EastEnders bosses have revealed that a new twist will take place in the Lucy Beale murder case. Fans of the soap discovered earlier this week that Lucy's half-brother Bobby Beale had accidentally killed her, but now producers are saying that the 11-year-old will be getting away with the crime.
At the end of the show's live week, which was held to mark EastEnders' 30th anniversary, viewers saw Ian and Jane Beale protect the youngster by telling him Lucy had survived their fight but was later killed by someone else.
The family's secret will now lead to an innocent man or woman being arrested for Lucy's murder.
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Lucy Beale's younger brother Bobby was unmasked as the killer
"It is gut-wrenching how Jane is carrying the guilt of covering up what one of her children has done," producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins told The Mirror. "Jane is the one who has this terrible secret. Bobby doesn't know the truth.
"Viewers have seen Ian and Jane decide to keep it a secret, but this story will keep going on. What I can reveal is that someone else – an innocent person – will be arrested for this murder."
More than 10 million viewers tuned in to EastEnders' murder-revealing episode
He added: "Then carrying this guilty secret comes back to haunt Ian and Jane. How can you keep that a secret when someone else is facing jail for a murder they didn't commit?
"As a parent, what do you do? Do you go to the police and tell them that person is not the killer because your own son did it? How far will they go to protect their child?"
Dominic, who was inspired by the Agatha Christie murder mystery novels, also admitted that originally there were two suspects in mind. He described the twist as "the beginning of the next story for the Beales".
Ian and Jane Beale decided to protect their son Bobby, leaving an innocent person to be arrested in an upcoming episode
Soap fans who tuned in to Thursday's episode saw the Lucy Beale whodunit storyline finally unfold in a two-part episode. The first segment reached a peak of 11.9 million viewers, while the second – which revealed young Bobby as the killer – pulled in 11.2 million people.
Adding to the surprises, character Kathy Beale, played by Gillian Taylforth, also made a shock return to screens. Ian's mum was last seen on the show in 2000, before being thought to be dead following a car crash in South Africa.