Danny Dyer's explosive EastEnders exit as Mick Carter leaves viewers devastated

The pub landlord has said his goodbyes to Albert Square - but did he die?

WATCH: Mick Carter Swims To His DEATH? | EastEnders

Danny Dyer's explosive goodbye to EastEnders aired in suitably dramatic fashion on Christmas Day, leaving fans devastated by his fate.

The actor, who's played Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter since 2013, bowed out of the show and seemingly died in a dramatic climax to a love triangle between him, ex-wife, Linda (played by Kellie Bright) and new wife Janine (Charlie Brooks).

Read more: Danny Dyer says he was a 'car crash' before EastEnders turned his life around

Evil menace Janine had made it her mission to get the unsuspecting Mick ever since returning to Albert Square, and succeeded with Mick begrudgingly marrying her after falling pregnant with his child.

EastEnders,25-12-2022,6614-6615,Linda Carter;(KELLIE BRIGHT);Mick Carter (DANNY DYER);Janine Butcher (CHARLIE BROOKS),***EMBARGOED TILL 17TH DECEMBER 2022****, BBC, Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Danny Dyer (centre) as Mick Carter, alongside Kellie Bright (as Linda) and Charlie Brooks (as Janine) (BBC)

However, as is tradition in Walford, their first Christmas dinner descended into chaos as it was revealed Janine had tricked alcoholic Linda into relapsing, before framing her for crashing her car when driving with her baby.

Linda – who until that point believed she was guilty as she was so drunk in the car she couldn't remember being in the passenger seat – immediately went on the attack and pounced at Janine for tearing her family apart.

Read more: EastEnders star Charlie Brooks hints ruthless Janine could return as exit looms

Mick, finally seeing sense, confessed his love for Linda and admitted he'd 'never really stopped', prompting the fan favourite couple to reunite.

But things took a turn for the worse quickly when Janine fled before the police could arrive. Mick and Linda tracked her down to Dover, and after another blazing row Janine took her car and drove it off a cliff into the English Channel alongside Linda.

A horrified Mick made the decision to jump in after them in a bid to rescue them, and Linda instructed him to save Janine and his unborn baby first.

Linda managed to free herself from the car and escape... but not before Mick had returned to the water to go and get her.

Read more: Danny Dyer heading to Australia to shoot first post-'EastEnders' part

The two women in his life stayed screaming and helpless on the shore as Mick never reemerged, with the presumption being he's drowned.

While there's always the rule in Soapland that no body means no official death, fans are nonetheless devastated at Dyer's official exit.

"That was THE most traumatic episode of Eastenders ever. I adore Danny Dyer. I am taking this personally. Totally," one fan wrote.

A second wrote: "What an amazing [EastEnders] Christmas Day episode. All of the cast were great but my god Danny Dyer, Kellie Bright and Charlie Brooks were truly phenomenal together."

Read more: Danny Dyer reveals he sent himself to rehab to win back wife after hitting rock bottom

"Mr Dyer tonight I cried,my youngest son cried and even my Christmas tree cried,Mick died a hero,thats how he'll be remembered, Danny thank you for 10 years, Mick Carter a character who will live long in the memory and never be forgotten," noted a third.

While a fourth added: "So, this is how it ends. I knew this was Mick's last episode & for months I was trying to figure out how it would all end for him, but OMG. Eastenders never fails to bring the drama on Christmas. I'm really going to miss Danny Dyer. Mick is such an iconic character."