Steve McFadden tells Soaplife that Carl leaves Phil not only fighting for his life, but also for his position as top dog in EastEnders

With Shirley blackmailing him, Phil is desperate for money… so desperate he goes into partnership with Carl, a man he barely knows. Not realising how crazy Carl is, Phil gets in a car with him and is almost killed when Carl deliberately crashes it…

What makes Phil accept Carl’s dodgy business proposition?

“He’s not keen at first, but he needs money. Also it’s a bit of crime therapy for Phil. He feels better about who he is when he has done some crime.”

But he’s a mug for getting in the car with Carl, isn’t he?

“He doesn’t realise how dangerous it is… Phil ends up on the car bonnet covered in blood.”

How badly injured is Phil?

“It’s touch and go. He’s going to be in hospital for a while. It was great because I shot all my scenes in half a day whilst lying in a hospital bed and I’ve had three weeks off to go out in my boat.”

But you didn’t miss Barbara Windsor’s return as Peggy…

“No. It was fantastic, historic. It was like a special event, not like a normal day. Peggy turns up while Phil’s in hospital and that has echoes of the past because he was in hospital when she first showed up.”

How will the crash affect Phil?

“It will weaken him and make him feel vulnerable. He’s getting older now. How many times can you nearly die? He’ll soldier on, but he’ll have to dig deep.”