Kathy Beale's return to EastEnders based on back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin

EastEnders’ executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has revealed how they used a real life case as inspiration for Kathy Beale’s return.

Kathy’s return is one of the biggest storylines the show has seen this year. Viewers last heard that she had died in a car accident in South Africa in 2006.

EastEnders' Kathy Beale and Sharon Mitchell (BBC Pictures)

EastEnders’ Sharon Mitchell and Kathy Beale (BBC Pictures)


However, it’s later revealed she faked her death as part of an insurance scam and has now returned from the dead.

Talking about her return and how they crafted the storyline to support it, EastEnders producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: “It’s not going to be easy for Kathy to come back, which is something we were very clear about from the beginning.”

“She’s officially dead so her return couldn’t be easy.”

He revealed that writers used the John Darwin case as research and tried to ground each storyline for the show in reality.

“We make sure each story is rooted in reality – it’s the canoe man story – so we make sure it happened in real life,” he said. “We wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t credible.”

Ian and Kathy before she was said to have been killed off (BBC)

Ian and Kathy before she was said to have been killed off (BBC Pictures)


Former teacher and prison officer John Darwin was believed to have died in a canoeing accident, but five years later was found to be alive, and it was revealed he and his wife had faked his death as part of a life insurance scam.

So far viewers are waiting to see how the return of Kathy (played by Gillian Taylforth) is going to rock Albert Square.

Teasing the rest of the big storylines set to unfold this year, Treadwell-Collins hinted saying: “It’s a big bumpy ride between now and Christmas and there are lots of shocks in store so keep watching.”


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