Entertainment & Arts

Death in Walford: 30 years of EastEnders murders

EastEnders is marking its 30th anniversary with a whodunnit storyline which has been running for nearly a year. The killer will be revealed in Thursday's episode.

But Lucy's demise is just one of a long line of murders that have been carried out in Albert Square, stretching back to its very first episode in 1985.

We take a look back at the big hitting storylines from the soap's past which show Walford is not the safest of places to live.

NICK COTTON'S REIGN OF TERROR

Image caption Reg Cox met his demise in the first episode of the soap

The first episode started with the murder of Reg Cox, who lived in the top flat of 23 Albert Square.

It took 13 more programmes for it to be revealed "Nasty" Nick Cotton had bludgeoned him with a lead pipe in order to steal his war medals for drug money.

The son of Dot Cotton had his hand in a few other deaths too.

Image caption Nick Cotton found himself at the centre of the action from the beginning

Nick Cotton's storylines have seen him also put an end to Eddie Royle in 1991, attempt to poison his own mother, unintentionally cause the death of his son Ashley and conspire to fake his own death.

Image caption Eddie Royle, played by Michael Melia, was stabbed by Nick Cotton in 1991

As a former policeman Royle was unlikely to have been popular with Albert Square residents, especially as the new landlord of the Queen Vic in 1990.

It was while out walking the pub's dog, Roly, in 1991 he was stabbed by Cotton, who was later found not guilty through lack of evidence.

But the one man crimewave, played by John Altman, finally met his own demise last week after taking a drug overdose.

MOB HITS

Image caption Jack Dalton, played by Hywel Bennett (left), was murdered by Dennis Rickman in 2003

The "East End mob" have made a few appearances over the years, and it's rarely ended well for them.

Gangland boss Jack Dalton, played by Hywel Bennett, was shot dead by Dennis Rickman, played by Nigel Harman, in revenge for Dalton ordering the death of his father, Den Watts, in 1989 (Den famously survived that encounter).

Among Dalton's many menacing deeds included hiring a hitman to kill Paul Trueman. Trueman had been one of Dalton's henchman, but was trying to escape the criminal life.

Image caption Gary Beadle played Paul Trueman, who had a relationship with the scheming Janine

The hole left by Dalton's untimely departure was filled by Andy Hunter, a character jilted at the alter by Kat Slater, and who subsequently sought his revenge through blackmail.

Hunter didn't rule the roost for long, and in 2005 he was murdered by Johnny Allen, played by Billy Murray. His fate was sealed after he tried to con Allen out of money and was tossed off a motorway bridge.

Image caption Johnny Allen killed The Firm mobman Andy Hunter by pushing him off a flyover
Image caption Dennis was married to Sharon who was his adopted sister; he was killed in the soap in 2006

Rickman's life was taken after a feud with Allen escalated, with Allen ordering his mobsters to kill him. Rickman was stabbed and died in the arms of his wife Sharon, the adopted daughter of his father Den.

BLACK WIDOW

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption The unhappy couple in 2004 - Janine married Barry as doctors wrongly diagnosed him with a fatal illness

Greedy Janine Butcher was in cahoots with Trueman when she married car dealer Barry Evans, wrongly believing he had a terminal illness and she would inherit his cash.

But when she discovered his death sentence was a false alarm she lost her temper, confessed she didn't love him and shoved him so hard he fell down a cliff. The callous Butcher left him to die, inheriting his business and wealth.

She swiftly moved on to other conquests who equally met a sad end: Her second husband David died of a heart attack immediately after their wedding upon discovering she had been conning him.

Butcher then killed off husband number three, Michael Moon (John Jack Shepherd), after a turbulent relationship in which he had planned to murder her. Despite a court trial, she got away with murder. Literally.

Image caption Janine and Michael's tormented relationship finally ended with his death in 2013

SECOND TIME UNLUCKY

Dirty Den Watts - played by Lesley Grantham - survived his first assassination attempt, going in to hiding, before rising from the ashes 14 years later. But unable to keep out of trouble, he upset a number of the soap's women and ended up buried in the cellar of his beloved Queen Vic pub.

Image caption Chrissie was the second wife of Dirty Den, who murdered him in the Queen Vic in 2005

THE DEATHS PILE UP

There has barely been a year without a murder in EastEnders, with Roxy Mitchell love interest Jase Dyer and Owen Turner (the ex-husband to Denise Fox who was also abusive and alcoholic) among the victims.

Image caption Pauline's death became another whodunnit storyline

The late Wendy Richard played Pauline Fowler for 21 years, exiting in a dramatic 2006 Christmas Day episode which saw her lying face down in the snow.

This led to another mystery, before it was eventually revealed she had been bashed over the head with a frying pan by her estranged husband Joe.

Archie Mitchell, husband of Peggy, was murdered on Christmas Day in 2009. Throughout his time in the soap, the character of Archie had left a trail of treachery and misery in his wake. He took his teenage daughter's newborn baby, telling his daughter the infant had died.

Image caption Archie Mitchell, who married his sister-in-law Peggy, was killed by Stacey Slater on Christmas Day 2009

He set fire to the Queen Vic pub, manipulated his wife Peggy and plotted to financially cripple the Mitchell clan. But it was his rape of the character Stacey Slater that finally put an end to his malice. She took her revenge on Christmas Day by bashing him over the head with the famous Queen Vic bust in the pub.

Image caption Lucas Johnson was responsible for two murders in 2010, Sugar and Gemma Charleston
Image caption Heather Trott, played by Cheryl Fergison, was killed with a picture frame by Ben Mitchell (now played by Harry Reid seen here) in 2012

THE YEAR OF 2014: WHO KILLED LUCY BEALE?

Image caption The last episode in which Lucy Beale was seen alive was in April 2014

Last year also saw villainous character Carl White bludgeoned with a car boot lid by Ronnie Mitchell. But it is the mystery over the death of Lucy Beale that has become the all-consuming issue on the Square - and in the nation's sitting rooms.

Lucy was found dead on Walford Common early last year, but it's only now we will find out who was responsible.

EastEnders can be seen on BBC One at 1930 and 2125 GMT on 19 February.

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