Will the distraught dad believe Kheerat’s theory that Gray was to blame?
EastEnders star Roger Griffiths, who plays Mitch Taylor, has spoken about the shock storyline that sees Chantelle Atkins murdered at the hands of abusive husband Gray, and revealed that the grieving dad will not rest until he has got to the bottom of his daughter’s death.
In Friday night’s episode of the soap, Chantelle (Jessica Plummer) returns to Walford with Gray (Toby-Alexander Smith) and their children from a break in Southend with the Taylor clan. She had initially hoped the trip would be an opportunity to escape from her violent partner, but Gray got wind of her plan and of her blossoming romance with Kheerat Panesar, who was helping her to flee.
Inside number one, Chantelle finds the courage to tell Gray she is leaving him. But her efforts to carve out a new future end in tragedy.
Next week, Mitch and Karen return from the coast to learn that Chantelle is dead, and a devastated Mitch is desperate to know why his young and healthy daughter suddenly passed away.
Says Griffiths: “The worst thing for Mitch is losing his child, but then there’s the layers of how and why he lost her. And when that becomes hazy, there’s an inner rage and an unrest.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s years after, he is still going to be in that no-man’s land where he is wondering what happened. And he won’t rest; his spirit won’t rest until something makes sense. Because no-ones coming forward with any sense. It’s just nonsense.”
When Mitch later realises there is ill feeling between Gray and Kheerat, he questions Kheerat, who reveals Chantelle was planning to leave her husband, and that it’s his belief Gray may have killed her.
Adds Griffiths: “Mitch wants to know, ‘Who is this man?’ He’s telling Mitch that his daughter was unfaithful to her husband? That’s the first shock. And then he thinks, ‘Why is he telling me this? Is he trying to protect himself?’
“It’s big news. Kheerat’s saying that Gray killed Chantelle. And Mitch doesn’t like Gray. So when he hears that, he has to be very careful and manage his emotions because he’s made mistakes before. He has accused Gray of certain things, and Gray has covered it up so Mitch has ended up looking completely out of order.
“But this is a big one, and he doesn’t want that to happen again. He wants to make sure that if he’s going to present anything, it’s going to be right.”
Mitch runs Kheerat’s theory by Karen – but the Taylor matriarch has always been Gray’s biggest fan. Will she tell her ex that he’s barking up the wrong tree? And if so, will Gray get away with murder?
EastEnders continues on BBC1