The 48-year-old actor recently told the official EastEnders website that his alter ego completely trusts Stella, played by actress Sophie Thompson, who has been emotionally and physically abusing his young son Ben (Charlie Jones).
“You judge a book by its cover, don’t you?” he says. “He thinks Stella’s a nice, well educated, middle-class, pleasant person.”
She’s also not exactly the sort of woman we’re used to seeing the Mitchell brother date.
“Until now, Phil’s been a bit of a brassy blonde bloke. Now, he’s looking for a companion and a mum for Ben. He wants stability in their lives.”
And the actor says he’s loving every minute of the storyline because it’s different to everything he’s done before.
“It’s an evil stepmother story, a bit like Snow White. It deals with a lot of important issues.”
But how will Phil react when he discovers what Stella is really like?
“Well, that’s the interesting thing,” he says. “Phil’s endeavoured to be a good dad. He’s pulled out all the stops and yet this has happened. I don’t know what he’ll do.”