EastEnders: Derek Branning goes full-on gangster! And Paul Nicholls’ poor Walford recall

by Lynn Connolly

In upcoming episodes of EastEnders, all round bad man Derek Branning (Jamie Foreman) is set to plot a hostile – if needs be – take over of Phil Mitchell’s interests when Phil (Steve McFadden) is in prison.

As we’ll see, Phil will be arrested and held on remand while investigations into the death of Kevin Wicks (Phil Daniels) are ongoing, and Derek spots the opportunity to become an authority figure in the Square.

The Sun reports that Derek tells Phil to willingly hand over control of his businesses – which of course include The Arches and the Vic – or, he threatens, he’ll take them “by force.”

A show insider said, “It is a clash of the titans. Phil knows his family are struggling but can he really lose face to Derek?”

Also in EastEnders news today is the fact that Paul Nicholls – who’s currently starring Law & Order: UK as DS Sam Casey – reckons he has barely any recollection of the time he spent playing the role of Joe Wicks.

Paul played the role of troubled teen Joe for two years from 1996, and of that time, Paul told the PA, “I can’t really remember it. It’s really weird…

“I remember driving to work and being on set a few times, but if I ever look back now, it’s just blank.

“I just can’t really remember being in it. I do recall coming out of EastEnders and the attention dying down 50 per cent in the first six months, and then a couple of years later it was 95 per cent.”

Of his decision to leave EastEnders, Paul added, “I was well on my way to a total breakdown.

“I was drinking a lot and taking drugs. I had lost control of my life.”

Thankfully, he’s evidently over all that now! Don’t miss him in Law & Order: UK on Friday nights on ITV1.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.