EastEnders’ resident hardman Phil Mitchell looks set to make an honest woman of his latest flame, legal eagle Stella Crawford.

Stella, played by Sophie Thompson, has planted the seed of matrimonial bliss in the head of Phil’s son Ben and is delighted when her evil scheme bears fruit.

The tough businessman, played by Steve McFadden, pops the question next month.

A source told The Sun: “Stella is desperate to get Phil down the aisle and resorts to sneaky tactics by using Ben. It’s pretty sinister stuff – she’s lining herself up to be a wicked stepmother for the poor boy.”

The lawyer blackmails Phil into proposing by telling him Ben needs a mum.

But, as viewers have seen, Stella is anything but a model mother.

She left Ben to wander alone in the London Dungeon, watching as he became increasingly frightened, and has even burned the back of his hand with a hot spoon.

Stella may be winning at the moment – but woe betide Stella when Phil finds out what she’s been up to…