Entertainment & Arts

EastEnders previews Christmas twist

Pam St Clement as Pat Evans
Image caption The BBC has released this image of Pat from the Christmas Day episode

EastEnders is hoping for bumper ratings over the festive period when Albert Square stalwart Pam St Clement leaves the show after 25 years.

St Clement has played Pat Evans - formerly Butcher - since 1986, a year after the BBC One soap launched.

While her decision to leave the soap was revealed in July, the manner of her departure has been kept a closely guarded secret.

Three different endings have been shot to keep viewers guessing.

Spoiler alert: Possible plot details revealed below

"I have enjoyed 25-and-a-half wonderful years in EastEnders creating the character of Pat but feel it's time to hang up her earrings," St Clement said earlier this year.

"Leaving the EastEnders family will be akin to a bereavement. But I'm looking forward to the other work and life opportunities that I will have the time to pursue."

Pat's departure is likely to be a finite one. Among the rumoured causes of death are a heart attack, a house fire and terminal cancer.

Television reviews suggest there will also be a serious confrontation with Walford bad boy Derek Branning (Jamie Foreman).

The return of Pat's son David - played by Holby City's Michael French - may also be a factor.

EastEnders will face strong competition from hit ITV1 drama Downton Abbey, which airs its Christmas special on Sunday at the same time.

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