EastEnders fans ‘rumble’ identity of Albie’s dad – and it’s not Keanu or Phil

EastEnders viewers believe there could be a twist in the storyline surrounding the identity of youngster Albie Watts.

On Wednesday night's episode of the BBC show it was revealed that there was no way Keanu Taylor could have fathered the child with Sharon Watts, as he lacked the gene that resulted in Albie's Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AADT). The defect can lead to lung and liver problems and can only occur if both parents are carriers.

After ordering hospital blood tests it was confirmed by doctors that Sharon has the gene – though Keanu doesn't, meaning it is impossible for him to be the four-year old's father. It comes after Keanu and Sharon embarked on a steamy affair in 2018 – behind the latter's then-husband, Phil Mitchell's back.

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With the news seemingly confirming Phil is Albie's dad, some fans think its a smokescreen for a paternity shock in the future. Shortly after Albie was born, tests appeared to rule Phil out as there was no DNA match. Now though Albert Square buffs say there could have been a mix-up.

One theory is Ian Beale could be the dad, whilst another speculates a mystery man not residing in Albert Square. Some fans believe the identity will be made clear at Christmas, culminating in the death of the father after he learns the truth.

Actress Letitia Dean who plays Sharon said of the twist: "She’s in total disbelief, she just cannot believe it. Not for one moment since she did the original paternity test has she ever considered that Phil could be his dad. It’s a great surprise and one that makes so much sense. Sharon and Phil have such a history together."

She continued: "In one way it feels like it’s bought their story full-circle, but in another it feels like their story has only just begun. It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. She doesn’t know what to do – she’s absolutely flawed! Sharon and Keanu have only just rekindled their engagement after months of an off and on relationship, and she knows full well that this news will blow that apart!

"On the other hand, there is such a mutual respect between Sharon and Phil, and deep down I don’t think she could or would want to keep this news from him, but he also doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to parenting so she’s worried about the influence he could have on Albie. The stakes are so high as she could stand to lose Keanu if she admits the truth."

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According to the NHS, there are many different genetic variants of AAT, affecting one in 3000 in the UK. It is under diagnosed, especially in adults, however it is relatively easy to detect by testing. Early diagnosis leads to prolonged life expectancy, therefore 'cascade' screening of close relatives of affected individuals is recommended.

AATD most commonly presents as an adult-onset respiratory condition. The lack of sufficient levels of AAT leads to lung damage by the proteinase enzymes, especially if combined with the patient smoking, or being exposed to cigarette smoke passively.

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