Chantelle's suffering at the hands of Gray has escalated thanks to lockdown...
EastEnders has revealed that Chantelle Atkins' harrowing domestic abuse storyline will have tragically fatal consequences.
The soap, which is back on our screens tomorrow night (Monday 7th September - see our TV guide for full listings), will see Chantelle emerging from lockdown more determined than ever to escape her toxic marriage.
After suffering more than ever while being trapped at home Gray, she will be seen making plans next week to file for divorce.
But sadly for Chantelle, her escape doesn't have a happy ending and she will be killed at the hands of her abusive partner this month.
Getting it right...
EastEnders has been working closely with Women's Aid and Refuge throughout this storyline.
Both charities have been consulting closely with both writers and actors to make sure Chantelle's story is told correctly.
Refuge, which runs the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen calls sour during the pandemic.
Women's Aid has revealed that over two-thirds of survivors reported their domestic abuse escalating in lockdown.
For years Chantelle has been subjected to the most horrific mental and physical abuse at the hands of her husband, but to the outside world their marriage looks perfect.
The actors have their say
Speaking about the responsibility of playing Chantelle in such an important storyline, actress Jessica Plummer said: "It’s been such a privilege to play Chantelle and to be able to tell her story.
"Sadly what she goes through is all too common and her death is a reminder of the devastating effect of domestic abuse.
"I’ve known it wasn’t going to end well for Chantelle for a while now and it was a shock to find out her fate.
"Far too many men and women suffer in silence so I hope that by raising awareness we can ultimately save lives."
Executive Producer Jon Sen added: "Jessica’s performance is nothing short of extraordinary and even in her final scenes, the audience will be moved by Chantelle’s strength.
"We’re very sorry to see Jessica go but hope that her impact on viewers is long-lasting."
Toby Alexander-Smith, better known to soap fans as abusive Gray Atkins, also paid tribute to his on-screen wife...
"Such a tragic ending is bound to be shocking for the audience, but hopefully it serves as an important reminder of the devastation domestic abuse causes, especially at the moment.
"Working with Jessica has been wonderful, she’ll be greatly missed and I am so thankful that we’re part of such an important story together."
EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One.
Anyone who has been affected by Chantelle’s story can contact Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247, or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.
Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia.
After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off.
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