The death of Denny Rickman is going to “power” the EastEnders story for “months and months”, according to the boss of the soap.
The character is revealed to have died at the conclusion of a dramatic series of episodes which celebrate the soap’s 35th anniversary.
Speaking at a screening of the episode, Kate Oates said: “We knew this was the story that would really power us through months and months of future stories, which we are really excited about.”
She added: “There will be serious consequences to this story.”
During the episode viewers see a distraught Sharon hear the news of Denny’s death shortly after she gives birth.
The programme’s executive producer Jon Sen said that the writers went to great lengths to ensure that the identity of the character being killed off remained a secret.
Denny’s name was changed to Todd in the scripts in case anyone left a copy of it lying around to be discovered by a member of the public.
He said: “The scripts are just ‘Todd this, Todd that’.
“We do try and protect these storylines, but of course we often have leaks.”
He added that Harry Hickles, who plays the character, took the news that he was being killed off “professionally”.
Sen added that Hickles was “incredibly excited to be at the heart of such a big week”.
“In the end, whenever you are talking to an actor about future stories and a story like this, they want to know how big it is going to be and what is the story.
“He was very excited to go out with something as adrenaline-fuelled and moving as this.”
Sen added that there was only “one candidate” for who should be killed off in the episode because of the far-reaching consequences it will have.
EastEnders premiered on BBC1 on February 19 in 1985.