So, what happened with Ollie?
“Lee [Danny-Boy Hatchard] and Nancy [Maddy Hill] had a fight and Ollie was knocked over in his high chair and bumped his head. By the time Mick and Linda got there, there was no sign of anything serious.”
But a few days later, Linda finds Ollie not breathing in his cot…
“Yes. There’s no room to panic or cry or shout and scream. She suddenly switches from being quite paralysed by the situation to being quite assertive. It’s the natural parent instinct. She does what has to be done to make her child survive.”
And at the hospital?
“Mick [Danny Dyer] and Linda are terrified. Ollie stops breathing, then starts having a seizure. They’re very confused. Their initial thought is it could be epilepsy. Nancy has epilepsy and they’re very familiar with it.”
Do they realise Ollie could have brain damage?
“I don’t think they have any sense of the severity of what’s about to come. They think he wasn’t breathing, but now he is and there’s almost a relief. He’s in safe hands and it’s going to be fine. I don’t think for one second it even crosses their minds that it’s this bad.”
How does Linda react when she finds out?
“It comes in stages. Things start to fall apart for them the moment they realise it could be something to do with the fall. They immediately start questioning why they didn’t bring him in sooner and they feel guilty. But then this next wave of information comes that he could have brain damage, then they learn that he might not get better. They’re devastated. It’s a lot to come to terms with.”
How will Linda cope?
“It feels like it’s a storyline that will keep developing. The initial impact is what it is, but the repercussions could go on for ever and ever.”
So, what’s next for the Carters?
“Something happy I hope! But things like this can be very testing on families. No matter how close you are, when things like this happen, there’s lots of blame that can be thrown around. It’s going to be up and down. There will be really positive days, but the next day could be absolutely completely the opposite. All of that is really difficult and it will test the Carters.”
Watch this story in EastEnders from Monday 14 March on BBC1