EastEnders’ fans have been left fuming after last night’s episode saw beloved characters, Mick and Linda Carter, split after Mick, played by Danny Dyer, admitted that he was in love with their former daughter-in-law, Whitney Dean.
The special three-hander episode, which also starred Kellie Bright as Linda and Shona McGarty as Whitney, has been met with a wave of criticism from viewers – although the acting quality was widely praised.
After spending eight months away from her family home, Linda was left devastated when Mick – who she has been with for 26 years – admitted that he had kissed Whitney, and that he was in love with her.
The huge showdown came to an end as Linda kicked her husband out of the Queen Vic, telling him that she could no longer be with him after he “broke her heart in two”.
The characters were introduced in 2013 by EastEnders’ former executive producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, with Dominic saying at the time: “It is very important to us that Mick and Linda would never cheat on each other.”
And the actors agreed that Mick and Linda should remain the show’s strongest couple, with Danny saying in 2015: “From the off, Kellie and I agreed that we can’t be doing the ‘affair’ thing.
“We want to be the first on-screen couple that doesn’t mess about. We want to show that there is true love out there and that you can find your soul mate – even in a soap.”
Which is why fans have been left so upset by the sudden change of heart, with many pointing the blame at controversial outgoing executive producer Sean O’Connor:
Sean O'Connor's final nail, splitting up Mick and Linda. Thank God he's gone. #EastEnders
— Gavin Hayes (@RebelliousGav) August 8, 2017
3 Hander?? Sean O'Connor deserves a back hander for his handling of Mick and Linda. #EastEnders
— Sean Clarke (@SeanCla2012) August 8, 2017
He's not the man you left at Christmas Linda because Sean O'Connor ruined his character! #Eastenders
— Gossip Enders (@GossipEnders) August 8, 2017
Is this Sean O'Connor's final swansong, destroying the Carter's? #eastenders
— Martin P-Complainer (@MPComplainer) August 8, 2017
Sean spent just one year as the BBC One soap’s exec, with many of his storylines being slammed by fans of the show and ratings also dwindling.
In June it was announced that he would be leaving EastEnders “with immediate effect”, although all claims that this is due to a frosty relationship between Sean and the rest of the cast and crew have been denied.
EastEnders’ former boss, John Yorke, is Sean’s temporary replacement.