EastEnders shake-up: lead character killed off in brutal cast cull?

Big changes are a-comin'

When a new boss comes in, it’s a scary time for everyone else on the team. What if your face doesn’t fit? They don’t like the cut of your jib?

Soap stars are no different. Many have found themselves on the receiving end of tense phone calls with agents when a new show runner appears intent on making their stamp, and clearing the decks of what they see as dead-wood characters.

We imagine there are a couple of squeaky bums at EastEnders this week.

At the weekend it was announced that boss Sean O’Connor was leaving/had been fired.

This news was swiftly followed by reports that former producer ‘d’or’ John Yorke was being drafted in.

Returning producer Yorke will not be afraid to ring the changes (Credit: Youtube)

Although he’s said to be coming back temporarily, his role will be to save the show.

The soap has been mocked for increasingly daft storylines – Denise’s digestive and Bingate, anyone? – and tumbling ratings.

During Yorke’s tenure in the early noughties, he took the show to dizzying heights of success, bringing on board the Slater family and those epic storylines – Trevor tormenting Little Mo, and Kat Vs Zoe’s “You ain’t my muvva!”, to name but two.

So, safe to say he’s a steady pair of hands.

BUT his appointment could spell bad news for some cast members.

There are reports today that suggest a lead character could be bumped off. And the soap’s big names SHOULD be worried. There’s nothing like the death of a prominent cast member to maximise publicity and spike ratings…

Other plots that Yorke has in the works – allegedly – include a potential shooting, and a family abuse plot.

Further, the Daily Star claims that York is operating “last in, first out” attitude to characters so newbies should be checking their diaries…

This could spell bad news for Lee Ryan.

Lee Ryan proved popular as newcomer Woody (Credit: BBC)

He came in briefly this spring to play Woody – and proved a big hit. The former Blue star was due to come back later this summer, but this could be up in the air now…

While O’Connor was at the helm, he also brought in the Taylors, Ted and Joyce Murray, Fi (played by Lisa Faulkner) and Josh.

Let’s not get too panicked yet, though.

A rep for the BBC is denying any cast futures have been called yet, saying: “It is far too early for any decisions to have been made.”