Enders’ explosive summer: ‘Kathy with Gavin, a villain like no other’… And he’s Sharon’s dad?

We’ve already had hints of the dramas that are heating up in EastEnders this summer… bad Vincent Hubbard (Richard Blackwood), pregnant Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakrar), Ben Mitchell’s lust for Paul Coker (Jonny Labey). They’re all parts of stories that have been simmering for a few weeks.

Plus, we know Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson), Max Branning (Jake Wood) and Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) are leaving… but not together!

Now EastEnders’ boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins has teased what lies ahead in Albert Square in the coming months: “We haven’t haven’t shut up shop for summer,” he says. “We’re going to propel through it… building everything towards a very, very explosive September!”

Dominic revealed that the Lucy Beale murder storyline was set to make a comeback in a big way. “We rested the story to give everyone a breather, but that kicks up quite massively over the summer, with a big arrest that’s going to take us up to September. And a few old faces return!”

Is Peter Beale (Ben Hardy) coming back? With Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa)…and their baby?

Cindy Williams (Mimi Keene) has been threatening to reveal that Bobby killed Lucy and we know there’s a shock arrest in the murder case coming up… But we don’t think it’s Bobby who gets nicked. We’re thinking maybe Max will be making his dramatic exit from Walford in the back of a police car.

“There’s also a big summer of gay romance with Ben and Paul,” Dominic continues. “We have a lot of fun with that, but it’s also got seriousness to it. It’s quite a real love story. We will dig into Ben and what makes Ben tick, because Ben has been quite messed up by the death of his mother, Kathy.”

Ah, yes… that’s Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) who’s not really dead.

“We’re gearing up towards the big return of Kathy – and her ex, Gavin, played by Paul Nicholas,” Dominic confirmed. “Paul has already started filming. I’ve been speaking to him and if everything works out the way I hope it will, Gavin is going to be an EastEnders villain like no other. He’s going to be modern and complex – and have a foot in the past and a foot in the present.”

Is that foot in the past the step towards revealing that Gavin is the long-lost father of Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean)?

Other highlights will include a big story with Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) and Lola, which leads into Lola’s departure and some very big developments in the Shabnam/Kush (Davood Ghadami)/Martin (James Bye)/Stacey (Lacey Turner) love square.

The Fox-Hubbards and The Cokers also play an important part in this summer’s storylines, says Dominic: “We learn a lot more about Vincent and Kim’s relationship – and Claudette [Ellen Thomas]. She sits there being all lovely and smiley, but she’s so not! There will be a lot more about her relationship with Kim [Tameka Empson] and Kim’s relationship with Vincent. It keeps getting bigger and bigger; there are some surprises in that story that tie in with Claudette, Les [Roger Sloman] and Pam [Lin Blakley].”

As for Nancy and Tamwar: “Their relationship is going to up the game quite massively. There are more twists and turns in that,” adds Dominic. “Also Lee Carter [Danny-Boy Hatchard] and Whitney Dean [Shona McGarty], which is going to take quite a serious turn.”

Another major departure will be Carol’s. “It’s not for a while but we’re building to that, too, with the return of Robbie Jackson [Dean Gaffney],” Dominic says.

Will Robbie be returning to help Carol embark on a new life away from Walford – or to say a final goodbye to her?

EastEnders continues on BBC1, Monday, 29 June, 8.00pm.

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