The EastEnders cliffhanger was ruined for thousands on Thursday night by an email revealing who shot soap villain Phil Mitchell.
Hours before twenty million viewers tuned in to watch the unmasking of Phil Mitchell's would-be-assassin, a missive was forwarded to thousands of computer users around the country naming ex-girlfriend Lisa Shaw as the assailant. The memo is thought to have originated from the BBC.
The email -- entitled "The truth, only read if you wanna know who shot Phil" -- revealed, "Lisa shot Phil. She still has the gun [Steve's] and Phil takes this from her." It then went on to suggest that in the next few weeks, Phil organises a set-up to frame Dan for the murder attempt in the eyes of the police.
In the episode that was the biggest whodunnit since JR Ewing was shot in Dallas, Lisa admitted shooting Phil. The entire EastEnders cast had been kept in the dark about the identity of the assailant in order to avoid the plot leaking out. The mole responsible for writing the email is thought to have been someone on the BBC production team.
The overnight ratings peaked half-way through the episode at 19.8 million people -- 74.5 percent of the viewing public. The National Grid reported that the end of the episode created the third-biggest power surge on record.
The number of people losing their jobs in the UK for circulating emails regarded as unsuitable for their company's image or reputation is high. Last month, a bogus email from a London law firm announcing the murder of a company secretary resulted in four employees facing disciplinary action.
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