Why EastEnders had to announce Chantelle’s death story in advance
Nobody likes spoilers, they’re just frustrating and take the fun out of watching a movie or show.
However sometimes, with many soap storylines, viewers might wonder why the shows pre-announce big developments – as EastEnders has done with the news that Chantelle Atkins (Jessica Plummer) will die when abuser Gray (Toby Alexander-Smith) murders her.
The soaps and the press aren’t intentionally teaming up to ruin twists – sensitive storylines that could prove triggering if viewers are unprepared for them (such As Aidan’s suicide in Coronation Street) have to be responsibly handled from a promotion side of things. The last thing that any show would want is to cause undue distress to anyone impacted by the storyline – which is why it’s essential they know what to prepare for and have the option over whether to watch.
On top of that, the idea on Chantelle’s story is not for the ‘OMG’ doof-doof cliffhanger that EastEnders would usually do and hold back.
The impact of what is happening in the story – and the contextual build up in the weeks before – would be lost in a feeling of shock and distress. The episode will be a difficult enough watch but it’s equally vital that viewers are in on why EastEnders are doing this – and that they watch the scenes which lead up to it with the knowledge of what’s to come.
The main intention for this plot isn’t to go ‘ha, there’s a twist for you!’ but to raise awareness and discussion around Chantelle’s situation – and Gray’s behaviour both in the moment but also in the run up to Chantelle failing to escape him.
At first, you might feel that it has been ruined for you and you’d have liked the shock twist – but when watching the episode itself you most likely will feel grateful that you were prepared for it. And the performances, writing and research into the subject matter will hit home for many in a much more staggered and gradual way and hopefully encourage those who may be in a similar situation or who may fear for someone who could be to reach out to Refuge, Women’s Aid and The Domestic Abuse Helpline.