The answer to which Walford resident would not survive Christmas was answered in grisly fashion as a tragic case of mistaken identity led to a Boxing Day murder in EastEnders.
On Christmas Day, viewers were left wondering who the innocent man was that Ronnie (Samantha Womack) had sealed inside a vehicle headed for the car crusher instead of her ex-lover Vincent (Richard Blackwood), as their feud reached fever pitch.
Ronnie thought she had got rid of Vincent (Jack Barnes/BBC)
In the following episode, Vincent confronted a panicked Ronnie at The Arches, where the sickening truth was dawning on her: the wrong person was taken by her hired heaves. Ronnie had said to take the driver of Vincent’s car, thinking it would be him, as she had sent him to buy more ice for The Albert.
In a tense moment – and with Ronnie, Roxy (Rita Simons) and Jack (Scott Maslen) in hot pursuit – Vincent arrived just in time to stop the car being crushed, but opened the boot to find Arthur “Fatboy” Chubb (Ricky Norwood) dead inside.
Arthur “Fatboy” Chubbs met his sticky end in the boot of Vincent’s car (Jack Barnes/BBC)
As the plot thickened, Vincent told his mother, Claudette (Ellen Thomas) that they were responsible for Fatboy’s death because of the “stupid war we’re waging with the Mitchells”.
He then defied his mother’s order to tell Ronnie that Fatboy was dead, in a bid to end the hurt the families were causing each other.
Instead, Vincent told Ronnie, Roxy and Jack, who had not seen the body in the car: “They scammed you, you crushed an empty car… Your goons planned to take your money and run.”
Fatboy had got caught up in the feud between the Mitchells and Vincent (Kieron McCarron/BBC)
In a heart-breaking scene, Vincent then went to see Dot Branning (June Brown) to tell her that her friend Fatboy would not be coming back.
“He’s got a New Year’s gig, some ski resort in Austria,” Vincent lied. “If it goes well, he might be staying, he said.”
The other life hanging in the balance in the Boxing Day episode was Sharon’s son Denny Rickman, who had a brain bleed as a result of drunk Phil’s car crash.
But it remains to be seen whether the body count from the events of Christmas Day will rise further as the episode ended with Sharon (Letitia Dean) and Phil (Steve McFadden) waiting to see if Denny would survive surgery.
Ian is arrested (Jack Barnes/BBC)
But things went pear-shaped quickly… Ian had agreed to take the blame for Phil’s crash in exchange for Phil and Sharon keeping quiet about Bobby’s guilt. But then the police arrived to arrest Ian on suspicion of dangerous driving.
EastEnders continues on BBC1, Monday, December 28, at 8.00pm.