The residents of Albert Square are determined to have a peaceful Christmas this year. But with secrets festering, families fractured and pressure building, will they all get the Christmas they asked Santa for?
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Early on Christmas morning, Phil wakes in his armchair to find Sharon stuffing stockings; he’s surprised when Sharon informs him Michelle’s returned and is spending Christmas with Martin. Phil’s pleased to note Sharon’s wearing her eternity ring. The Mitchells open presents; Dennis gives Phil a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. When Phil jokes he hopes he lives long enough to finish it, Sharon falters, noted by Ben. As he heads off to No. 45, Jay berates him. Ben insists he’ll be back for lunch but needs to get away from Sharon acting likes it’s just another Christmas. Jay wants to help Sharon with dinner but she shoos him away. Alone, jittery Sharon drops a tray of parsnips. Billy and Honey arrive with the kids. Janet shows Louise her doll’s house. As Phil snoozes, Billy chats about Christmases past. Phil’s unresponsive.
Billy hurries into the kitchen; he’s preparing a panicking Sharon for the worst when groggy Phil suddenly wanders in – what time are they eating? Honey chastises Billy for not knowing a dead person from a sleeping one. Sharon’s upset when Ben texts to say he’s eating at No. 45. Lunch is a subdued affair; Louise won’t get off her phone and Roxy’s hung-over. Sharon tries to keep the peace while a seething Jay brands Ben out of order for staying at Ian’s. Sharon escapes into the kitchen as Phil’s phone rings. Jay follows as Sharon frets that she doesn’t want to spoil Christmas but can’t help thinking it’s Phil’s last. Louise shouts from the living room – the hospital is on the phone. Phil looks at Sharon – they’ve got a liver. Sharon and Phil head to the hospital in a taxi, accompanied by Michelle. Jay races round to No.45 to tell Ben. In the taxi, Phil gets a text from Tony who’s also been called in. Phil explains to Sharon he’s just the back up again, to her disappointment.
Meanwhile at No. 45, Kathy offers to take anxious Ben to hospital but he snaps at her. At the hospital, Sharon, Phil and Michelle wait anxiously for the liver to arrive. Shirley’s disgusted Ben’s not with his family and tells him to man up. Ben heeds her words and hurries home. Meanwhile, Michelle seeks out Sharon in the hospital chapel as she prays for Phil – she’s needed. A shell-shocked Phil is being prepped for surgery - Tony wasn’t well enough. Phil admits he’s scared and tells Sharon her loves her as he’s wheeled into surgery. As they wait, Sharon questions Michelle about why she’s back but she avoids the question. Emotional Sharon talks about her past with Phil, and thinks he’s changed - she can’t lose him. She’s touched when Ben arrives with Louise, Dennis and Jay with sandwiches to wait with her.
At the Vic, the Carters face Christmas without Linda and Johnny; Babe attempts to take over Christmas dinner from Whitney but Mick turfs her out of the kitchen. Later, Babe finds a solemn Mick alone in the bedroom. Babe gives Mick Linda’s present - a homemade jumper. It’s hideous, huge and Mick loves it. Over Christmas dinner, Mick commends Whitney for a job well done. Linda’s going to video call from Spain later - Elaine isn’t doing well and can’t speak. Whitney proposes a toast to Elaine. Later, the family are video calling Linda and Johnny when the lights go out - it’s a power cut and the whole Square is in darkness.
Mick despairs - he’d been waiting all day to see Linda. Babe discovers the gas ovens are working downstairs. Lee suggests they could cook Christmas dinners, and points out Linda wouldn’t let a power cut spoil Christmas. Mick orders Lee to run round the Square to tell everyone to bring their food over. The Square’s residents congregate at the Vic and jostle for space in the kitchen. Mick commends Lee for rallying everyone. Whitney proudly shows off her Christmas present from Lee - a diamond necklace. When Mick’s laptop battery dies, Derek strikes up a tune on the piano. Mick eventually gets through to Linda on video call; she opens her present and bursts into tears when she sees the necklace to replace her gran’s one. Downstairs, Shirley pulls a wishbone with Sylvie, who wishes her daughter Shirley would visit.
During dinner, Billy gets a text that Phil’s having the liver transplant. Mick leads a toast to Phil. Derek takes song requests and Kathy calls for ‘Bring me Sunshine’. While everyone sings, the lights suddenly come back on. Two policemen enter, and lead Lee outside, where he’s arrested for conspiracy to commit robbery. Whitney follows, shocked. As Lee gets into the police car, he orders Whitney not to tell Mick.
At No.31, Stacey, Martin and Bex discuss Michelle’s unexpected arrival as they open presents with Lily; Stacey’s convinced something’s happened in America while Bex wonders if she left her husband. Martin insists Michelle will tell them if she wants to. Kat’s sent Lily a scooter for Christmas. Stacey bemoans the loss of their turkey. Bex video calls Sonia at work. When Michelle gets up, Stacey pointedly wonders how long she’s staying. Martin assures Michelle she can stay as long as she wants. When Michelle raises her eyebrows at Stacey’s ‘toad in the festive hole’, Stacey determines to serve a proper dinner and beseeches Denise to open the Minute Mart. She arrives home with BBQ chicken, stunned to find a huge turkey’s been delivered with no note.
Meanwhile, a Christmas pudding is delivered to the Beales, and crackers to the Mitchells, which are immediately bagged by Billy. In No. 31, Michelle slips off to the allotments while the family hacks up the turkey to fit in the oven. She ignores a phone call from Martin and kneels next to Arthur’s old plot – she wishes he was here. Later, Michelle rings Mark but the call is rejected. Billy’s perplexed when all the cracker jokes are the same, with the answer ‘Last Christmas’. Later, Stacey’s heading back to the Vic from No. 31, when a man emerges from the shadows and wishes her a Merry Christmas – did she get the turkey he sent? It’s Max Branning.
Kathy’s appalled when Ian announces they’re doing Christmas differently this year with beef wellington and festive nibbles instead of turkey. Kathy complains about the lack of sausages on sticks to Jane, who quietly reveals they’re Bobby’s favourites - they wanted to see him today but he’s taken them off the visitors list. Lauren’s unimpressed not to have heard from Max. Tipsy Kathy reminisces about Christmases when Ian was a child and treats the family to a rendition of ‘Bring me Sunshine’. Steven finds a Christmas pudding left on the doorstep. Ian baulks as he reads the note ‘Merry Christmas from Lucy’. He bins the pudding, lies it was delivered to the wrong address and rips up the note.
At No.20, Denise is irked when Patrick reveals he’s invited Derek to spend Christmas with them. Stacey sympathises and thinks Denise must be excited for next Christmas with her baby. Kim video calls from Montserrat; Denise is horrified when Kim reveals she’s told their mum about the baby. Once the power’s out, grumpy Denise is reluctant to go to the Vic but Patrick coaxes her out. A tipsy Derek laughs that Patrick’s a bad influence; Denise whispers to Libby that Derek has a crush, and later shares her suspicion with Kush. When she tells Patrick, he laughs, but Denise is insistent. Derek invites Patrick over to his place; Patrick quickly asks if he can bring Dot, hinting that they’re very close.
Dot grumbles when the stray cat knocks over a photo of Ethel and poos on the carpet. As Dot eats Christmas dinner alone, she talks to the cat about past Christmases and names it Ethel. During the power cut, Dot frantically searches for the cat; finding her curled on the couch, Dot sits with her and soothes she’s not a stray anymore. Alerted by the flickering torchlight, Patrick calls round; he feels awful no one attended Dot’s party and she’s spent the day alone. Dot refuses to come to the Vic, insisting her eyes are fine in the dark. Patrick pointedly wanders why Dot’s calling a tom cat ‘Ethel’, and drags her to the Vic. Everyone offers heartfelt apologies for not attending her party and Dot’s presented with a retirement gift – a washing machine.
On the Square, Jack spots hung-over Roxy walking home with no shoes on. Later in the Vic, Amy shies away from Roxy. Jack explains she’s afraid of the dark. When Roxy lets Amy have chocolates before dinner, Jack berates her and drags Amy away. Roxy storms off to the toilets. Jack returns with Amy to No.27 as Ronnie nurses a poorly Ricky, while, in the Vic, a wired Roxy throws herself into the celebrations.
Carmel’s pleased when Donna tells her to come to the market traders Christmas party.
|Max Branning||Jake Wood|
|Stacey Fowler||Lacey Turner|
|Martin Fowler||James Bye|
|Bex Fowler||Jasmine Armfield|
|Sonia Fowler||Natalie Cassidy|
|Michelle Fowler||Jenna Russell|
|Dot Branning||June Brown|
|Abi Branning||Lorna Fitzgerald|
|Lauren Branning||Jacqueline Jossa|
|Jack Branning||Scott Maslen|
|Ronnie Mitchell||Samantha Womack|
|Roxy Mitchell||Rita Simons|
|Louise Mitchell||Tilly Keeper|
|Ben Mitchell||Harry Reid|
|Phil Mitchell||Steve McFadden|
|Sharon Mitchell||Letitia Dean|
|Jay Brown||Jamie Borthwick|
|Billy Mitchell||Perry Fenwick|
|Honey Mitchell||Emma Barton|
|Donna Yates||Lisa Hammond|
|Kush Kazemi||Davood Ghadami|
|Shakil Kazemi||Shaheen Jafargholi|
|Carmel Kazemi||Bonnie Langford|
|Denise Fox||Diane Parish|
|Libby Fox||Belinda Owusu|
|Kim Fox-Hubbard||Tameka Empson|
|Vincent Hubbard||Richard Blackwood|
|Patrick Trueman||Rudolph Walker|
|Kathy Beale||Gillian Taylforth|
|Steven Beale||Aaron Sidwell|
|Ian Beale||Adam Woodyatt|
|Jane Beale||Laurie Brett|
|Linda Carter||Kellie Bright|
|Mick Carter||Danny Dyer|
|Johnny Carter||Ted Reilly|
|Lee Carter||Danny-Boy Hatchard|
|Whitney Carter||Shona McGarty|
|Shirley Carter||Linda Henry|
|Tina Carter||Luisa Bradshaw-White|
|Sylvie Carter||Linda Marlowe|
|Babe Smith||Annette Badland|
|Amy Mitchell||Abbie Knowles|
|Dennis Rickman||Bleu Landau|
|Will Mitchell||Freddie Phillips|
|Lily Fowler||Aine Garvey|
|Ricky Mitchell||Henri Charles|
|Derek Harkinson||Ian Lavender|
|DC Fred Cole||Victor Gardener|
|Marcus Greaves-Smith||Dominic Jephcott|
|Dermot Hayes||Geoffrey Newland|
|Delivery Man||Jack Brundle|
|Heather Trott||Cheryl Fergison|
|Executive Producer||Sean O'Connor|
|Director||Michael Owen Morris|