Never one to shy away from the big topics and issues of the day, BBC flagship soap Eastenders, is once again setting the agenda and is on course to shock its fans and critics alike.

In the past the controversial show has had plots involving stolen babies, lesbian kisses and probably most notably, was the first to resurrect a lead character who had previously been murdered before murdering him once again. But now in a sensational plot-twist worthy of a Le Carre thriller, it’s rumoured that later this month one of the show’s iconic characters is being lined up to crack a smile – in character and on camera!

BBC top brass are said to be shocked by the news, and if the producers do actually go ahead with the radical departure from the show’s normal wall-to-wall misery fest, then they can expect to come in for some harsh criticism from their loyal fan base according to one Walford insider.

“It’s thrown us all into turmoil as nobody can quite believe it really. I mean, somebody smiling on Albert Square beggars belief. What next, actual laughter or a light comedy storyline? They’ll be calling this place Coronation Street before much longer! It’s mental! Cast members are being issued with scripts containing only their own lines and the pressure it’s putting everyone under is colossal. And you mark my words, our fans are going to hate it.”

Show aficionados might remember that it was thought Bill Treacher, who played Arthur Fowler, once smiled in an episode back in 1985, but producers moved quickly at that time to scotch the suggestion following a deluge of complaints from furious viewers, issuing a statement insisting that the character was in fact actually portraying ‘a nasty bout of trapped wind’ following a particularly indigestible bacon butty in Ali’s cafe.