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14 Most Ridiculous Eastenders Storylines

Updated on March 18, 2018
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Marianne is a writer from the United Kingdon who secretly enjoys watching soap operas.

Eastenders has been on British screens since 1985. It's had many great storylines, bu sometimes there are plots which go just too far.

Here, in reverse order are the top 14 times when Eastenders storylines got too ridiculous.

14. Dirty Den Comes Back From the Dead (2003)

Den Watts, arguably the most iconic Eastenders characters of the 1980s, was the first landlord of the Queen Vic pub. In 1989 after displeasing some gangsters, he was shot at a canal by a gun pointed from some daffodils. A body was later dredged from the canal and identified as Den by his daughter.

However in 2003 Den Watts came back from the dead. Believable? Well, this is not the highest on the list because in his final scene in 1989 we didn't actually see Den die, and I supposed his body could been misidentified.

Den's return wasn't long lived. In 2005 his wife Chrissie murders Den, sick of his cheating. This time we saw the body, and after a period buried in the basement of the Vic, Den was properly buried next to his first wife Angie. So Den is probably dead for good this time!

Den's First "Death"

13. Cindy Hires a Hitman to Kill Ian (1996)

Often you feel a bit sorry for the characters married to Ian Beale, but with his first wife Cindy, you feel more for him.

Ian suspects Cindy is having an affair, hires a private investigator and catches her, and says he is going to sue for custody of their children through the courts.

Cindy's reaction? To hire a hitman to shoot Ian.

Luckily Ian survives. When Cindy realises the police suspect her involvement, she grabs her children (minus Lucy) and flees out of the country with them.

So a quick google shows that wives hiring hitmen to kill their husbands does happen in real life and Cindy is never the most moral of characters either. So I suppose this is not completely unbelievable, but it is stupid. To this day this is one of Eastender's most memorable storylines.

Cindy Takes the Children

12. Nick Cotton (1985-2015)

Nick Cotton appeared on Eastenders on and off for 30 years. Responsible for at least 2 murders, and attempting to murder his own mother, Dot. He also blackmails, deals drugs, lies, holds people hostage and fakes his own death. He is a an out and out baddie with no redeeming characteristics and no good side. Why is this on this list? Often this means he is a bit of a pantomime character, rather an a real person you can have any sort of sympathy or empathy with.

His most ridiculous storyline was in 2008/2009. He turns up, supposedly reformed, with an 8 year old daughter named Dotty. He ends up trying to kill Dot (again) for life insurance money, but it turns out his 8 year daughter is colluding with him (although she has a change of heart). Oh and also her name isn't Dotty, but Kirsty.

Nick tries to Poison His Mother (1990)

11. New Year's Day Gun Heist (2018)

The 2018 New Year's Day episode of Eastenders saw some of the main characters taking part in a heist. Why isn't ever clear, but this gangster called Aidan turns up and somehow persuades Phil, Mick, Vincent and Keanu to carry out a heist.

The heist itself is a farce. Mick gets locked up by his mother but he manages to escape and runs to join the heist in his slippers. The episode ends with Mick getting shot by someone he recognises.

I started skipping over this storyline a lot, but some follow-on storylines include:

  1. The guy that shoots Mick turns out to be "Halfway" a friend of Mick's son Lee from the military. Mick offers Halfway a job in the Vic the next day, as you normally do after someone shots you.
  2. The money from the heist goes missing, leading to lots of boring speculation about who has stolen it, kidnapping and threats
  3. Aidan's ex-wife Kiara shows up, and turns out to be the sister of former character Steve Owen, leading to the reintroduction of Mel Owen.
  4. Vincent is threatened by Aidan, because it turns out that Vincent helped send Aidan's brother Connor to prison, and Connor committed suicide.

And so on. I give this a plausibility level of zero, and a tedious level of very high.

10. Who killed Lucy (2014-2015)

In April 2014 Lucy Beale's body is discovered on Walfold Commons. 10 months of speculation later the killer is revealed as Lucy's little brother 11 year old Bobby in a live 30th anniversary episode. He killed her by hitting her over the head with her jewellery box. His stepmother Jane then moved Lucy's body to protect Bobby.

After the 10 months of buildup, a lot of viewers were disappointed. The interesting part of the storyline was the guessing, and the reveal underwhelming. Bobby Beale was also the bookie's favourite by this time, so it wasn't altogether a shock.

The Murder Weapon

The jewellery box used to kill Lucy.
The jewellery box used to kill Lucy. | Source

9. Kathy Comes Back From the Dead (2015)

In 2015 Eastenders decided it wanted to bring back Gillian Tayforth as Kathy Beale. The problem? Kathy was dead.

Kathy Beale was in the very first episode of Eastenders in 1985. Her death took place off-screen In 2006, after she last appeared in 2000, when everyone learnt she had died in a road accident with her husband Gavin. A rather poor way to kill off a long-standing character. Her 10-year-old son Ben was sent back to Walford to live with his dad, Phil Mitchell.

In 2015 she came back from the dead. Turned out she had been in an abusive relationship with Gavin and he had forced her to pretend to be dead to escape debts.

It takes a lot to abandon your 10 year old son for a man by pretending to be dead. Kathy is not there for her family through a lot of difficult times for example when Ben gets sent to prison for manslaughter, or Ian has a nervous breakdown, or her granddaughter Lucy is murdered. Luckily after the initial shock, it doesn't seem to take Ben or Ian very long at all to come to terms with the fact their mother is alive and interact normally with her.

Eastenders say coming up with this 'plausible' story took 7 months. Inspiration came from the real life story of John and Anne Darwin. John was missing presumed dead after being spotted canoeing in the sea in 2002 and not returning. However in 2007 he turned up in a police station in London claiming not to remember the last 5 years. However his story quickly unravelled as it emerged that he had simply pretended to be dead for life insurance and pension money, and his wife Anne was aware he was alive (at least since 2003). Their two sons were unaware that John was still alive. So I suppose that sometimes real life is strange and not that likely either.

Kathy's First Appearance in Eastenders in 1985

2015 Trailer for Kathy's Return

8. Lucas, the Christian Serial Killer (2008-2010)

Lucas, the father of Denise's daughter Chelsea is a reformed drug addict and born again Christian preacher. At least that's what he claims on the surface. He murders his ex-wife Trina, Denise's ex-husband Owen, a dog named Sugar, and 2 prostitutes. He also takes his wife Denise hostage, but eventually lets her free.

Just the sort of story you want to watch while you eat your dinner.

7. Kat Slater's Mystery Man (2012)

I suppose this was a change from the "who shot Phil" "who murdered X" storylines. In 2012 Eastenders introduced a who slept with Kat storyline. This lasted for 6 months until the big reveal where we we learnt Kat Moon (nee Slater) had had an affair with Derek Branning, undoubtedly the most unattractive character in the running. It was never explained what her attraction to him was. He died a few days later on Christmas Day.

Derek's Death

6. Max's revenge (2017)

Max Branning has reason to be angry with people on the Square, sent down for the murder of Lucy, when he was innocent. So he teams up with some evil properly developers and plots to destroy the Square, in particular to knock down the Vic and other businesses and turn them into luxury flats. So yes, I get that he would be mad at the Beales and others, but some of the revenge is just bizarre.

Most puzzling aspects: why is he so angry with his brother Jack? He helps Charlie get custody of Matthew from Jack to the lengths of framing Jack for assault.

Oh and it is revealed that he blackmailed Phil into lying to Jay about who his father was, and made Phil lie to him that he killed his father. Eh?

It turns out the head property developer is James Wilmot Brown, who raped Kathy Beale in 1988, so its all some longwinded 30 year old revenge plan against Walford from him too.

Apparently the story of Max's revenge was originally supposed to run for 3 years. However a change of producers led to the story being wrapped up early at Christmas 2017, which is a relief.

5. Tanya Buries Max Alive (2008)

Another Max plot. Tanya and Max are broken up because he cheated on her, and Max doesn't react very pleasantly when Tanya files for divorce and starts dating Sean Slater.

So as you do, Tanya and Sean work together to drug Max and bury him alive in the woods. Although Tanya has a change of heart and digs him up before he dies.

A bit extreme and doesn't seem in character for Tanya, who has three children with Max and is depicted as a caring mother. Often Tanya has the moral high ground over Max, but this episode really makes that questionable. Although this incident seems to have been totally forgotten.

Digging in the Woods

4. Claudette's Return from the Dead (2016)

Another case of a character being buried alive, and surviving. The sequence of events

  • Claudette confesses to her son Vincent, that it was actually her who murdered her husband in 1981 (earlier in the episode she also confessed she was responsible for the death of Fatboy, who was locked in the back of a car and crushed to death)
  • Vincent reacts by trying to strangle Claudette, but is interrupted and stopped by Patrick, Claudette's lover.
  • Patrick accidentally pushes Claudette down the stairs. They don't check whether she is dead.
  • So, Vincent grabs a shovel and starts digging over his mother, burying her under the floorboards in the basement
  • The next day builders come round (conveniently already planned) and put a new concrete floor down. Vincent and Patrick assume Claudette is dead under there.

Seems pretty conclusive, but no, Claudette emerges, bruised and in hospital, but very much alive.

Not clear why Patrick and Vincent didn't call an ambulance when she fell, or how Claudette survived? Somehow after this Patrick and Claudette also get back together again for a while too.

Claudette Falls Down the Stairs

3. Saving the Pub with a Ring Swallowed by Lady Di (2018)

After the very tedious "revenge" plot, the Carters are on the verge of losing their pub. Mick's participation in a heist has failed to solve the problem (see above), so its the last day before the Carters have to leave.

But there is a ring that Halfway took in the heist, and with only hours to spare it turns out to be worth £200,000, so they just need to hand over the ring and the pub is saved. Unfortunately in the meantime the dog Lady Di swallows it, so it needs to be recovered first. Luckily that happens, the ring is handed over, and no one is concerned that it is stolen. Everything is great and the Carters keep the pub.

Really?

2. Kat Slater Discovers She Had Twins (2016)

In 2008 in one of the most iconic Eastenders scenes ever, Kat and Zoe, supposedly sisters, were having a screaming argument. Zoe screams "you can't tell me what to do, you ain't my mother" and Kat screams back "Yes I am". It turned out that Kat had given birth to Zoe at the age of 14, but they had been brought up as sisters.

Move on to 2016 and Kat discovers that in fact she actually gave birth to twins when she was 14, but never knew.

So I assume this must be medically possible but it doesn't seem that likely? Apparently, Kat passed out after giving birth to Zoe, the first twin in the nunnery. (Why not a hospital I don't know) So the nuns and Kat's mother don't tell her she had a son, and her mother takes her son to Ireland and gives him away.

Just a tad far-fetched? To add to the ridiculousness, Eastenders created a spin-off show, Redwater. Redwater followed Kat and her husband travelling to Ireland to find her son. Her son turns out to be a murderous priest. Redwater ends on a cliffhanger where Kat nearly gets accidentally killed in his boat as he flees the police. As Redwater is not getting another series we may never know the ending of the story. (Although Kat is coming back to Walford in 2018, so she is alive and perhaps we will get some hints)

1. Baby Swap: 2011

The most ridiculous, controversial and hard to watch plot of all time in Eastenders has to be the baby swap story of 2011.

Tragically Ronnie Mitchell finds her newborn son dead. Stricken by grief she rushes for help, hears the cries of the newborn baby son of Kat and Alfie Moon, and swaps the babies, because that is a likely thing for a desperate mother to do? We then have to watch Kat and Alfie grieving, with Kat recognising the baby is not her son.

13,400 people complained to the BBC about the storyline, and 1,044 to regulator Ofcom. Amid widespread criticism Eastenders tweaked the storyline, swapping the baby back to Kat and Alfie much earlier than originally planned.

Apparently, Samantha Wormack, the actress who played Ronnie didn't think it was believable either. Jessie Wallace and Shane Ritchie (Kat and Alfie) also later described the storyline as a 'farce' in an interview.

Which Storyline on This List do You Think is Most Ridiculous?

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