CHANTELLE Atkins says a final goodbye to Kheerat Panesar next week in EastEnders after falling for him – before she meets her tragic end at the hands of her abusive husband Gray.
Fans of the BBC soap have been predicting that Chantelle – who is played by Jessica Plummer – will have an affair with her boss Kheerat for months after sparks flew between the pair.
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Tension between the pair came to a head back in April when a power cut trapped Chantelle alone with Kheerat at the Panesars’ call centre.
But Chantelle was more worried about how Gray would react if he found out she was alone with Kheerat and rushed off.
Next week’s episodes of EastEnders, however, will see Chantelle finally decide to leave Gray and pack her suitcase under the pretence that she’s going on a family holiday.
When Gray learns about the trip Chantelle has planned, he’s fuming she didn’t tell him but eventually agrees to let her go.
Later, Chantelle visits Kheerat and tells him about her plans to escape to a women’s refuge and never return.
But when Chantelle returns home, she’s gutted to see that Gray has persuaded her parents that the kids should stay at home with him.
Chantelle sets off on the holiday without the kids and spends most of it moping around.
Mitch notices that she seems down and asks her what’s wrong, but instead of opening up Chantelle tells him that she’s just missing Mia and Mack.
Mitch does his best to fix things and heads back to Walford to fetch them.
Meanwhile, Chantelle calls Kheerat from a cafe but, judging from the spoiler pic above, someone’s listening in on her conversation.
When Chantelle heads to meet Mitch and the kids, she’s horrified to realise that Gray has come along too.
To make matters worse, Gray doesn’t wait long to insist that he, Chantelle and the kids go back to Walford.
When Chantelle and Gray arrive back in Walford, Chantelle can’t bear being in Gray’s company any longer and blurts out that she’s leaving him.
EastEnders have revealed that, after bravely attempting to escape from Gray, Chantelle will be killed by her abuser.
The soap has worked closely with Women’s Aid and Refuge on the storyline.
Speaking about why Chantelle decides to escape to a women’s refuge rather than confiding in her family, actress Jessica Plummer said: "Chantelle’s parents have a relationship with her husband, so for her to tell her parents is to potentially not escape. Gray is clever, he’s smart and he’s not going to let her just walk out of the door. I think it’s easier for her to just run."
Speaking about the importance of the domestic abuse storyline, Jessica added: "It’s important to show that this is still domestic abuse even though it doesn’t look like the typical cowering in a corner, locked in a room versions. To the outside world Gray is charismatic, he’s charming, he’s successful – he’s perhaps not the typical person that is portrayed in domestic abuse storylines."
Talking about the tragic end to the harrowing storyline, Toby Alexander-Smith – who plays Gray – said: “It’s certainly going to be a shock for the audience and I think that it is important that it concludes in such a tragic way.
"So we’re encouraging women to speak out before that does happen because sadly it is happening. And it’s happening more and more frequently."
He added: "And the importance of this storyline is to give the women courage to speak out and to know that people are listening and to know that there are services out there to help. As shocking as it is to watch hopefully it will give the survivors out there the courage to reach out and get help."
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