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Eastenders: Lacey beat illness for killer revelation

Actress Lacey Turner overcame a last-minute illness to take part in a live EastEnders episode in which she was revealed as Archie Mitchell's murderer.

Viewers were made to wait until the closing minutes of the 25th anniversary programme to discover the identity of his killer after weeks of speculation.

Stacey made her confession to a stunned Max Branning (Jake Wood) just after new husband Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements), a key suspect in the case, fell to his death from a building as he was chased by police.

Her confession brought to an end feverish speculation in one of the most talked-about soap guessing games since the 'Who shot JR?' storyline in US soap Dallas in the 1980s.

Bookmakers took hundreds of thousands of pounds as soap fans put bets on a host of potential culprits.

In a bid to keep the outcome a secret, Turner was told of her character's guilt just 30 minutes before last night's episode.

Archie (Larry Lamb) was bludgeoned with a bust of Queen Victoria in the Albert Square pub on Christmas Day after making enemies of most of the Square.

Many characters had a motive, and Stacey had particular reason to hate twisted Archie as he raped her while she was struggling to control her bipolar disorder.

She finally admitted killing him just seconds before the famous "duff duff" signalling the end of the episode.

The live broadcast apparently went smoothly, apart from Scott Maslen, who plays Jack Branning, stumbling over some lines in his opening scene.

Turner was struggling with a sore throat ahead of the episode, but she managed to deliver her substantial sections of dialogue with her voice largely intact.

However, she was too ill too appear on the BBC's behind-the-scenes follow-up show straight after the broadcast.

Despite not having been in the series since January last year, Sean Slater (Rob Zazinsky) was bookies' favourite to be unmasked as the killer. Soap bosses kept cast and crew in the dark by rehearsing and filming 10 possible endings to the series.

Pat Stacey's view, Page 24