EastEnders always pulls it out of the bag when it comes to milestone anniversaries, and it looks set to be no different as the soap turns the grand old age of 35 this week.
The special episodes to mark the occasion will see a group of Walford’s most beloved characters cruising down the Thames for a boat party in celebration of The Queen Vic’s recent victory in a pub of the year competition.
But in true EastEnders fashion, it will be far from plain sailing, and by the end of the week, we will be saying farewell to one Albert Square resident as they fail to make it out alive.
A recently-released trailer has revealed that a Titanic-style disaster will strike the boat, leaving a number of characters at risk of being the one in the body bag come Friday evening.
Fans have been warned that the death will come as a shock, with Mick Carter actor Danny Dyer hinting that it will be a major player who meets their maker.
He told Radio Times: “It was a real shock to everyone, honestly. It’s really powerful stuff, and we’re trying to get a message across, and sometimes when you do that, you’ve really got to go full throttle with it.”
As speculation mounts as to who will die, here’s a look at some possible theories and some other runners and riders...
There would be no bigger shock on the anniversary than killing off the mightily popular Queen Vic landlord.
As we’ve seen in the trailer, he and Linda are firmly in the danger zone as they seemingly get stuck in a room as the boat begins to take on water.
You might also remember that Mick isn’t the strongest of swimmers, having only learned in a storyline a few years back.
And some fans are already convinced it will be Mick who meets a watery grave as it has been reported that some of Danny Dyer’s costumes has been sold off online.
However, we should point out that old EastEnders costumes are cleared out from time to time (some characters even inherit new ones from Strictly Come Dancing, according to Claudia Winkleman), so we wouldn’t say Mick’s fate is sealed just yet.
With Linda currently in the midst of an alcoholism storyline, the landlady causes concern when she drunkenly humiliates Mick on board the boat prior to the disaster – so could it be that she becomes so intoxicated she is not able to escape?
It’s a plausible theory, which is given strength by a number of references to the fate of former landladies in recent episodes.
First up, it was revealed the first landlord of the Vic, Mr Bagstock, drowned his wife in the bath.
Then, in another nod to the past, Linda served Mick with divorce papers in scenes reminiscent to that of Den Watts doing the same to wife Angie on Christmas Day in 1986.
Like Linda, Angie battled alcoholism and died off-screen as a result of her addiction in 2002, while you’ll remember Den also ended up in the water when he was shot and presumed dead in 1989.
These parallels could certainly indicate Linda may await a fate similar to those who’ve stood behind the bar before her...
A credible theory from one EastEnders fan on Twitter (@RyanJL) has speculated that it will be Sharon’s son Dennis who perishes in the accident.
With the Sheanu storyline reaching its climax, the theory suggests that Sharon’s first-born could be killed as a result of Phil and Keanu’s fighting.
But Dennis is also placed with Ian Beale in a lot of promotional material for the special episodes, as seen in the picture above.
In a second trailer for the anniversary, Dennis and Ian share a guilty look with one another, as a voiceover talks about “living with the consequences”, perhaps indicating that Ian tries but ultimately fails to save Dennis’ life.
The same Twitter user also noticed that Sharon made a remark last week about how “losing a child is every woman’s worst fear”.
We already know that heavily-pregnant Sharon (who is not on board the boat, or at least that we know of) is set to give birth this week – so could she be welcoming a child as she says goodbye to another?
With Sharon taking a central role in the celebrations, it could be that fellow Albert Square original Ian has a massive part to play in the episodes too.
Certainly, there’s no bigger role to play than getting killed off, especially as the death of an original cast member would have ramifications for years to come.
We also know that Ian’s estranged son Peter is returning in the coming weeks (albeit with a new head), but his reasons for coming back to Walford are still unclear. Could it be he’s back for his father’s funeral? Stay tuned.
Danny Walters reprised his role as Keanu Taylor earlier this month, which came as a surprise to fans, who thought his exit storyline had already aired when he went on the run after his affair with Sharon was revealed.
Scenes to air during anniversary week will see Phil and Keanu coming face to face for a final showdown, as the hard man seeks revenge for Keanu’s affair with Sharon.
With Danny still confirmed to be leaving the soap, it could be that Phil really does see off his rival for good this time.
Likewise, it has been announced Jasmine Armfield is leaving her role as Bex Fowler, and the character is among those who boards the disaster-bound boat.
We also know that Phil is not going to be too happy when he finds out Martin and Linda faked Keanu’s death, and he is also seen attacking the fruit and veg seller in the trailer. Could Phil take the ultimate revenge by killing his daughter?
But those that definitely don’t die are...
EastEnders bosses have already released a short set of spoilers for the episodes airing after the anniversary week, which reveal some characters who are still very much alive.
They include Whitney Dean and Stuart Highway, who are both on the boat, while others mentioned in upcoming storylines are Shirley Carter, Jean Slater, Lola Pearce, Gray Atkins and Keegan and Tiffany Baker.
EastEnders: The 35th Anniversary Week begins on Monday, February 17 at 8pm on BBC One and concludes on Friday, February 21 with an episode at 8.30pm. All available on BBC iPlayer.