More than 20 years after his first appearance on long-running soap opera EastEnders, the popular character of Phil Mitchell has at last got round to clearing his throat, suddenly enabling him to talk like a normal person.
The unlikely storyline sees an encounter between Phil and a crowd of speech therapists and elocution experts who descend on The Queen Vic after a field trip to East London to investigate fictional dialects. After a consultation by the bar lasting almost 30 seconds, a Professor of Linguistics at Walford University suggests to Phil that his unique vocal delivery might achieve greater comprehensibility if he took the radical step of coughing and removing the build-up of more than two decades worth of catarrh on his larynx.
The show’s writers are now struggling with the implications for the character’s criminal reputation. ‘On the one hand he now speaks with the precise camp enunciation of Richard E. Grant, but on the other he can now sneak up on his victims without his audible wheezing giving him away.’