Belfast Telegraph

Eastenders: It was Stacey wot done it

By Lesley-Anne Henry

EastEnders’ big secret is finally out. Troubled Stacey Slater, played by the actress Lacey Turner, was revealed as Archie Mitchell’s murderer last night.

The first ever live episode — to mark the soap’s 25th anniversary — brought to an end the two month ‘whodunnit’ guessing game which began when Archie (Larry Lamb) was bludgeoned to death in the Queen Vic on Christmas Day.

Scriptwriters had penned 10 possible endings to the episode, with each of the different suspects rehearsing their scene unaware which would make the show.

Other suspects included Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor), Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks), Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements) but it was Lacey Turner — who was crowned Best Actress at the 2009 Soap Awards — who was told of her character’s guilt 30 minutes before the show went live.

The famous ‘dum dum dums’ sounded when Stacey made her tearful confession to former lover and new father-in-law Max Branning, after watching her new husband Bradley jump from the roof of the Queen Vic while trying to run from the police.

“I did it. I killed Archie. It was me,” she said.

Earlier yesterday bookmakers’ William Hill had predicted a total of £1 million would be wagered on the outcome.

In the latest odds Sean Slater (Stacey’s brother), played by Rob Kazinsky, was favourite at 4/7, even though the character has not been seen in the show since January 2009.

Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott) was second favourite at 11/2, while Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) were joint third favourites with odds of 9/11.

The idea of going live is nothing new for soaps — in December 2000 Coronation Street aired an hour-long live episode featuring Prince Charles to mark its 40th anniversary.

Last night’s show featured 51 members of the EastEnders’ cast, who had taken part in one read-through, two full dress rehearsals, three days of rehearsals and a technical rehearsal in the run-up to the big day.

Three golf buggies were on hand to transport cast between sets, and there were 36 camera operators, rather than the usual four, capturing more than 400 shots in the episode.

A total of 13 make-up artists, 12 wardrobe staff and 16 props people worked on the live show, and 4.6 miles (7.5km) of cable were used in bringing it to television screens.

There was a slight time delay before the episode appeared on screen but a soap spokeswoman said it was to allow a tape to be put in if something went wrong.

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