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‘Free him!’ Fans react to Phil Mitchell’s arrest on ‘EastEnders’

Phil Mitchell
Phil Mitchell on the rampage in ‘EastEnders’ (Image credit: BBC)

The body of Tina Carter was finally discovered in Argee Bhajee on EastEnders on Friday – very bad news for the finder, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), because with his rap sheet he was immediately suspect No 1 for her murder.

Of course, the real murderer, Gray Atkins (Toby-Alexander Smith), is in critical condition in intensive care after he was bottled by Kheerat Panesar (Jaz Deol).

Police didn’t hesitate to put two and two together and arrest Phil for anything they can justify. He IS Walford’s most wanted, after all. But that produced the unlikely effect of EastEnders fans feeling, well, a bit sorry for Phil.

One wrote: “Just caught the last few minutes of #EastEnders having not watched it since Max and Stacey’s affair, and I see my boy Phil getting arrested. I don’t know what he did but he’s innocent. Free him.” 

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Another fan tweeted their hopes that the discovery of Gray’s foul deeds were imminent: “Phil found Tina's body so hopefully the police identify its her and that's when Gray gets taken down”.

“Phil Mitchell arrested! Just imagine how exciting this would be if it wasn't the 245th time in the last three years”, joked another.

Others were more preoccupied with the reason Phil was in the derelict restaurant in the first place. He was terrifying a gang of pre-teen bullies who were terrorising Tommy, which sparked a strong social media reaction.

Phil Mitchell

Phil Mitchell discovers Tina Carter’s body. (Image credit: BBC)

“I’m shocked that Phil can still behave like an angry ape at his age lol”, wrote one viewer.

Another joked that ‘everybody gangster until Phil Mitchell turns up with a baseball bat’.

Of course, it had its desired effect. Phil swinging a pipe around while his head is on the verge of exploding is enough to frighten the life out of anyone.

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Apart from Callum, that is. The policeman husband of his son, Ben, was on the scene to witness his downfall.

“Callum utterly refusing to be scared of Phil, probably because of Jonno, is always a delight.”

The fact that Phil was taken away just as celebrations got underway for his engagement to Kat Slater was a source of some amusement.

“They can't do this today – I've got balloons!” Jean wailed as Phil was driven away.

Another fan commented: “I never thought I would ship Phil Mitchell and Kat Slater together, but I do. I love this weird storyline”.

Will they get to celebrate their relationship? Will Phil lead them to Gray’s door? Or will he go down for the murder himself? It’s all to play for on EastEnders.

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 


An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.