The Ender Dennis; DEATH OF TV HUNK.
EASTENDERS heart-throb Dennis Rickman lies murdered as distraught wife Sharon is comforted by Pauline Fowler.
In harrowing scenes to be screened tonight pregnant Sharon howls with grief as she finds him in a pool of blood.
Dennis is stabbed to death on the snowy pavement outside the Queen Vic following a bust-up with gangster Johnny Allen.
But after Johnny was left fighting for life on the floor of his office by Dennis - played by Nigel Harman - viewers will be left wondering who carried out the killing.
An insider said: "The timing is particularly sad because Sharon and Dennis were about to leave Walford to make a fresh start. Everyone is totally devastated."
Now there's just one question on everybody's lips - Who Dun Dennis?
The murder happens as regulars gather outside the Vic to count in the New Year.
Dennis was making his way across Albert Square to be with Sharon after cleaning himself up following the fight with Johnny.
At the end of the punch-up Dennis left his rival a lifeline by putting his mobile phone within reach.
Now it seems the gesture may have cost him his life.
Nigel, 32, announced in August he was quitting the BBC1 soap after two years as Dennis.
He is currently starring in the West End musical Guys and Dolls.
DEN 'N' GONE: Pauline tries to console Sharon