BBC flagship drama, Eastenders, once again looks set to be about to court plenty of controversy in a provocative move sure to shock its fans and critics alike. That's if the rumours circulating around soap opera circles prove to be true.
In the past the hard-hitting show has pioneered plots involving stolen babies, lesbian kisses and even a twice-murdered lead character. But now a production insider on the programme says we should be prepared for an earth shattering bombshell that will eclipse them all, as later this month one of the show's iconic characters is going to be seen smiling.
Fans have taken to Twitter in their thousands, causing the site to crash three times under the sheer weight of tweets in the first hour following the news breaking. Nearly all expressing their horror and disbelief.
And showbiz pundits were quick to warn that if the producers go ahead with such a radical departure from the show's normal wall-to-wall misery fest, and they actually do broadcast the smile, then they can expect to come in for some heavy criticism.
Speaking in Heat magazine the Walford whistleblower said, "The scene's in the can already and it hasn't half thrown us all into right two and eight I can tell you. Nobody on the programme can quite believe it's happened still. Somebody seen smiling on Albert Square beggars belief. What next, the odd chuckle, actual laughter or a light comedy storyline? They'll be calling us Coronation Street before much longer!"
"We all knew something was up when they started operating a closed-set when shooting, and when cast members were issued with scripts containing only their own lines in the preceding weeks, then naturally we thought somebody big was being killed off. But no-one would've guessed the real truth in a million years."
It's unclear at this stage who the mystery Yul Brynner is likely to be, but cheeky chappie Shane Richie who plays Alfie Moon is the bookies' favourite, and June Brown who plays Dot Branning is being offered at 4/1. Anyone fancying a flutter at long odds of 1000 / 1 may just fancy a punt on Jean Alexander who played Hilda Ogden on Corrie, in what's being seen as a preposterous and somewhat unlikely cameo appearance where she trades the cobbles for the square.
Long-term fans of the show might remember the time it was thought Arthur Fowler had once smiled in an early episode back in 1985, but producers moved quickly to scotch the suggestion at the time by issuing a statement saying that he was actually only portraying a nasty case of trapped-wind, following a particularly indigestible bacon butty bought in Ali's caff.