Never one to shy away from the big topics and issues of the day, BBC drama flagship, Eastenders, is once again setting the agenda and is on-course to shock its fans and critics alike.
In the past the controversial soap has had plots involving stolen babies, lesbian kisses and a twice-killed lead character; not to mention the laughable spectacle of Grant and Phil Mitchell attempting to act the part of hard-nut siblings in anything approaching a remotely convincing manner.
But in a sensational leak worthy of the plot of a John Le Carre espionage thriller, it's believed that later this month one of the show's iconic characters is being lined up to crack a smile! Fans are said to be shocked by the news and if the producers do actually go ahead with the radical departure from the show's normal wall-to-wall misery fest, then they can expect to come in for some criticism.
A Walford insider said, "It's thrown us all into turmoil as nobody can quite believe it really. I mean, somebody smiling on Albert Square beggars belief. What next, actual laughter or a light comedy storyline? They'll be calling us Coronation Street before much longer! All cast members are being issued with scripts containing only their own lines and the pressure it's putting everyone under is massive."
It's unclear at this stage who the mystery grinner is likely to be, but long-serving June Brown who plays Dot Cotton is the bookies favourite at 1/2 on, with cheeky chappie Shane Richie, Alfie Moon, being offered at 4/1. Anyone fancying a flutter at long odds can take a punt on William Raoche, Ken Barlow off of Corrie, at a very generous 1,000,000/1.
Phil Mitchell, better known as actor Steve McFadden commented, "Whass gahin on?" and Jesse Wallace, that's Kat Moon to me and you, running the press gauntlet yesterday and hidden behind a pair of dark glasses just about managed to blurt out, "Gotta go!"
Long-term fans might remember that it was thought Bill Treacher, Arthur Fowler, once smiled in an episode back in 1985, but producers then moved quickly to scotch the suggestion; issuing a statement saying that the character was actually portraying trapped wind following a particularly indigestible bacon butty in Ali's cafe.
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