Spoilers

Phil struggles to come to terms with his diagnosis and confides in Shirley

Phil finds it hard to cope with his news, next week on EastEnders.

We have seen Phil battle with alcoholism on and off over the years but Walford’s resident hard man has been hitting the bottle heavily in the recent weeks since his abduction by Gavin Sullivan.  Even finding out he had cirrhosis of the liver over Christmas, which could prove fatal, has not stopped him from drinking.

After Sharon starts thinking about the drama of Christmas Day again, Phil is filled with guilt so continues to drink and drown his sorrows. Shirley finds Phil once again drinking in The Arches and discovers a shocking truth – he was driving the car on Christmas Day, not Ian.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 11/01/2016 - Episode: 5209 (No. 5209) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Shirley finds Phil drinking and discovers a shocking truth. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Shirley Carter (LINDA HENRY) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC

Phil’s problems continue to get worse once he’s confided in Shirley, as he finds out that Sharon was called to the hospital as Denny has got an infection.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 12/01/2016 - Episode: 5210 (No. 5210) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Phil decides to tell Sharon the truth. Sharon Mitchell (LETITIA DEAN), Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Gary Moyes
© BBC

She then declares that she’s never going to be able to forgive Ian for crashing the car, causing Phil to finally tell the truth about what happened on Christmas Day. Not being able to forgive Phil and his lies, she slaps him

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 14/01/2016 - Episode: 5211 (No. 5211) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Phil and Sharon come to blows. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Sharon Mitchell (LETITIA DEAN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 14/01/2016 - Episode: 5211 (No. 5211) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Phil tells Sharon his devastating news. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Sharon Mitchell (LETITIA DEAN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 14/01/2016 - Episode: 5211 (No. 5211) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Sharon and Phil argue. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN), Sharon Mitchell (LETITIA DEAN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 14/01/2016 - Episode: 5211 (No. 5211) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Sharon and Phil argue. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC

Sharon then goes to The Albert and tries to come to terms with the news, with Ian.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 14/01/2016 - Episode: 5211 (No. 5211) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Sharon tries to come to terms with the news. Sharon Mitchell (LETITIA DEAN), Ian Beale (ADAM WOODYATT) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC

After his argument with Sharon, Phil reaches a new low, so decides to try and fix some of the things he’s ever done wrong.

He starts this by trying to find his daughter Louise, (now being played by Tilly Keeper). He manages to track her down at school, and hands her a bag of money.

She is soon left shocked when Phil collapses right in front of her.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 15/01/2016 - Episode: 5212 (No. 5212) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) A drunk Phil makes a decision. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 15/01/2016 - Episode: 5212 (No. 5212) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) A drunk Phil makes a decision. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 15/01/2016 - Episode: 5212 (No. 5212) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Phil wakes up in the gutter. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 05/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 15/01/2016 - Episode: 5212 (No. 5212) - Picture Shows: ***FORTNIGHTLIES PLEASE DO NOT USE (SOAP LIFE and ALL ABOUT SOAP) Phil wakes up in the gutter. Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC

In a press release, the BBC revealed: “EastEnders has been working alongside the British Liver Trust as well as other experts in the field to help ensure the storyline is portrayed as accurately as possible.”

Andrew Langford is the chief executive of British Liver Trust, who have partnered with the writers on this occasion.

Mr Langford told the press: “Unfortunately Phil’s alcohol related health problems are not unique or that unusual. Currently in the UK we have an epidemic of liver disease and still the main cause of death from liver disease is alcohol related.”

“It is the third leading cause of premature death in the UK – but is misunderstood and rarely considered in the way of other serious health conditions so it’s really important that ‘EastEnders’ have chosen to tackle this serious problem.”

The life-threatening disease causes the deaths of around 4,000 people per year in the UK, and 700 people with the condition need a liver transplant to survive.

EastEnders airs these scenes the week of 11 January on BBC One and BBC One HD.

About the author

Melissa Berry

An EastEnders fan since the very first episode, Melissa has had the privilege to visit the EastEnders set twice (not many fans can say that!) and met many of the cast. She also appeared on EastEnders Revealed: Angie & Me, with Anita Dobson!