Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide and sexual abuse that some readers may find upsetting.
EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders has given us a first-look at Linda Carter's dramatic New Year as she faces a life-changing decision about the future of her marriage.
The BBC has dropped a first-look teaser trailer for the soap's New Year episodes and it promises that Linda (Kellie Bright), her husband Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and her lover Max Branning (Jake Wood) all have a tumultuous time in store.
As Mick continues to come to terms with the truth about his childhood abuse following the reappearance of care home worker Katy Lewis (Simone Lahbib) in his life, he has been steadily pushing Linda away as he struggles to communicate with her about how he is feeling.
Feeling rejected by Mick, Linda has begun an affair with Max and she is about to reach a major crossroads when Max presents her with tickets to New Zealand for the pair of them, as he reveals that he wants them to escape Walford together.
The trailer gives us our first proper look at Linda's dilemma, as Max announces that he wants a "new life" away from the Square and waits for Linda to join him in central London so that they can head to New Zealand together.
But while Max makes plans for his new life with Linda, Mick appears to be having a breakthrough as he admits "I've not been honest" and sits with an emotional Linda on a bench in the Square.
Mick is later seen running to find Linda, who is walking alone and seemingly trying to work out what she should do. Linda is clearly torn as she reflects on her situation, thinking about how a "fairy tale ending" can disappear over time.
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) December 26, 2020
She has two men hoping for her to join them, but who will Linda choose to be with on New Year – and perhaps for the rest of her life?
We already know that Mick will consider taking his own life on New Year's Eve in a heartbreaking storyline, as he feels that he has nobody to turn to.
The EastEnders team have worked with charity Samaritans on the story, with the soap's boss Jon Sen saying that "working with the Samaritans has been invaluable to ensure that Mick's story is true to life" and added that they have been "a huge support".
"Danny gives an incredible performance and we hope his portrayal of Mick's trauma will help dispel the stigma that survivors are often burdened with," he said.
EastEnders continues on Monday, December 28 at 8.35pm on BBC One.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland's helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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