EastEnders' domestic abuse plot to end in tragedy as Chantelle is killed

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 7 September 2020
Chantelle and Gray Atkins

Chantelle and Gray Atkins

'EastEnders' Chantelle Atkins is to be killed by her husband Gray Atkins after years of mental and physical abuse, as the show's long-running domestic abuse storyline meets a tragic end

EastEnders' Chantelle Atkins is to be murdered by her abusive husband Gray Atkins.

The BBC One soap's long-running domestic abuse storyline is to end in tragedy as Chantelle – played by Jessica Plummer – will meet her maker at the hands of evil Gray (Toby Alexander-Smith) after she files for divorce, after experiencing years of mental and physical abuse by her violent and controlling husband.

Jon Sen, EastEnders' Executive Producer, said: "Chantelle's story is such an important one to tell accurately and upon both character's 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 given the harrowing statistics as a result of the current pandemic and 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 so see Jessica go but hope that her impact on viewers is long-lasting."

'EastEnders' will return tonight (07.09.20) for the first time since June 16th following a coronavirus-enforced break.

During this time, Chantelle has been isolating with Gray and the show will pick up as she makes the decision to file for divorce, but during an attempt to escape she will be killed by him.

Jessica said: "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."

'EastEnders' have been working closely with Women's Aid and Refuge on the storyline, and Toby hopes the hard-hitting plot will serve as "an important reminder of the devastation domestic abuse causes".

He said: "We hope that Chantelle's story gives people the courage to speak out before it's too late and to know that there are services out there to help. Working with Women's Aid and Refuge has been invaluable in understanding the mindset of an abuser and the awful realities of abusive relationships.

"With such a tragic ending bound to be shocking for the audience, hopefully it serves as an important reminder of the devastation domestic abuse causes, especially at the moment.

"Working with Jessica has been wonderful, she'll be greatly missed and I am so thankful that we're part of such an important story together."

Teresa Parker, Head of Communications for Women's Aid, added: "It has been a pleasure to work so closely with the team at 'EastEnders' during the development of this storyline, and they have really listened to the real-life experiences of survivors of domestic abuse to ensure that the scripts have been as realistic as possible. At the beginning of the storyline, we visited the studios with a survivor of abuse who spoke to Jessica, which was very emotional and had a huge impact on how she has played the character of Chantelle."

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