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Thursday, 1 March, 2001, 16:24 GMT
Soaps gunning for ratings
Phil Mitchell shot down on his doorstep
Is this the end for Phil Mitchell?
Everybody is talking about EastEnders as a mystery gunman - or woman - takes aim at Phil Mitchell, but soap shootings have long been a ratings winner.

EastEnders itself has used the gunman device on more than one occasion to grab viewers from its soap rivals.

The suspense created by a single gunshot to a central character first proved a success in the 80s glamour soap Dallas.

Audiences around the world were kept on tenterhooks to discover the identity of the attempted killer of oil baron JR Ewing.

Who Shot JR?
Everyone wanted to know who shot JR
For those whose memory does not stretch back to 1980, the finger on the trigger belonged to JR's lover Kristin Sheppard.

She took her revenge after JR went back on his word that he would divorce her sister Sue Ellen and marry her instead.

Since Dallas topped the ratings with the cliffhanger, a host of British soaps have followed suit by attempting to bump off their star players.

Watery grave

Phil Mitchell's shooting will be at least the third seen in the Square.

Dirty Den was sent to a watery grave by a mystery gunman, hiding his weapon in a bunch of flowers.

His body was last seen plunging into the Walford canal, after The Firm successfully stopped him testifying in a court case.

Fish shop owner Ian Beale was next on the hit list after wife Cindy Beale decided she wanted him out of her life.

Dirty Den
Dirty Den met a watery grave
She hired an assassin who botched the job, leaving Ian very much alive and free to roam Albert Square for years to come.

Cindy was eventually convicted of conspiring to kill her husband and died behind bars.

Emmerdale

Shootouts have also proved a favourite for Emmerdale producers who have whipped out the shooters on a number of occasions.

Zoe Tate pulled the trigger on her long-lost brother Liam after he held her other sibling Chris Tate captive in a basement.

The death was covered up and it looks like Zoe has got away with it.

Her long-suffering husband Vic Windsor took a bullet during a raid on the Post Office one Christmas.

The master criminal in this case was Andy Sugden's real father Billy Hopwood.

Brookside

Over in Brookside Close, the guns were out when Lindsey Corkhill decided she wanted to play gangster.

And in a new storyline Ron Dixon has inquired about getting his hands on a gun following a siege in his home.

It is rumoured the plot will mirror the real life events surrounding farmer Tony Martin who was found guilty of murdering a teenage intruder at his secluded home.

Coronation Street

A supermarket raid gone horribly wrong is featuring in Coronation Street.

Linda Baldwin's brother, who staged the robbery at Freshco's, was shot by police marksman Emma Watts.

She has been cleared of any wrongdoing but there is still a bitter air between the families.

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See also:

01 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Bets fly on Square shooting
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Weakest EastEnder exposed
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