Entertainment & Arts

EastEnders reveals Lucy Beale's killer

Spoiler warning: Do not read if you have not watched Thursday's episodes.

Hetti Bywater as Lucy Beale in EastEnders
Image caption Hetti Bywater played Lucy Beale in the soap from 2012 until the character's demise last year

More than 10 million people tuned in to watch EastEnders' latest murder mystery storyline reach its climax, with viewers finally learning who killed Lucy Beale.

After a long-running storyline and fevered guessing, Lucy's young brother Bobby was revealed as the killer.

The 11-year-old was found by his stepmother, Jane Beale, clutching what appeared to be the weapon used.

The first episode of the two-parter reached a peak of 11.9 million viewers.

Image caption Bobby Beale was seen clutching a music box, suggesting it was the murder weapon

The second episode at 21:30 GMT, which featured the murderer being unmasked, saw a peak of 11.2 million.

'She started it'

The first of two episodes on the show's 30th anniversary, in which it was suggested Jane Beale might have been the killer, had an average audience of 10.8 million.

But in a flashback episode that followed, which returned to the night 20-year-old Lucy was killed, it revealed Jane had only discovered her stepdaughter's body and that Bobby was the actual killer. An average 10.3 million stayed with soap for the revelation.

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Media captionNewsnight's take on EastEnders at 30 (which reveals Lucy's killer)

Standing in the front room of their house and clutching what appeared to be the weapon used in the killing, Bobby told Jane: "Whatever she says, she started it.

"She made everyone unhappy."

All episodes this week have had live segments, and the residents of Walford will be seen dealing with the news in a fully live episode on Friday.

The storyline has been in progress since the body of Lucy, played by Hetti Bywater, was found on Walford Common last April.

'Hello Phil'

One of the biggest talking points of the night however, was the return of Ian's mum Kathy Beale, who had been thought to be dead for more than a decade after a car crash in South Africa.

Actress Gillian Taylforth, who last appeared in the soap in 2000, was seen surprising her ex Phil Mitchell with the words: "Hello Phil."

Many EastEnders fans expressed their shock and confusion at the extreme plot twist on Twitter.

Former X Factor winner Sam Bailey tweeted: "WHAT??? Cathy Beale???????"

The Sun's Dan Wootton tweeted: "KNEW IT! She's back!"

Image caption Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale in EastEnders in the 1980s and now

Fan Jess Euston added: "Well the biggest shock in Eastenders was Cathy Beale being alive from the dead & returning! HI CATHY."

And Gemma Shannon said: "Did anyone else have the need to Google #KathyBeale just to be sure she is meant to be dead right?"

Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins promised her return marked the start of "one of the most earth-shattering storylines the soap has ever seen".

"Kathy is part of EastEnders history, mother to Ian and Ben and one of the most important and iconic television characters on British television," he said.

"Six months ago, we set ourselves the challenge of bringing Kathy back to the Square in a credible way. And I believe we have succeeded."

Image copyright Twitter

Kathy appeared in the very first episode of EastEnders on 19 February 1985 as one of the original cast members.

Her return was shot live on location to prevent her being seen by too many people before the episode aired.

Taylforth, who has appeared in The Bill, Hollyoaks and Footballers Wives since leaving the soap, said: "When Dominic approached me with his plan, I was so shocked I got into my car and burst into tears!

"Kathy has always been so close to my heart and it's absolutely wonderful to be returning to the show and reprising the role."

Image caption Twins Lucy and Peter Beale were born to Ian and Cindy Beale in 1993
Image caption Casey Anne Rothery played the character from 1996 until 2004
Image caption Melissa Suffield (left) played Lucy from 2004 until 2010

Lucy Beale has featured in EastEnders since her birth in 1993 and has been played by several different actresses over the years.

The soap previously went live for its 25th anniversary to reveal the killer of Archie Mitchell, played by Larry Lamb.

After Archie was murdered on Christmas Day 2009, Stacey Branning was discovered to be the culprit during a live episode in February 2010.

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