Who killed Archie Mitchell

A record amount of interest has been reported for the “Who Kills Archie Mitchell” live episode of Eastenders tonight, according to bookmakers.

Archie Mitchell, the pub landlord, was bludgeoned to death with the bust of Queen Victoria that sat atop his bar.

Millions of Britons want to know who did it. The soap opera “EastEnders” in which Mitchell was a character, marks its 25th birthday Friday with a live episode. This is when 15 million viewers will learn the identity of Archie’s killer.

British soaps attract huge ratings and generate political debate, despite being gritty, unglamorous and routinely put down by cultural commentators.

“EastEnders” was launched by the BBC in 1985 as a cockney rival to the northern English soap “Coronation Street,” which is marking its 50th birthday this year. Set in Albert Square, “EastEnders” is a TV version of a typical working-class London district. There’s a Tube station, Victorian houses, a street market, a cafe, a laundromat and a pub, the Queen Victoria, that serves as the centre of community life.

Paddy Power, the Irish bookie who is renowned for running novelty bets, claim its has already been more popular than the Brits 2010.

Spokesman for Paddy Power, Darren Haines, remarked: “Who killed Archie Mitchell has really caught the imagination of the public. Everyone wants to bet on it and we’ve now taken more bets on it than this week’s Brit Awards – traditionally one of the biggest novelty betting markets of the year.”

“But it’s a murder mystery as good as it gets – there’s such a spread of suspects who punters are backing that it appears no one really knows for sure who actually did do it,” he added.