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14 Most Ridiculous Eastenders Storylines

Updated on June 20, 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, so I suppose his body could been misidentified.

Den's return wasn't long lived. In 2005 Den was murdered by his new wife Chrissie. 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.

In 1996 Ian suspected Cindy of having an affair, so he hired a private investigator who caught her. Ian announced he was going to sue for custody of their children through the courts.

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

Luckily Ian survived. When Cindy realised the police suspect her involvement, she grabbed her children (minus Lucy) and fled out of the country with them.

A quick google shows that wives hiring hitmen to kill their husbands does happen in real life and Cindy was never the most moral of characters either. 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. In this time Nick was responsible for at least 2 murders, and attempts to murder his own mother, Dot. He also blackmailed, dealt drugs, lied, held people hostage and faked his own death. The character is a an out and out baddie with no redeeming characteristics and no good side.

He is 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. Nick turned up, supposedly a reformed man, with an 8 year old daughter named Dotty.

He ended up trying to kill Dot (again) for life insurance money. It turned out his 8 year daughter was plotting with him (although she has a change of heart). Oh and also her name wasn't really 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 turned up and somehow persuaded Phil, Mick, Vincent and Keanu to carry out a heist.

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

I started skipping over this storyline at this point, 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 guessing who, but the final 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. In 2006 a few years after she appeared on our screens, we learnt she had died in a car accident. A 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 was a reformed drug addict and born again Christian preacher. At least that's what he claimed and how he appeared. However it soon became clear the character was deranged. He murdered his ex-wife Trina, Denise's ex-husband Owen, a dog named Sugar, and 2 prostitutes. He was only caught eventually after he took Denise hostage.

Just what you want to watch as you eat your dinner.

7. Kat Slater's Mystery Man (2012)

In 2012 Eastenders introduced a who slept with Kat storyline. I suppose this was a change from the "who shot Phil" or "who murdered X" storylines. The storyline 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. Derek died a few days later on Christmas Day so we never learnt much about the relationship.

Derek's Death

6. Max's revenge (2017)

Max Branning has reason to be angry with people on the Square. He was sent down for the murder of Lucy, despite his innocence. So when Max gets out 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. It makes sense that Max would be mad at the Beales and others, but some of the revenge is just bizarre.

Most puzzling aspects: why is Max so angry with his brother Jack? Max helps Charlie get custody of Matthew from Jack by framing Jack for assault.

Max also blackmailed Phil into lying to Jay about who his father was, and made Phil lie to him that he killed his father. Eh?

It eventually turns out the head property developer is James Wilmot Brown, who raped Kathy Beale in 1988, so this is all some very 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)

Tanya and Max are broken up because he cheated on her. Max is not very happy when Tanya files for divorce and starts dating Sean Slater.

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

This is just a tad 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.

Luckily this incident seems to have been totally forgotten by both Max and Tanya.

Digging in the Woods

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

This is 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.
  • 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.

It was not made 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.

Nevermind, it would be too inconvenient to future plots for the Carters to lose the pub, so with only hours to spare the ring that Halfway took in the heist turned out to be worth £200,000. The Carters just needed to hand over the ring and the pub is saved. Unfortunately the dog Lady Di swallowed the ring, so it needed to be recovered first. Luckily that happened, the ring was handed over. (No one was concerned about proof of purchase or ownership). Everything is great and the Carters keep the pub.


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 called 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 found her newborn son dead. Stricken by grief she rushed for help, heard the cries of the newborn baby son of Kat and Alfie Moon, and swapped the babies. We then had to watch Kat and Alfie grieving.

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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