline and her husband will be a major new villain like no other.
3. Shabnam Masood
Shabnam has really come into her own this year. In January, it was revealed she left a baby on her auntie’s doorstep and more recently, she has discovered that she’s five months pregnant. Tragedy is about to strike in scenes that promise to be a harrowing watch. Tissues at the ready, the Masoods are about to be rocked to the core. Shabnam is our new tragic heroine and will be at the centre of the action this Autumn.
4. Stacey Branning
Stacey’s unexpected pregnancy is causing problems of its own. Martin has stepped up to the plate but Stacey has a dilemma about stopping her bipolar medication whilst pregnant. Stacey will struggle with her mental health issues again this Autumn. Could the reveal of the key’s secret lead to another mental breakdown? Lacey was phenomenal throughout the bipolar story in 2009 and the key and pregnancy would be more than enough to send her back to that dark place.
5. Les Coker
Les. Aahhhh! How can you not watch Les? Roger’s theatrical appearances are certainly memorable. Perhaps for the wrong reasons? There’s something endearing about Les but what is he hiding from Birdie? We have been led to believe that it’s more than an affair. The rumour mill has gone into overdrive on this one, is Les a crossdresser? Stranger things have happened or is it linked to the dark side Claudette has begun to exhibit? Les was paid off to carry out a fake funeral for Nick, could he be up to his neck in dodgy dealings with Claudette? The reveal cannot be far away.
6. Lee Carter
Lee is in the midst of a long running depression storyline. So far we have seen him struggle to deal with the small everyday things. He has confided in Nancy and Whitney but how will his parents react when they learn what he’s been keeping from them? EastEnders have tackled mental health issues successfully and sensitively before. This is a story to watch and it looks set to be the making of Lee Carter.
7. Ben Mitchell
Ben will get the shock of his life this Autumn when his ‘dead’ mother comes back into his life. Ben has endured some major trauma at the hands of Stella and Phil since coming to Walford so much so that he went to juvie for slappin dahn Jordan Johnson and murdered Heather Trott. A far cry from the tap dancing, musical loving Ben that moved to the Square in 2006. Of course, that’s if he’s still alive. Unbeknownst to Abi, Ben is having sex with Paul Coker on the side. I wouldn’t like to be Ben when she finds out. Let’s hope he is reunited with his mum first.
8. Ronnie Mitchell
Ronnie is set for a big Autumn. Her current husband, Charlie Cotton, is leaving the Square and Ronnie will be struck with panic when he departs with her son, Matthew. Matthew is the child she has longed to have for so long and she will not let him go without a fight. Will she get to him in time? Ronnie will also find out about Kathy being alive. Will she be able to keep Phil’s big K-shaped secret to herself?
9. Sharon Mitchell
Sharon has flourished in the matriarchal Mitchell role this year and she will remain at the forefront of the show as it heads into the closing months of 2015. Next week will see her suspect Phil of having an affair, will she unwittingly come across ‘dead’ Kathy? Sharon will also discover a suspicious message, could she be the next person to find out who killed Lucy? Her dad is also closer than she thinks and about to turn her whole world upside down. Blimey, Sharon’s in the thick of the action where she belongs.
10. Bobby Beale
Bobby has become infinitely more watchable since being revealed as Lucy’s killer. He has also become increasingly unstable in recent months; attacking Phil Mitchell with a golf club, attempting to put a brick through Max’s car window and attacking Cindy in the Beale living room. Eliot Carrington is doing a fantastic job in the role but will Bobby kill again? If I was Cindy, I would sleep with one eye open and be extra careful at the top of the stairs. I am waiting for him to reveal that he strategically placed that toy at the top of the stairs to kill his mum, Laura.