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Friday 16th November 2018

EastEnders' Derek reveals his deep dark secret to Johnny

His criminal past is actually heartbreaking

Earlier this week EastEnders viewers were left scratching their noggins as they tried to work out what Derek Harkinsin has been keeping secret for years.

On Tuesday's episode he received a phone call from Yolande Trueman, who told him that the criminal record he has meant he was out of a job at the Minute Mart.

Fans were shocked because of all the people in the Square they least expected to have had a brush with the law it was Derek.

But all wasn't as it seemed.

Viewers were shocked to discover that Derek had a criminal record (Credit: BBC)

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Unlike most of Walford's dubious residents, his record wasn't anything to do with GBH, murder or robbery.

And in Tuesday's episode, the show's writers gave viewers a pretty heavy handed hint about what his criminal record related to.

Can you imagine the shame Johnny? The heartbreak of having to listen to that same sort of thing everyday?

After Keegan Baker hurled homophobic abuse at him in the shop, Derek criticised gay Johnny Carter for not stepping in to help him.

When Keegan abused Derek, Johnny Carter didn't step in (Credit: BBC)

He then went on to explain how tough it was for gay guys back in the day to live their lives when they wouldn't be allowed to hold hands with their boyfriends and be looked upon as perverts.

He said to Johnny afterwards: "That sort of thing doesn't affect you.

"I wish I could explain, I wish I could give you the first clue about what men like me had to do to make it as easy as it is for you young men now."

He continued: "Can you imagine the shame Johnny? The heartbreak of having to listen to that same sort of thing every day?

"You can't have it both ways, you can't walk down the street holding another man's hand and not call someone out for saying stuff like that.

"Do you think I wouldn't have killed to be like you? To be accepted?"

Clearly intrigued by what Derek had said to him, a couple of days later Johnny decided to find out what Derek was talking about.

Popping around to his flat, Johnny asked Derek to elaborate on what was going on.

Derek explained that when he was 22 he was living with a boyfriend who was 20 at a time when the homosexual age of consent was 21.

Johnny visited to Derek to find out more about his secret past (Credit: BBC)

After a break in at their flat, the authorities worked out that they were more than just room mates and arrested him for gross indecency and was sentenced to nine months in prison.

And the story had a sad ending.

Derek explained he was arrested because in the days when the age of consent for gay sex was 21 he was dating a 20 year old (Credit: BBC)

Read more: EastEnders star fears for his job after new chief 'sacked him' in 2003

When he was freed from jail, his boyfriend Pip had moved on, got married to a woman and wanted nothing to do with him ever again.

Derek said the arrest ruined his life and forced him out of his job as a teacher as he had been branded a pervert.

The storyline is particularly topical as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the legalisation of homosexuality in the UK.