EastEnders: Phil Mitchell’s biggest feuds

The gangster has a colourful history

EastEnders' Phil Mitchell has a long list of rivals.
EastEnders' Phil Mitchell has a long list of rivals. (BBC)

If there’s one soap character who could start a fight in an empty room, it’s EastEnders’ resident hardman, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). Since 1990. Phil’s hobby has been squaring up to any local who dares to challenge him.

This week, battle lines are drawn between Phil and Nish Panesar (Navin Chowdhry) over a business deal. Soon, Nish enlists his son Vinny (Shiv Jalota) to help him get revenge on the Mitchells.

Not only is Nish far from the first to start a feud with Phil, he’s the latest in a long line. So let’s take a look at Phil's most memorable opponents.

Grant Mitchell

Steve McFadden and Ross Kemp in the Bar of the Pub the Queen Victoria on the set of The BBC Soap Eastenders
Steve McFadden and Ross Kemp in the Bar of the Pub the Queen Victoria on the set of EastEnders. (BBC)

The first notable feud for Phil was with younger brother Grant (Ross Kemp). The pair were initially Walford’s answer to the Krays, until Phil had an affair with Grant’s wife Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean).

Their betrayal was uncovered when Grant heard a recording of Sharon confessing to best mate Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully). He attacked Phil, putting him in hospital with severe injuries. Phil and Grant went on to have further showdowns; but they always came together during a family crisis.

Steve Owen

Steve (Martin Kemp) discovered that Phil had a fling with his wife, Mel (Tamzin Outhwaite). So Steve helped Phil’s abused ex, Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin), flee the country with their baby daughter, Louise.

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This plan went horribly wrong when Steve and Phil ended up in a car chase, and Steve crashed with Louise in the backseat. After rescuing her, Phil hesitated when deciding whether to save Steve, who ultimately perished when the car caught fire.

Johnny Allen

Phil and Grant teamed up to threaten Johnny Allen (Billy Murray) after he organised the mugging of their mum Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor). Later, Phil planned revenge when Johnny targeted Sharon, causing Johnny to have Sharon’s husband Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman) murdered.

Phil and Grant searched for Johnny to make him pay; but after finding themselves on the backfoot, Johnny’s daughter Ruby (Louisa Lytton) persuaded him to surrender, and he suffered a fatal heart attack in prison.

Ian Beale

Ian Beale (ADAM WOODYATT), Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)
Ian Beale was bullied mercilessly by Phil - but there were moments of calm. (BBC)

Phil’s poor treatment of wife Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) led to resentment from her son Ian (Adam Woodyatt), who was then bullied by Phil. Ian memorably discovered injured Phil moments after he was shot (the first time), but left him for dead.

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Yet when Ian’s daughter Lucy (Hetti Bywater) was killed, Phil offered genuine support. Still, this didn’t stop Phil trying to kill Ian over the death of Denny Rickman (Bleu Landau) years later. Ian may be Phil’s longest standing enemy, but Phil has always had bigger fish to fry.

Jack Branning

EastEnders,19-10-2022,6576,Jack Branning (SCOTT MASLEN),***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 11TH OCTOBER 2022***, BBC, Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Phil has repeatedly waged war on Jack Branning. (BBC)

This rivalry has been back and forth several times. Jack first riled Phil by taping the latter’s confession of his role in Kevin Wicks’ (Phil Daniels) death. Jack blackmailed Phil, demanding he sign over the car lot. Despite this, Jack fell for Phil’s cousin Ronnie (Samantha Womack).

Later, Phil taunted Jack over Sharon, leading Jack to attack Phil, mistakenly believing he had killed him. Sharon became a catalyst yet again years later, when her then-husband Phil held Jack captive as he wrongly suspected they were sleeping together.

Callum Highway

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 01/06/2021 - Programme Name: EastEnders - April-June 2021 - TX: 07/06/2021 - Episode: EastEnders - April-June 2021- 6285 (No. 6285) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 1ST JUNE 2021*** Callum Highway (TONY CLAY), Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes
Phil's son-in-law Callum Highway risked his wrath. (BBC)

When Phil’s son Ben (Max Bowden) fell in love with Callum (Tony Clay), Phil welcomed him into the family. But rookie police officer Callum was manipulated into gathering evidence on Phil in order to save his beloved Ben from prison.

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Ben forgave his beau; but raging Phil was hellbent on revenge as he seemingly pocketed his gun. He was about to point it at Callum, who stood his ground as Ben rushed to the rescue. But Callum was spared when a hit and run interrupted their confrontation.

Keanu Taylor

There was a big change for <em>EastEnders</em> in 2019 as soap boss Kate Oates, who previously worked on <em>Emmerdale</em> and <em>Coronation Street</em>, got onboard as executive producer in a year which saw the sixth incarnation of Ben Mitchell rock up to Albert Square. His relationship with Stuart Highway kept viewers gripped alongside the other Mitchell drama of Sharon's shock pregnancy by toyboy lover Keanu Taylor. With Phil still in the dark, it's bound to be an explosive Christmas. (BBC)
Keanu Taylor did the unthinkable by fathering a child with Phil's wife Sharon. (BBC)

Keanu (Danny Walters) proved his worth in the family business, and seemed committed to Phil’s daughter Louise (Tilly Keeper). But Keanu had an affair with Phil’s wife Sharon, leaving both women pregnant.

In true Mitchell style, Phil orchestrated Keanu’s murder - but it backfired. One violent clash and boat crash later, Keanu ran away; until he reappeared as Phil’s unlikely accomplice to take down DCI Keeble (Alison Newman). Phil then begrudgingly agreed to end his vendetta so long as Keanu steered clear of him.

DCI Keeble

EastEnders,03-10-2022,6566,DCI Samantha Keeble (Alison Newman);Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN),***EMBARGOED TILL 27TH SEPTEMBER 2022, BBC, Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
DCI Keeble was defeated by Phil. (BBC)

Keeble was determined to make Phil pay for the murder of her father - although as seen via flashback, the culprit was actually Phil’s late father Eric (George Russo). Phil and his cousin Billy (Perry Fenwick) were both present on the night in question, so Keeble ordered Phil to stitch up Billy or she’d jail him for good.

Keeble lost control and kidnapped Phil’s fiancée Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) and her son Tommy (Sonny Kendall). But when Kat accidentally shot the detective in self-defence, Keeble gave up her plotting and retired.

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