Welcome to Albert Square, Lisa Faulkner. As new EastEnders character Fi Browning, you currently have limitless potential. You can go anywhere and do anything. You are like a perfect flower waiting to bloom. Your destiny is completely unwritten.
However, as a blond woman on EastEnders, your potential is limited to about six things. EastEnders has a long and storied tradition of treating blond women identically, so if you want to fit in – and of course you want to fit in – here is some advice for you:
Only ever think sad thoughts
Look, you know as well as I do that you won’t have a happy time on EastEnders. Albert Square is a swirling vortex of unstoppable misery, and you are now a part of that. Perhaps you will find yourself trapped in an unhappy marriage. Perhaps you’ll get drunk and accidentally wound a vagrant. Perhaps you are on heroin, or you just watched your only relative die in a fire, or you keep abducting babies in your sleep. Whatever the reason, this torrent of bad feeling is doomed to seep into your private life. When Samantha Womack left EastEnders for the first time in 2011, she told Hello! magazine: “I worked out I’d been crying or screaming at work every day for six days a week for over two years. Can you imagine how exhausting and tiring that is? You’re crying, weeping and telling your brain something awful has happened, so of course that is going to affect you and your body.”
Be constantly out of breath
Traditionally, the EastEnders blonde has two modes: crying and wobbling their lips. This is in keeping with the blueprint set out early on by Letitia Dean’s Sharon. Perhaps you should follow her lead and be so perpetually braced for a wobbly-lipped crying fit that your default speaking voice becomes low and breathy, like you just chased a chicken up a big hill. You will find it helps when you are inevitably given a storyline where you crash a car into a laundrette and kill your long-lost brother who you were also secretly married to.
Preferably, be a Mitchell
The only way out of your preordained predicament is to be a member of the Mitchell family. They are the only blondes on EastEnders who ever get to have any fun. If you are a Mitchell, you get to be a bit brassy and have a few scenes where you can let your hair down and maybe lip-sync to a Little Mix song that’s playing in your awful pub. Obviously this won’t last, and soon it will be revealed that you are a compulsive alcoholic with deep-set daddy issues, but try to live in the moment while you can.
If you can’t be a Mitchell, bed a Mitchell
But you are not a Mitchell, so it is only a matter of time before you end up having sex with one. This happens to a surprisingly huge number of blond women. Preferably, you’ll have sex with one Mitchell, then marry him, then have sex with his brother, then leave the first Mitchell, marry the second Mitchell and start having sex with the first Mitchell again. But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Kill or be killed
One thing is for sure: death will stalk your every waking hour. There is an enormous chance that you will end up murdering somebody; after all, Ronnie Mitchell killed someone and Roxy Mitchell killed someone and Chrissie Watts killed someone and Janine Butcher killed a tonne of people. Peggy Mitchell, meanwhile, killed herself. Failing that, by my estimation, 15 blond women have died on EastEnders so far, so don’t be surprised if you’re next. Not that death is the end, of course. Kathy Beale died at the turn of the millennium, and she’s still gadding about the square like nothing ever happened.
Or perhaps you will stick it out for decades
In which case, congratulations! You’re the new Pat Butcher! Enjoy your life of garish misery, Fi!