Chris Clenshaw, the head of EastEnders, has revealed all-new information about a big year for the serial that culminated in a significant Christmas death.
In a flashback, six of the show’s leading ladies can be seen gathered around what Sharon Watts (or whoever her name was at the time) claims to be a dead corpse.
While the producer sensibly isn’t revealing specifics like who perishes and who kills them, he has verified a number of significant stories to take place between now and the big holiday reveal.
He has hinted at a significant new story for Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner), a shocking development regarding Suki Panesar’s killer secret, and the possibility that Linda Carter’s (Kellie Bright) saviour is not who we believe.
In addition to this drama, it has been confirmed that Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), with explosive consequences, will learn of Denise Fox’s (Diane Parish) affair with Ravi Gulati.
As Rocky’s (Brian Conley) past comes up with him, a secret for Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) will also be exposed.
Who exactly is Sharon getting married to?
Here, Chris reveals why he decided against using a traditional whodunnit format, how long the special episode has been in development, and what lies ahead for the six women who are the central characters of a murder plan that will keep us talking for the rest of the year.
How did you and the creative team develop this amazing flashforward sequence plot?
We were looking for an episode to really excite viewers as we set up an event that they’ll ideally look forward to all year. The Six are Linda, Suki, Kathy, Stacey, Denise, and Sharon. We were looking for a vehicle for The Six to come together.
How long has this been in the works for you and the group?
Since I took over at the beginning of last year, it has been in the works (2022). There was obviously a demand for a whodunnit when I was looking for a blockbuster story for 2023, but I was hesitant to play one in the traditional sense in part because of the dazzlingly excellent Who Killed Lucy plot, which was not only enormously successful but also intensely gripping throughout.
I told the writing and story staff that if we ever did another “whodunnit,” it would have to be unique, feel distinctive, and have a fundamentally different mechanic.
A few of our authors and story team members took that directive into consideration and returned with the concept of flashing forward, assuring readers that a “whodunnit” will be revealed in the near future. When we first came up with the concept, we reasoned that keeping the identity of the victim a secret would make it even more thrilling, transcending the realm of simple whodunit. It’s also a who-is-it.
We then decided to begin the story around the 38th anniversary of EastEnders, which luckily fell around the time that The Six—Linda, Suki, Kathy, Stacey, Denise, and Sharon—were each engaged in tales related to the men in their lives.
Why did you feel it was essential to try out a format that had never been used on EastEnders?
We have to think about whether it’s appropriate for EastEnders and how the audience will react when we try something that we as a show have never done before.
It wasn’t an easy choice to make, but I believe we can try new things, experiment with form and structure, and intrigue, grip, and excitement for our audience in fresh ways as long as we stay true to the show’s DNA, which is about family, community, and love, and we keep that in mind at all times.
Can you hint at what’s in store for the people involved? The ending raises a lot of questions.
The discovery of a picture of Shirley and Dean has turned Linda’s world on its head, but she is under pressure to concentrate on finding a new business partner or risk losing her house. Nish and Sharon both want the castle’s keys, but Sharon’s knight in shining armour might not be who you assume.
Suki is having trouble with her marriage to Nish and is making a valiant effort to persuade herself that she has no emotions for Eve. Suki will learn the truth as the year goes on, and her relationships will be put to the test, but her biggest secret may eventually drive her to the breaking point.
Rocky and Kathy are getting married, but we all know Rocky has baggage from the past. What will finally catch up with him?
Stacey has struggled to protect her pregnant daughter from danger in addition to coping with the rising cost of living. Stacey is doing something this year that she has never done before in an attempt to defend her loved ones and an unborn grandchild.
How long can Denise resist temptation when her marriage to Jack is in trouble and neighbourhood bad guy Ravi has had his eye on her for several weeks? When Jack realises what has been happening, expect an uproar in the action.
As soon as Sharon and Keanu got back together, she learned that he and Sam also have a history, leaving Sharon freshly single. The fact that Sharon is, as we all know, donning a wedding gown at Christmas means there will undoubtedly be many detours and sorrow along the way.
How can fans anticipate the plot developing over the next 12 months?
Six women are gathered around a dead corpse, which we know is a man, as we saw in the flash-forward scene. Expect to see each of these women have significant tales over the next ten months involving potential victims, which will all come together at Christmas.
How did you select the particular actors for this plot? Why was it crucial to have female characters in every role?
Strong women have always been at the centre of EastEnders, and we are extremely fortunate to have a host of extraordinarily talented actors at our disposal. So it only made sense to combine some of our most well-known and recognisable female figures in a massive, never-before-told plot.
These women are neighbours and share a square, but we hardly ever see them interact in this manner.
In November of last year, I called a meeting with Kellie, Bal, Gilly, Lacey, Di, and Tish; they were all naturally perplexed but also very interested in why I wanted to meet with them all at once. I broke the news and shared our plans for this storyline with them when we convened for lunch.
They all halted in mid-step as I described the flash-forward scenario and said, “And we cut to Christmas 2023,” and the room went silent. They were speechless.
However, that didn’t last for very long because they had a lot of questions. Some of them tried to figure out who the corpse is right away, while others didn’t care. Some wanted to know which one of them is responsible, while others didn’t. The audience is asking the same queries that they did back then, I’m certain.
Christmas on EastEnders is always a busy time, and this year we got an early peek of what’s to come. Can you provide us with any additional information about this dramatic episode?
I’ve already shown you a scenario from Christmas; I’m sorry, but I’m at a loss for words. But I will advise this: Be prepared for the unexpected.
Whodunnit is revealed at the episode’s conclusion. Can you provide us with any hints as to what may have taken place and who may have met their end?
I won’t reveal anything that the show hasn’t already revealed, but I will say that there were hints throughout. Did you take a careful look? I want everyone to gaze at the scene again.
If you look closely, you can find a few treats in the picture as well. I’d also add that a lot can occur in Walford between February and December, including changes in conditions, interpersonal relationships, and loyalties. As a result, what you may believe now may not be entirely accurate as 2023 progresses and Christmas approaches.
What will the characters’ futures look like after the conclusion?
You’re already requesting information about 2024 in February 2023! All I can say is that these six women will experience something that will eternally tie them together before everything changes for them in an instant.
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