Johnny Allen (EastEnders)
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|Portrayed by||Billy Murray|
|First appearance||4 January 2005|
|Last appearance||19 October 2006|
|Created by||Kathleen Hutchison|
Jonathan "Johnny" Allen is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Billy Murray. Johnny appears on the show from 4 January 2005 until 19 October 2006, when he suffers a fatal heart attack while serving his prison sentence. Johnny is one of the show's biggest villains, terrorising several other characters and going to extreme lengths to gain the upper hand over his rivals. An old East End gangster, Johnny is responsible for the deaths of Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs) and Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman) and is also central to the Get Johnny Week storyline that concludes in his eventual departure from the show.
Johnny Allen was born to a deprived family in Walford in the early 1940s. He was educated and grew up where he became familiar with the locals such as the Beale family. Johnny went on to become a boxer from an early age, but got involved in the criminal underworld. In the late 1950s, when he started as an up-and-coming gangster and he employed a well-known prostitute Pat Harris with whom he had several flings before she married Pete Beale in 1961. Johnny also employed a fellow boxer in the late 1960s, named Eric Mitchell. Johnny used to bully Eric because Eric was a better boxer than he was and the two developed a strong feud. Johnny also knew Eric's wife, Peggy, who used to try and seduce him out of desperation but he turned her down. Allen was a well-known man of the underworld and became notorious in the East End of London because he killed and tortured people including those who worked for him. Johnny left Walford when he grew older, presumably in the early 1970s, in order to expand his flourishing business empire named J.A. Enterprises but he still worked as a gangster but lived in his mansion in Essex. He married a woman named Stephanie, and they had two daughters: Scarlett (born 1986) and Ruby (born 1988). In 1994, he began an affair with Tina Stewart, a barmaid who worked for him but was many years his junior, who went on to become his partner. His wife, Stephanie, and his eldest daughter, Scarlett, were killed in an arson attack by one of his criminal rivals.
Johnny makes his first appearance to back-up Jake and Danny Moon (Joel Beckett) and (Jake Maskall) from the crime boss Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs), who they have a feud with. Johnny soon begins appearing more often, to sort out the Moon brothers' problems. After a while, he buys the nightclub "Angie's Den" (renaming it "Scarlet", after his deceased daughter) and the Ferreira family's flat, and moves in with his only daughter, Ruby (Louisa Lytton). The rivalry between Johnny and Andy Hunter escaltes, which leads to Johnny killing Andy by throwing him off a motorway bridge in February 2005, coincidentally on the same night of Den Watts's (Leslie Grantham) murder; Andy's death is wrongly believed to have been suicide. After Jake and Danny buy stolen alcohol to use in Scarlet, Johnny fires them. After Johnny steals Danny's idea for a Salsa night at the club, Danny goes to Johnny's house in a drunken state, and sets it on fire. Johnny hunts down Jake and Danny, drives them to the woods and prepares to shoot Danny. Jake pleads for mercy, and Johnny then lets both of them go and orders them to leave Albert Square and never return. Jake, however, does return on his own in September, and tells Johnny he is there for personal reasons, so Johnny lets him stay.
Johnny's former mistress, Tina Stewart (Charlotte Avery), follows him to Walford, and the two recommence their relationship. When Ruby finds out she is upset, but eventually accepts Tina and they live as a family for a while. But Johnny soon tires of Tina, and cheats on her with Amy (Nina Fry), one of the barmaids working at Scarlet. When Ruby discovers this she tells Tina, who leaves Johnny and the Square. After putting in an offer for The Queen Victoria pub, he sparks a war between him and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor), whose offer he outbids. It is soon revealed that there is history between the two; her deceased husband Eric had worked for Johnny, many years earlier, and they had also come across each other when it came to boxing. Generally, Johnny had mistreated Eric, and Peggy blames this for the reason Eric took it out on her. Peggy also has knowledge of Johnny's past crimes, such as cutting the fingers off the hand of a prostitute, and beating up a man for disrespecting him by misspelling something on a birthday cake. Johnny's daughter, Ruby, walks into the pub as the story unravels. It is here that Ruby began to learn of her father's true past, as well as the fact that he may be to blame for the death of her mother and sister.
Johnny's feud with the Mitchell family continues. In November 2005, Johnny notices that the CCTV system at Scarlet has recorded Chrissie Watts (Tracy-Ann Oberman) confiding in Jake Moon that she had been the one who had murdered her husband Den, a crime for which Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) is being held by the police. In order to provoke the Mitchells, Johnny deliberately lets them know about the tape, leading to Phil and Grant Mitchell (Steve McFadden and Ross Kemp) being involved in a stand-off with an armed Johnny. It is only diffused by Ruby, and the Mitchells leave with the tape. After some time Phil then pays Juley Smith (Joseph Kpobie) to have a relationship with Ruby, much to Johnny's annoyance. After Johnny argues with Juley at a party, Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman) throws Johnny out. Johnny threatens Dennis, leading to Dennis brutally beating him up. A badly beaten Johnny calls an associate and orders him to kill Dennis. As Dennis walks across the Square he is stabbed by a hooded passer-by (later revealed to be Danny Moon) and dies. Johnny leaves Walford with Ruby soon after this on 19 January 2006.
On 28 March, as part of a week-long storyline entitled "Get Johnny Week", Phil and Grant track down Johnny to his country house in Essex, to get revenge for Dennis's murder. However Johnny catches the Mitchell brothers, and orders Danny Moon to kill them. However, Danny's brother Jake arrives and shoots Danny, killing him instantly. Ruby discovers the true extent of Johnny's crimes, and contacts the police, threatening to disown Johnny if he doesn't confess. Johnny then hands himself in, and confesses everything about his life of crime. He is subsequently convicted of being involved in the murders of both Andy Hunter and Dennis Rickman, along with four others. He later receives life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should serve at least 27 years.
In October, Johnny was seen again in prison when Jake Moon contacts him telling him he is concerned about Ruby's new relationship with Sean Slater (Robert Kazinsky). Johnny arranges for Sean to visit him, where Sean taunts him, and gives out hints that he is only dating Ruby for her money. Johnny then suffered a heart attack in prison after being taunted by Sean. After the visit Johnny attempts to phone Jake to order him to kill Sean, but he has a heart attack before he can dial, and only mananges to whisper "Jake... kill him for me". Johnny's cellmate mistakenly claims that Johnny wants Jake dead instead of Sean, leading to Jake being confronted by a stranger and presumedly killed. Johnny is rushed to hospital and dies there.
Johnny was long forgotten until January 2014 when Sharon and Phil mentioned Johnny in a conversation when Phil confessed to Sharon that he was the reason Dennis died back in 2005.