EastEnders boss Kate Oates has revealed why the soap killed off Dennis Mitchell in a press screening where the pivotal episode was aired. In a shock twist, the character drowned after the boat he was on flooded with water. He was with Ian Beale at the time, who had locked him in a room to confront the young man about having his son Bobby attacked. The teenager and Ian both struggled to escape when the vessel became waterlogged, but Ian was rushed to the hospital and saved while Dennis, played by Bleu Landau, lost his life.
WATCH: Last Tango in Halifax: series 5 trailer
BBC Head of Continuing Drama Kate defended the death, saying: "When we discussed this – and it’s true of any soap or drama – you want consequence. That is the main thing that comes out of the death we are seeing. It is where it goes, it’s the people who are left behind and the story that it generates. It is very well thought out. There is something almost Greek about this particular person as it could be argued that it’s been set up for quite some time." The executive also revealed that not everyone was on board with how the storyline played out.
MORE: Dancing on Ice star Joe Swash talks candidly about his bankruptcy
Dennis' mum Sharon Mitchell will struggle to cope with her son's death
She said: "We discussed it in-depth and actually had a lot of arguments about it. The conference room is a vibrant place. We discussed lots of different options, but we knew in our hearts that this was the story that would really power us through months and months and months of future stories which we are really excited about."
READ: EastEnders star June Brown, 93, reveals why she's quitting the soap after 35 years
On Friday night, Ian told his mum Kathy that he had tried to save Dennis, but the clearly guilt-ridden dad-of-five cried at the realisation of what he had done. It remains to be seen how Ian will react to Dennis' death in the coming weeks and months, and whether anyone will piece together what really happened. One thing's for sure: viewers should expect the unexpected!
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.