EASTENDERS fans were certain that Phil and Sharon Mitchell were going to become the joint new landlords of the Queen Vic – up until tonight.
The pair have suffered a bitter split over Sharon and Keanu Taylor’s lovechild, Kaden, putting them at war as they fight to secure the Albert Square pub.
Mick and Linda Carter decided to sell up earlier this year due to Linda’s ongoing alcoholism battle, and there are a host of characters who could become the new owners.
After the tragic death of Sharon’s son Denny, guilt-ridden Phil became determined to buy the pub for his estranged wife so that they could have a fresh start.
He even enlisted his son Ben to help him with a dodgy job in order to secure the money needed to buy – but his plan went out of the window when Sharon chose her newborn over him.
And tonight’s episode saw Sharon threaten to steal the boozer from under his nose, with the Vic having special meaning to both characters whose families have each owned the pub in the past.
So, who will end up taking over?
A bereaved mother she might be, but Sharon is nothing but if not determined – especially when she has a point to prove and a score to settle.
The Vic is her childhood home and we are willing to bet she will pull out all the stops to take it from her husband.
Sharon has been the landlady before and has the biggest claim on the East End boozer, but realistically she might not be able to secure the funds to put her money where her mouth is.
Could best pal Ian Beale give her a helping hand?
With Linda selling the pub, there’s vacancy for another recovering alcoholic to take it back over.
His family ran the pub for a decade with mum Peggy at the helm as the landlady.
Phil was adamant that he would be the new buyer when he was trying to win over Sharon, and it wouldn’t be unlike him to continue with his plan without her out of spite.
However, he faces an obstacle as Linda will try and lay down the law by banning him from buying due to his treatment of her best friend.
Suki’s arrival in Walford has brought a new kind of villain in.
She’s got money, she’s got connections but she’s more manipulative than anyone in EastEnders history and that makes her very dangerous.
The businesswoman already owns a pest control company and a call centre – but buying the Vic will put her in prime position to rule Walford with an iron fist.
Shirley could stand a good chance at being involved with the Vic in some way moving forward, with her son Mick the current landlord and prospective buyer Phil her ex, and close friend.
Could Phil team up with Shirley for a Walford takeover now that Sharon is out of the picture?
It would certainly cause a fair bit of drama.
Businesswoman and crime heiress Ruby already has her own nightclub – but she’s also got millions in the bank thanks to her dead gangster dad Johnny Allen.
She’s one of the few people in Walford who could buy the Vic without even blinking.
But could she run two booze venues at once?
If there’s a single character in EastEnders history that fans are desperate to see return it’s Chrissie Watts.
She was the woman responsible with killing Dirty Den – by braining him in the bar with the bus of old Vic herself, and she very nearly got away with it.
Chrissie would be due for release around now which would make for a cracking comeback.
There is only one character more wanted for a comeback than Chrissie – and that’s Janine.
She of the chucking her husband off of a mountain has made more comebacks than Cher but it’s been a while since she last caused chaos in Walford.
And chaos is exactly what Walford could do with right about now.
While we admit that this one is a bit of a long shot, there’s no denying that Karen would be the people’s choice of new Vic landlady.
Bubbly, full of fun, and looking for a new lease of life now that Kaden is back with his mum, Karen would inject the old building with just the TLC that it needs.
Unfortunately, the Taylors famously don’t have two pennies to rub together, so we might need to leave this one in our dreams.