Should a new family take over the Vic? Two EastEnders diehards go head to head
2nd March 2023

Danny Dyer’s departure from EastEnders inevitably brought to an end a very significant era for the popular soap.

The actor has been at the centre of all the Walford drama for the best part of a decade, with character Mick Carter presiding over the goings-on of Albert Square as landlord of the Vic with his beloved wife Linda (Kellie Bright).

Mick and Linda’s arrival back in 2013, as fans will recall, signified the beginning of a brand new era for the show, with the couple’s unique dynamic and backstory – not to mention actors Danny and Kellie’s on-screen chemistry – giving the BBC One soap a much-needed refreshing.

With the exception of a short period about two years ago during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mick and Linda have remained at the heart of Walford ever since, but with Danny having decided to leave – and Mick subsequently written out after vanishing at sea – this era is officially at end.

But as is usually the case in Albert Square, an ending signifies a new beginning and, with the show already feeling unmissable and fresh right now courtesy of boss Chris Clenshaw, discussion has turned to what the future will hold for the Queen Vic.

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A new report claims that a brand new family are being lined up to take over the Vic, with Strictly Come Dancing’s Molly Rainford at the centre.

The show’s signature boozer changing hands is undoubtedly the most significant way to mark the beginning of a new era, but is it really an essential move with Linda still doing a superb job as landlady?

That is the question, and it’s one that Metro.co.uk soap experts decided to tackle, with two of our reporters going head-to-head with varying views of what the future should hold for the Vic.

Stephen Patterson, Senior Soaps Reporter, says:

Mick and Linda’s era at the heart of Albert Square’s signature pub is, without a doubt, one of the greatest, particularly those earlier years which are among the show’s best ever.

The couple revitalised the then-depleted Carters family, with many a child, sibling and devilish aunt joining the ranks in subsequent years, cementing the clan as one of the show’s most compelling.

But flash-forward a decade and the Carters are depleted again. With Shirley on a temporary hiatus, Linda is the only member of the family left in Walford, putting the landlady in a similar position to that of Shirley at the time of Mick and Linda’s arrival all those years ago.

Linda is one of the show’s most recognisable characters, having made a superb landlady over the years, and she’s on the cusp of an exciting new era, so it would be remiss to remove her from where she thrives the most, especially at a time all of her loved ones that helped shape her into the character she’s become are no longer there.

What’s more, let’s not forget that the last time that she gave up the pub, Linda was somewhat lost, with the character ultimately falling victim to her worst and most out-of-character storyline to date, when she had an affair with Max Branning.

Under Chris’ reign as producer, Linda has thrived, with much of her previous characterisation having been restored and the landlady we all know and love taking her rightful place at the centre of the community once again.

Yes, the matriarch was at her best when sharing scenes with Mick, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have fresh and exciting adventures without him. If anything, it’s a new chapter for her too, as fans will have the opportunity to find out just who she is in a world without her soulmate by her side.

An exploration of her side of the family, the Peacocks, could make for an intriguing storyline, as would the return of her children and their potential partners, allowing the show to introduce some new characters along the way.

New blood is a must – as is new blood in the Vic – but there is no reason why any potential newbies can’t share a connection with Linda, building a new-ish family within a pre-existing one, which would further cement her legacy in a post-Mick Walford.

Chris has promised that, despite Mick’s exit, Linda will remain at the heart of Albert Square, which does appear to indicate that she’s staying in the Vic.

The historic flash-forward episode, which previewed the events of Christmas 2023, appears to confirm this notion too, with Mick’s Oasis posters and Linda’s love on the Royals still plastered on the walls come the holiday season.

I’ve got high hopes for what’s next for the Vic, and with Chris Clenshaw having nailed the assignment at every single step thus far, it’s likely to be an exciting future, regardless of whose manning the pumps. But it would be good to have Linda stay where she belongs.

Maisie Spackman, Soaps Reporter, says:

A new family in the Queen Vic is exactly what EastEnders needs right now. There, I said it.

Chris Clenshaw has proven that he knows what he’s doing. His recent flash-forward episode has had the nation in the palm of his hand, with theories flying out all over the internet about who could possibly end up dead on Christmas day.

With new viewers tuning in, and people who gave up on the BBC soap years ago excitedly coming back, there is no better time to introduce a new family for us to get to know and love.

And what better place to put them than in the Queen Vic?

The local pub is the heart of any community. Behind the bar, these new characters will be able to interact with a whole host of other characters, instantly forming friendships, gaining enemies and establishing themselves within the hierarchy of Albert Square.

With new characters comes the possibility for new stories; things that haven’t been seen on the show before.

While Linda is a staple behind the bar, it’s time for her to spread her wings and take on new challenges. Speaking of Linda, she is a perfect example of the point I’m trying to make.

Cast your mind back to 2013, when the Carters first appeared on the Square: a new family set to take over the Vic. No one knew who they were, but they very quickly became fan favourites.

This is because they were fresh; something EastEnders viewers hadn’t seen for a long time.

Before the Carters arrived, the Vic had been in the hands of the Mitchells for years. Like, before I was born years. It briefly changed hands a few times, with Chrissie and Den Watts’ reign ending in disaster and Kat and Alfie splitting up and handing it back to the long-serving family.

These previous owners had all been established characters on the show. Sure, they were, and still are, some of the most popular and talked about characters in the show’s history, but they didn’t offer us anything we hadn’t already seen.

While these were some great years, we were all itching for something different, and the Carters gave us that. 

Granted, their time in the Vic hasn’t exceeded my current lifespan, like the Mitchells, but with the exit of Danny Dyer as Mick, it gives EastEnders the perfect opportunity for a shake-up.

While we’d all love to see Queen Sharon behind the bar again, we’ve been there and done that. More than once. 

The Panesars have really come into their own over the past couple of years, especially with the arrival of Nish (Navin Chowdhry). They don’t need to be behind the bar to cement themselves in EastEnders history. Their complex characters, relationships and stories have made them icons in their own right.

It wasn’t long ago that we were expressing our concerns over the lack of young women in the show, following the announcement of Gurlaine Kaur Garcha’s exit.

With the reported arrival of Molly Rainford as one of the daughters of the new family, EastEnders are seemingly taking steps to tackle this.

Iconic characters like those in The Six all had to start somewhere. Isn’t it time for a new generation of EastEnders legends?

EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One.

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