EastEnders' Christmas episode is a rollercoaster ride with worthy twists

Spoilers for Friday's episode ahead, plus a spoiler-free look at the biggest episode of the year.

EastEnders 25-12-2023,6825,Jack Branning (SCOTT MASLEN);Stacey Slater (LACEY TURNER);Nish Panesar (NAVIN CHOWDHRY);Suki Kaur Panesar (BALVINDER SOPAL);Dean Wicks (MATT DI ANGELO);Linda Carter (KELLIE BRIGHT);Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN);Sharon Watts (LETITIA DEAN);Keanu Taylor (DANNY WALTERS);Denise Fox (DIANE PARISH);Ravi Gulari (AARON THIARA);Kathy Beale (GILLIAN TAYLFORTH);Rocky (BRIAN CONLEY),****EMBARGOED TILL THURSDAY 7TH DECEMBER 2023****,BBC PUBLIC SERVICE,Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarro
EastEnders' Christmas special is just days away. (BBC)

Spoilers follow for Friday 22 December’s instalment of EastEnders, which has not yet aired on television.

Ever since EastEnders aired its tense flash-forward sequence, we've been waiting impatiently for Christmas — and now the big moment is just days away.

One Walford man is about to be murdered at The Queen Vic, with seven characters in the running to lose their life.

Your first preview of the festive special awaits below. But first, let’s delve into the events of this week and where we left ‘The Six’.

EastEnders,20-12-2023,6822,Nish Panesar (NAVIN CHOWDHRY);Suki Kaur Panesar (BALVINDER SOPAL),****EMBARGOED TILL THURSDAY 7TH DECEMBER 2023****,BBC PUBLIC SERVICE,Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Nish was arrested for murder - but Eve returned alive. (BBC)

Eve Unwin (Heather Peace) returned just as soulmate Suki Panesar (Balvinder Sopal) was in despair, but a bitter Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) intervened in the couple's escape plans.

Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) was left more traumatised than ever, while Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) struggled with her own troubles ahead of her Christmas wedding.

After Suki was attacked by abusive husband Nish (Navin Chowdhry), he and his son, Ravi Gulati (Aaron Thiara), were arrested on suspicion of Eve’s murder. But Eve had planted evidence in Ravi’s car, before returning to be by Suki's side.

EastEnders,21-12-2023,Linda Carter (KELLIE BRIGHT);Dean Wicks (MATT DI ANGELO),****EMBARGOED TILL THURSDAY 7TH DECEMBER 2023****,BBC PUBLIC SERVICE,Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Linda had another run-in with Dean. (BBC)

Suki and Eve told Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) they were leaving Walford, but were interrupted by Jack, who had just been dumped by Denise Fox (Diane Parish) after his fling with Stacey. Jack turned nasty as he blocked Denise from moving out, before calling the police to inform them that Eve is alive.

Meanwhile, Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) sent Linda some messages posing as her beloved Mick (Danny Dyer), who had been declared dead after a presumed drowning.

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Linda confronted Dean, who finally confessed to raping her. But when he tried to stop her leaving, Linda attacked him and looked set to turn back to alcohol.

Elsewhere, Sharon was given a replacement wedding dress from Kathy Cotton (Gillian Taylforth), whose own short-lived marriage has been broken by lies from gambling arsonist Rocky (Brian Conley).

As Sharon prepared to marry Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters), she was wracked with guilt for hiding the fact that ex-husband Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) is the biological father of her son Albie. But Keanu is keeping his own secret - he was behind Albie's kidnapping.

Suki, Stacey, Denise, Sharon, Linda and Kathy will soon be bound together through a shocking chain of events on Christmas Day. But what can we expect from the highly-anticipated scenes?

What’s next on EastEnders?

EastEnders,25-12-2023,6825,Dean Wicks (MATT DI ANGELO);Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN);Keanu Taylor (DANNY WALTERS);Nish Panesar (NAVIN CHOWDHRY);Jack Branning (SCOTT MASLEN);Rocky (BRIAN CONLEY);Ravi Gulari (AARON THIARA),****EMBARGOED TILL THURSDAY 7TH DECEMBER 2023****,BBC PUBLIC SERVICE,Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Dean Wicks, Phil Mitchell, Keanu Taylor, Nish Panesar, Jack Branning, Rocky Cotton and Ravi Gulati are the seven potential victims on Christmas Day in EastEnders. (BBC)

Official spoilers tease that Phil will interrupt Sharon and Keanu's wedding ceremony, while Suki is stopped in her tracks by a mystery visitor. Later, Phil heads to The Vic — but what happens next?

Well, the BBC is keeping the identities of the EastEnders killer and murder victim a closely guarded secret until the episode has aired; so we're as in the dark as you are.

Yahoo has been able to watch an edited version of Christmas Day's episode, and while we can’t give you any specific details, we can promise a series of tense twists that have nothing to do with murder.

EastEnders,25-12-2023,6825,Sharon Watts (LETITIA DEAN);Keanu Taylor (DANNY WALTERS),****EMBARGOED TILL SUNDAY 10TH DECEMBER 2023****,BBC PUBLIC SERVICE,Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Sharon and Keanu's wedding is interrupted. (BBC)

Watch out for particularly powerful portrayals from stars Dean, Sopal and Parish, with plenty of room left for everyone else to shine in the top secret final 15 minutes. EastEnders has been building up to this episode for months, and it does not disappoint on impact.

When executive producer Chris Clenshaw declared that the episode "will keep [the audience] guessing ‘whodunnit’ and ‘who-is-it’ right up until the very end", he truly meant it.

Expect moments of triumph, one-liners you can't help but read into, and gasp-worthy scenes. There's also some much-needed warmth as Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) enjoys her first Christmas in years with son Peter (Thomas Law) and daughters Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna Knight (Molly Rainford).

The Mitchells receive a special surprise from late loved one Lola Pearce-Brown as Danielle Harold reprises her beloved role once more, while another character channels every EastEnders fan with their reaction to the chaos of the day.

We've said this before, but this really is unmissable Christmas television that will have you on the edge of your seat, transfixed over what will become of 'The Six'.

EastEnders airs its hour-long special on Christmas Day at 9.45pm on BBC One.

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Watch the EastEnders Christmas spoilers