EastEnders has revealed Gray Atkins kills his wife Chantelle in a tragic end to her domestic abuse storyline.
Chantelle has been suffering physical and mental hell at the hands of her superficially charming husband for years.
When does Gray kill Chantelle?
When the soap returns tomorrow (Monday, September 7), viewers will see Chantelle’s harrowing abuse has worsened throughout lockdown.
And it will reach a fatal conclusion before the month is out.
Throughout the storyline, the soap has consulted with charity Refuge, which runs the 24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
It has seen calls and contacts to the service soar during the pandemic, while Women’s Aid released statistics that over two-thirds of survivors reported their domestic abuse escalating in lockdown.
In the first week of July, as lockdown lifted, Refuge saw a 54% rise in women contacting its helpline needing refuge emergency accommodation, when compared with the last week in June.
EastEnders will mirror this on screen as Chantelle has been isolating with her husband.
The show picks up as she makes the big decision to file for divorce. After attempting to escape, Gray traps Chantelle and kills her.
Is Jessica Plummer sad to leave EastEnders?
Jessica Plummer, who plays Chantelle, says: “It’s been such a privilege to play Chantelle and to be able to tell her story.
“Sadly what she goes through is all too common and her death is a reminder of the devastating effect of domestic abuse.
“I’ve known it wasn’t going to end well for Chantelle for a while now.
“And although it was a shock to find out her fate, far too many men and women suffer in silence.
“So I hope that by raising awareness we can ultimately save lives.
“I am so grateful to all the team and my lovely cast members for being so supportive, I’ll miss Albert Square!”
Was Chantelle always going to die in EastEnders?
Jon Sen, EastEnders’ Executive Producer, adds: “Chantelle’s story is such an important one to tell accurately.
“Upon both characters’ inception we planned her tragic ending with the intention of embedding the stark reality of domestic abuse at the heart of the Atkins family.
“Being able to shed light on the realities of what goes on behind closed doors has never been more crucial.
“Hopefully Chantelle’s story will encourage people to speak out to someone they trust and get the support that they need.
“Jessica’s performance is nothing short of extraordinary. And even in her final scenes, the audience will be moved by Chantelle’s strength.
“We’re very sorry to see Jessica go but hope that her impact on viewers is long-lasting.”
Help for domestic abuse
If you, or someone you care about, is experiencing domestic abuse, you can phone The National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 to discuss your options. A range of digital resources are available at refuge.org.uk and nationaldahelpline.org.uk.
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