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8 times soaps caused a huge reaction by killing characters off-screen | Soaps

Several soap characters have died off screen over the years (Pictures: ITV / BBC / REX)

Death has always been a major part of our favourite soaps, with murders and emotional farewells providing heaps of drama over the years.

However, there are some characters who end up meeting their maker off-screen, with new storylines developing from their loved ones finding out the tragic news.

With Hollyoaks’ Justin Burton having been the latest character to die off-screen, we’re taking a look at other notable characters who’s off-screen death caused quite a stir.

Arthur ‘Fatboy’ Chubb – EastEnders

Fatboy was killed in a case of mistaken identity (Picture: BBC)

Fans were left absolutely devastated when beloved Fatboy (Ricky Norwood) was killed off-screen in 2015, in a case of mistaken identity.

Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) called a hit on Vincent Hubbard (Richard Blackwood), asking for a certain car to be crushed with the driver inside.

However, when it came down to it, Vincent was not the one driving, and Ronnie’s vague instructions led to Fatboy’s death instead.

Having learnt about the hit placed on her son, Claudette Hubbard (Ellen Thomas) sent Fatboy in his place in a misguided attempt to protect him.

Fans were left crying out for a return from the dead recently after a card addressed to the late Dot Cotton appeared to be from Fatboy himself.

It could be possible. After all, we never saw the body!

Vincent Hubbard – EastEnders

Phil revealed that Vincent was dead in 2021 (Picture: BBC)

Vincent wasn’t able to escape death for long, as his own off-screen demise came in 2018.

His final few months on the show were focused on his rivalry with villain Aidan Maguire (Patrick Bergin), who wanted revenge on Vincent for grassing to the police.

Vincent was forced to go along with everything Aidan said, until police offered him the opportunity to turn informant.

However, Vincent ended up getting into a car with a corrupt officer who was working for Aidan.

As the car sped away, the corrupt officer held up a gun, and Vincent’s fate was left a mystery, until wife Kim Fox (Tameka Empson) made a shocking discovery in 2021.

After running into someone who appeared to have stolen Vincent’s wallet, Kim was determined to get to the bottom of his whereabouts once and for all.

Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) soon put an end to her hunt by revealing that Vincent had actually been killed by Aidan’s associate all those years ago.

Kathy Beale – EastEnders

Kathy is actually still alive (Picture: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Now, we know what you’re thinking with this one.

Eagle eyed viewers will be aware that Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) is very much alive and well, and currently in the midst of a big storyline which has seen her learn that fiancé Rocky Cotton (Brian Conley) has a secret wife.

However, there was a point in time when Kathy was believed to be dead, having departed the Square in 2000 after choosing not to reconcile her relationship with Phil.

She decided to head to South Africa, where she married Gavin Sullivan in 2001, however, tragedy would follow.

In 2006, Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) received a call to inform him that Kathy had been killed in a car accident.

Heartbroken Ian flew to South Africa and returned home with half brother Ben Mitchell, where the pair had to live with the loss of their mother until one fateful night in 2015.

During EastEnders’ week of live episodes to celebrate 30 years of the BBC soap, viewers were left stunned when Kathy emerged from a black cab, very much not dead.

It was later revealed that controlling husband Gavin had forced her into an insurance scam which involved faking her own death.

Angie Watts – EastEnders

Angie Watts made a massive impact in her three years on the Square (Picture: BBC)

Provider: BBC

Angie Watts (Anita Dobson) is one of EastEnders most legendary characters, with her announcement to husband Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) that she had only six months left to live going down in pop culture history.

Of course, this turned out to be a lie, leading to another infamous moment where Den presented Ange with divorce papers on Christmas Day.

Following the fall out of their marriage, Angie decided to move to Marbella to open a bar with Sonny, who she had fallen in love with.

Angie left the Square in 1988 after a drama-filled three years, and would later die off screen in 2002, with daughter Sharon (Letitia Dean) by her side.

It was Angie’s drinking that caught up with her in the end, with cirrhosis of the liver leading to her death off-screen, though Angie made Sharon promise to tell people that she had had a heart attack.

Carrying out her mother’s final wishes, Sharon had her buried alongside ex-husband Dirty Den, although it would later transpire that Den wasn’t buried there at all, as he wasn’t actually dead.

Cindy Beale – EastEnders

Cindy died in childbirth (Picture: BBC)

Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) caused quite a stir in the life of poor Ian, with her series of lies and affairs.

Amid a dramatic custody battle for their children, Cindy hired a hit on Ian, and, though she later changed her mind, was horrified to discover she was too late, as Ian was shot in front of her.

With the police suspicious of her involvement, she planned to flee the country, taking the children with her, but things didn’t go to plan and Cindy soon returned to Walford.

Immediately after winning custody of the children, she was arrested for attempted murder, leading to the verdict being reversed and Cindy being sent to prison.

While in prison, Cindy tragically died in childbirth, and Ian chose to name the baby after her mother.

Katy Armstrong – Coronation Street

Katy was killed in a car accident (Picture: ITV)

Provider: ITV

Katy Armstrong’s (Georgia May Foote) death came as a total shock to Corrie viewers, when it was announced that she had died in a car accident off-screen.

Katy left the street with son Joseph in 2015 after reconnecting with her mum, Linda, and agreeing to move to Portugal with her.

Sister Izzy received a phone call in 2017 announcing that she had been killed instantly in the crash.

Following her death, former flame Chesney Brown (Sam Aston) flew out to Portugal to support son Joseph, who he and Katy had together at a young age, before bringing him back to Weatherfield to be with the rest of his family.

Rachel Breckle – Emmerdale

Rachel died in 2019 (Picture: ITV)

Provider: ITV

Most of Rachel Breckle’s (Gemma Oaten) time on Emmerdale was spent in a relationship with Sam Dingle (James Hooton), though a one night stand with Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson) threw everything up in the air.

Having discovered that husband Jai had fathered Rachel’s son Archie, Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) forced her to go on the run in 2014 after covering for Sam, who Charity had framed for the arson of Home Farm.

In 2015, Rachel made a shock return to the village where she stood as a witness against Charity in court.

Following her year on the run, Rachel fought for custody of Archie, and the stress of the battle caused her to turn verbally and physically abusive to partner Sam.

Ultimately, she decided to leave the village with sister Ali, following the death of her girlfriend Ruby in the helicopter crash, and promised to get help for her issues.

However, in 2019 it was revealed that Rachel had died of an undisclosed cardiac issue, leaving Jai with full custody of his son.

Beth Jordache – Brookside

Beth was sent to prison before her death (Picture: Brendan O’Sullivan/TV Times via Getty Images)

Beth Jordache (Anna Friel) was involved in some of Brookside’s most notable storylines, including one which saw the first ever pre-watershed lesbian kiss between Beth and Margaret Clemence.

Another famous storyline, which aired in 1993, saw her involved in covering up the murder of her abusive father, Trevor, by helping her mother bury him under the patio.

When his body was finally discovered in 1995, Beth and mum Mandy were put on trial for his murder.

Beth was sent to prison, and later died there from a heart condition, leaving her family devastated.

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