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Lucy Benjamin, aka Lisa Shaw
talks about the twists and turns
 real 56k

Matt Wells, The Guardian
"One of the greatest TV soap moments"
 real 56k

Soap critic Tina Baker
"Excellent acting from Steve McFadden and Lucy Benjamin"
 real 56k

Friday, 6 April, 2001, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Soap climax watched by 20m
Steve McFadean and Lucy Benjamin
Phil Mitchell confronts Lisa Shaw on EastEnders
More than 20 million viewers saw Lisa Shaw unmasked as Phil Mitchell's would-be assassin in BBC One soap EastEnders, according to unofficial audience figures.

The overnight ratings show an average of 17.9 million people saw the 40-minute long episode on Thursday.

But figures released on Friday afternoon showed the audience peaked at just over 20 million people - a 76% share of the audience - as Lisa, played by Lucy Benjamin, was confronted by ex-boyfriend Phil (Steve McFadden).

Lucy Benjamin with Steve McFadean
"It was you"
The BBC has declared its delight at the ratings hit.

"EastEnders continues as the nation's number one popular drama with first class action, great directing and fantastic storylines," BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey said.

The National Grid also reported that the end of the episode created the third largest power surge on record.

Only the penalty shoot-out between England and Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-finals and the 1984 climax of the Thorn Birds drama caused a bigger increase in electricity demand.

Keeping mum

Lucy Benjamin admitted on BBC One's Breakfast News it was difficult keeping the secret.

"I have to confess I did tell my mum. I wasn't meant to but I had to get it off my chest," she revealed.

The rest of the cast were kept in the dark so as to ensure the plot did not leak out.

"I think they had their suspicions but nobody knew," said Benjamin.

"If they did have me as their number one suspect, no-one pressured me to tell the truth."

Payouts

Lucy Benjamin
A distraught Lisa Shaw played by actress Lucy Benjamin
Lisa Shaw was the odds on favourite at 8-11 in betting leading up to Thursday's broadcast.

Bookmakers had said that they would not pay out until a conviction is made for the "crime".

But bookmakers William Hill now say they will pay out to punters who backed Shaw and will also pay up if somebody other than Shaw is subsequently convicted of the shooting.

They said that if anybody else but Shaw was convicted it would be a "clear miscarriage of justice" but they would still pay out in that eventuality.

Gripping

The EastEnders storyline has gripped viewers since the former Queen Victoria landlord was gunned down outside his Albert Square home five weeks ago.

Steve McFadean and Lucy Benjamin
Shaw tries to win Mitchell around to having a relationship again
The revelation of the would-be assassin was eagerly awaited.

Thousands of bets were placed by punters who thought they knew the attacker's identity.

The five main suspects were Steve Owen (Martin Kemp), Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass), Mark Fowler (Todd Carty), Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin) and Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt).

Owen, Fowler and Beale also featured heavily in Thursday's episode, fueling questions as to their involvement in the shooting.

All were exonerated, but the programme ended with Mitchell vowing to "get" Owen and Sullivan.

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Soap climax watched by 20m
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