The five most memorable EastEnders Christmas episodes

The BBC soap regularly serves up an explosive festive offering.

Press Association
Last updated: 25 December 2019 - 11.20pm

Joy and glad tidings to all are often in short supply at Christmas time in EastEnders, with death, misery and drama more likely to make an appearance.

From Dirty Den’s divorce papers shock to an Albert Square mainstay dying in the snow, the BBC’s flagship soap is seldom a dull watch over the festive period.

Here are five memorable moments from EastEnders’s Christmas episodes:

Dirty Den hands Angie Watts divorce papers (1986)

Leslie Grantham
Leslie Grantham starred as Dirty Den in EastEnders and is responsible for perhaps the soap’s most memorable Christmas moment (Yui Mok/PA)

More than 30 million people, at the time over half of the UK population, tuned in to the 1986 Christmas special to watch Dirty Den present alcoholic wife Angie Watts with divorce papers.

Den, played by the late Leslie Grantham, discovered Angie, played by Anita Dobson, had lied about having a terminal illness.

In one of the most famous scenes in soap history, he handed her the divorce papers and sneered: “Happy Christmas, Ange.”

Max and Stacey’s affair exposed in dramatic fashion (2007)

Jake Wood
Jake Wood’s EastEnders character was involved in a memorable Christmas day episode (Matt Crossick/PA Wire)

The Branning family settled down on Christmas evening in 2007 to watch Stacey and Bradley’s wedding DVD, only to find the groom’s father had been having an affair with the bride.

The incriminating footage was played to the entire family, leaving a furious Bradley, played by Charlie Clements, to confront his on-screen father Max, played by Jake Wood.

The stunning episode remains a fan favourite and in 2017 was voted the most explosive EastEnders Christmas since Den and Angie’s divorce papers.

Who killed Archie Mitchell? (2009)

Larry Lamb
Larry Lamb departed EastEnders after his character was killed during a Christmas special (Ian West/PA)

Larry Lamb departed Albert Square on Christmas day 2009 when his character Archie Mitchell was murdered by a mystery assassin who bashed him over the head with a bust of Queen Victoria.

The identity of the killer was kept tightly under wraps, with only a select few members of the production crew knowing the truth.

Eventually, it was revealed Stacey Slater, played by Lacey Turner, was responsible.

Mick attacks Dean (2014)

Danny Dyer
Danny Dyer stars as Mick Carter in EastEnders (Ian West/PA)

A devastated Mick Carter, played by Danny Dyer, attacked Dean Wicks, played by Matt Di Angelo, after discovering he raped his partner Linda.

Mick throws him through the dinner table before raining down punches while Dean was lying on the floor.

As if the festive fight was not dramatic enough, Shirley then dropped the bombshell that Mick and Dean were brothers.

Pauline Fowler dies (2006)

Wendy Richard
Wendy Richard was an EastEnders mainstay before departing in 2006 (Ian West/PA)

Wendy Richard’s near 22-year EastEnders stint came to an end on Christmas 2006 when her character Pauline Fowler collapsed and died in the snow beneath the Albert Square Christmas tree.

Viewers were initially led to believe a slap from Sonia may have caused the death but the truth later emerged.

Pauline’s husband Joe Macer whacked her with a frying pan in an off-screen argument.

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