EastEnders exec producer Diederick Santer reveals what’s next for all our favourite characters in Walford…
You’ve been executive producer at EastEnders for two-and-a-half years – is it still exciting you?
“It’s still totally exciting. We have such a large and wonderful group of characters here and we don’t always get the chance to go too deep with all of them. But I’m hopeful that by the end of this year we will have.”
As a viewer, is there any era of EastEnders that you really admired?
“The most memorable period for me is those first couple of years with Angie and Den, Michelle’s pregnancy and so on. I was 15 when it began and I became an instant addict. I used to watch it with my mum and talk about it loads. I also remember enjoying all the Bianca-David-Carol stuff.”
Danielle’s death caused quite a bit of controversy. Any regrets about the way her storyline ended?
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I have no doubt that it was the right one – it gave the best short-term impact and will provide the best long-term consequences.”
How are you going to top it?
“Every story is different and gives the audience a different kind of ‘hit’. I don’t think there’s anything quite as devastating as Danielle’s death in the near future, but there are shocks for Whitney, Denise and Garry. And Dot faces a very difficult time in the next couple of months.”
Last year we had the Miller house explosion and the Roxy/Sean ice drama at Christmas. Have you got a big stunt planned for this year?
“There’ll be something. But I’m not sure if people really tune in to EastEnders for the big stunt stuff. Also, bearing in mind the budget cuts we’re facing, those ‘explosive’ scenes will become fewer.”
Can we expect any more weddings in the Square this year… or funerals?
“There will be a lot of wedding talk. Whether anyone actually makes it down the aisle… I’m not sure. I hope so! I can think of one definite funeral. But I can’t say whose it will be.”
Is there any character you really want to bring back?
“The two people I’d really like to bring back are both dead – Kathy and Cindy. But we’re currently taking the view that dead characters should stay dead.”
There have been rumours about Grant, Sharon, Sonia and Martin, and Kat and Alfie returning… Any truth in them?
“Great characters and great actors, but there are no current plans. But never say never…”
Will Ricky and Bianca get together again?
“It’s inevitable they have to get together. But whether that’s in six weeks, six months or six years I’m not saying. And with Sam’s return, things are more complicated. Will Whitney discover Ricky is Tiffany’s dad? All in good time…”
Archie’s coming back – what can we expect when he returns?
“What Archie wants on his return, and whether he intends to make amends with Peggy, Ronnie and Roxy remains to be seen. I can reveal Janine will be involved. They make a deadly combination!”
Dawn and Garry are leaving. Can we expect a happy ending?
“Garry and Dawn’s love is once again tested this summer. Whether or not there will be a happy ending for them or they’ll go their separate ways when they leave Walford this summer is the big question!”
And what about Roxy? Will she find a new love?
“Love (or sex) is always around the corner for Roxy. Maybe she’ll have something fairly serious going with someone before the end of the year…”
Sam Mitchell is back in the autumn. What effect will her return have on the Square?
“Sam will set the cat among the pigeons for Bianca and Ricky and it’ll be interesting to see what Ronnie and Roxy make of Peggy’s spoilt little princess. Three Mitchell sisters! It’s rather frightening.”
Will Ronnie find happiness?
“Although Ronnie is essentially a tragic figure there are some lovely times ahead for her and Jack. But is she too messed up to allow herself to be happy? Also, Jack is Roxy’s baby’s father and that’s always going to be a problem.”