EastEnders baddie Aunt Babe has fast become the nastiest piece of work in Walford. But how on earth can Les and Pam Coker stop her blackmailing?
Over the last few months in EastEnders we've seen conniving Aunt Babe at her very worst, blackmailing undertaker Les Coker and his wife, Pam, by threatening to tell everyone Les is a cross dresser.
Babe has a photo of Les as his female alter ego Christine to prove it, and she’s happy to wave this under the Cokers’ noses any time they don’t meet her cash demands. Her evil deeds have brought the Cokers’ funeral business to the brink and has now caused Les to suffer a heart attack.
Here are our six options for Les and Pam to begin their big fightback against Babe…
1. Admit everything!
Tell her to go ahead and let everyone know about Les and his dresses. People are a lot more open-minded these days, and it’s certainly not the taboo it was in years gone by, especially in London. Yes, a few might snigger and giggle behind the Cokers’ backs, but they’ll get over it.
Why not make Christine a regular lady in and around Albert Square? She could become quite the local celebrity and the struggling funeral parlour might draw in extra revenue from a very supportive trans community. Donna might be grateful, too, to have some extra custom for her market fashion stall.
2. Make up a feasible story!
Just let Babe go ahead and expose Les’s secret by showing everyone the photo of him as Christine. All Les and Pam have to say is they once went to a wild fancy dress party and the picture was taken there, then just laugh it off. The more preposterous the story the better! Maybe the party had a 1970s theme and Les was one of Charlie’s Angels... Pam was a big fan of the show back in the day! Also, explain that Pam isn’t in the photo because she took the picture.
3. Call in Claudette
Les’s friend Claudette is fiercely protective of him, having kept his cross-dressing secret for so long, even holidaying with him in Tenerife so he could freely be Christine away from family and friends. Claudette has a nasty side, which could come in handy when confronting Babe. After all, she killed her husband back in the 1980s by pushing him off the balcony of their high rise! So Claudette would be more than a match for Babe, and it’s a battle we’d relish seeing.
The only trouble is, Claudette’s pretty elusive since falling out with her own family and has only been glimpsed around Walford here and there, so it might be difficult for Les to explain to her what’s happened. Also, Pam and Claudette don’t see eye to eye because she kept Les’s secret so long – that might scupper the ‘Call in Claudette’ plan.
4. Turn the tables on Babe!
Sometimes you should fight fire with fire. That means finding an awful secret in Babe’s past and blackmailing the blackmailer unless she gives up her vicious campaign. There’s plenty of rotten stuff in her past, including the baby selling business in Ramsgate from years ago, where she even attempted to sell a baby Mick to the highest bidder. Unfortunately the Cokers don’t know about this, but a bit of digging around in her past could throw up some nasty gems.
Perhaps make a complaint to health inspectors about the Queen Vic kitchen – knowing Babe there’s bound to be corners cut and knocked-off ingredients. Although going down this route might risk making an enemy of pub landlord Mick Carter, who could be very useful to the Cokers...
5. Tell Mick and Linda!
Mick and Linda Carter are good eggs, and always very understanding, especially Mick. The dad-of-four was incredibly supportive when his son Johnny came out as gay and helped Linda eventually accept her son’s lifestyle. Both are very protective of Johnny now. So perhaps Les and Pam could have a quiet word with both Carters and explain what their twisted Aunt has been up to?
The Carters know what Babe is capable of and already threatened to throw her out of their lives before, over the baby-selling scandal. It was only after she pleaded with them to be given another chance because she was so lonely that they had her back. If they knew she was up to her old tricks again they could threaten to ostracise her once again. She’d soon change her tune!
6. Call her bluff… and call the cops!
Being a transvestite isn’t against the law, but blackmail is! So Pam and Les should just tell Babe they’re going to the police. If she still won’t relent and believes they're bluffing, then they should call her bluff and go to the police to explain everything.
The Cokers have an email trail stupidly sent by Babe. They can show these to the police, providing all the evidence required in court. That of course means Les’s secret will come out, but for all the reasons given we don’t think there’d be too much of a problem after the initial shock dies down...
It's time bad Aunt Babe was taken down!
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I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.