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Hey, can I give you one final tip? [...] Don't bother to retire, it's too much old graft. There's always one that drags you back. Enjoy your flight!
~ Johnny Allen before killing his gangland rival Andy Hunter for attempting to swindle Johnny's £750,000 in a criminal transaction between them.

Jonathan "Johnny" Allen is a fictional character and recurring antagonist of the BBC British soap opera EastEnders. He served as the show's primary antagonist throughout 2005 and 2006.

He was an aggressive businessman and a psychopathic gangland boss who relentlessly inflicted his reign of terror upon several other characters in Albert Square and went to extreme lengths in order to maintain the upper hand over those around him - specifically against the Mitchell family due to his personal history with him. Arguably one of the show's most dangerous and ruthless villains to date of all-time, Johnny's most notable crimes were murdering fellow crime lord Andy Hunter and ordering the death of hardman Dennis Rickman. He was also one of the biggest enemies of the square's two undisputed career criminals Phil Mitchell and his brother Grant Mitchell, both respectively known as "The Mitchell Brothers". Furthermore, Johnny was the father of Ruby Allen; her late sister Scarlet and their late mother Stephanie were killed by Johnny's gangland rivals back in 2004.

He was portrayed by Billy Murray, who played Don Beech in The Bill, and also voiced Captain Price in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series.

Biography

Background

Born to and raised by an impoverished family in the 1940s, Johnny Allen was educated and grew up in Walford - becoming familiar with fellow local residents such as the Beale Family as well as infamous publican Den Watts. At an early age, he became a boxer and quickly became involved with the gangland underworld; by the early 50s, he was an up-and-coming gangster who soon employed local prostitute Pat Harris; they had several things together until Pat went on to marry Den's best friend, Pete Beale, in 1961.

By the late 60s, Johnny had fellow boxer Eric Mitchell under his employment. Jealous at Eric for being a more talented boxer than himself, Johnny began bullying him - thus sparking a strong quarrel between the two men. This in turn caused Eric to mistreat his own wife Peggy, who grew fed up with the ordeal and tried to seduce Johnny; however, he rejected her. Peggy went on to blame Johnny for Eric's violent ways, as the former's bullying was what caused the latter to take his frustrations out on her. Soon enough, Johnny became notorious in London's underworld for his frequent use of torture and murder - which he even used on his own employees. His actions included cutting the fingers off a prostitute called Suzy Laura and later assaulting a man called Duggie Collins who misspelled a word on a birthday cake, which Johnny took as a sign of disrespect.

In order to expand his business empire, J.A. Enterprises, Johnny left Walford some time around the early 70s - though he still managed his criminal operations from his mansion in Essex. Some time later, he married a woman named Stephanie and together they had two daughters; Scarlet (born in 1986) and Ruby (born in 1988). However, in 1994, Johnny began an affair with Tina Stewart; she was a barmaid who worked under his employment, even though he was many years older than her. Tragedy soon struck the Allen family in March 2004, when an arson attack committed by one of Johnny's gangland rivals killed Stephanie and Scarlet. In the incident that occurred, Johnny had attempted to rescue Scarlet; but ended up saving Ruby instead, and he subsequently sent her away to boarding school.

EastEnders

In January 2005, Johnny first appeared in Walford to sort out a problem; his two henchmen, brothers Jake Moon and Danny Moon, had failed to deliver a package on his behalf. He takes care of their situation and assigns the brothers to remain in Walford with their cousin Alfie, before later arranging for them to work for their enemy Andy Hunter - also the current mob kingpin of Albert Square as well as the leader of a notorious criminal organization known as The Firm.

He soon began to appear more frequently upon helping the two brothers deal with their problems and keeping them out of trouble. Johnny eventually bought the nightclub "Angie's Den" and the snooker club next door - which he merged together and renamed "Scarlet" after his deceased daughter. Additionally, he loaned several cars to the Ferreira family's minicab firm, Toucan Cars. When three of those cars were stolen, Johnny ordered the family to leave Walford or face repercussions. After they left, he bought and moved into the flat they had resided in.

As he settles himself in Walford once more, Johnny begins to practically usurp Andy from his status as the square's reigning crime boss. At one point he exposes Andy's involvement in the death of ex-habitual offender Paul Trueman that causes most residents to resent Andy for this, which Johnny opportunistically uses to further escalate his own credibility. Eventually, Andy plans to get one over Johnny by doing a runner with his £750,000 in a illicit money transaction between them. However, after Andy's henchmen Eddie betrays his boss by revealing to Johnny his plans to do so, Johnny catches Andy out and takes him for a "conversation" on a motorway bridge. They seemingly part ways with a handshake, before Johnny then suddenly shoves Andy off the bridge to his death.

Following Andy's death, which was incorrectly ruled out as a suicide, Johnny placed Danny and Jake under his employment as doormen at Scarlet - but Danny soon became angry when Johnny refused to take him seriously and stole his business ideas, such as organizing a Salsa night. When the two brothers attempted to supply the club with stolen alcohol, Johnny fired them; this, coupled with never receiving any credit for his ideas, caused Danny to set Johnny's home on fire in a drunken rage. Johnny hunted Danny and Jake down and prepared to kill the former, but the latter pleaded for their lives; Johnny agreed to let them live, on the condition that they left Walford and never returned. However, Jake proceeded to return the following September; he later explained to Johnny that his return is for personal reasons, and so Johnny allowed him to stay.

In March 2005, Ruby ran away from boarding school and traveled to Walford to reconcile with her father. When Tina later arrived in Walford, she and Johnny recommenced their relationship. Ruby was initially upset upon discovering the two were together, as Tina had previously nearly run her over; but she eventually accepted Tina and the three of them began living together as a family. However, Johnny soon grew tired of Tina and later cheated on her with his bartender named Amy. Soon enough Ruby discovered the affair and informed Tina, and the latter confronted Johnny before dumping him and then leaving the square afterwards.

During this time, Peggy returns to Walford. She learns that Johnny is back and goes to visit him, initially to seek his help in tracking down her treacherous family lawyer Marcus Christie for retribution after Marcus' betrayal towards her. Later on, Peggy and Johnny become sworn enemies after he outbids her offer for The Queen Victoria public house. She later goes to expose Johnny's past crimes before Ruby abruptly walks in on her father, which causes her to learn the truth about Johnny as well as the possibility that he was to blame for the deaths of her mother and sister. Consequently, Peggy's actions result in Ruby turning against her father and moving out to live with her best friend Stacey Slater.

Later on, Johnny plans to have Peggy mugged in retribution for turning Ruby against him. This is foiled, however, when Peggy's two hardman sons Phil Mitchell and Grant Mitchell rescue her at the last second. The Mitchell Brothers then confront Johnny to warn him off, but he instead declares war on the Mitchell family - up to the point where he later sacks Peggy's nephew Billy Mitchell for conspiring with his family against him. In November 2005, Johnny learns via Scarlet's CCTV footage that Den's widow Chrissie has confessed to Jake - her boyfriend - that she killed her husband on the same night Andy was murdered; however, Chrissie has recently framed Peggy's daughter Sam Mitchell for Den's murder after failing to implicate Stacey's cousin Zoe Slater for the crime. Johnny soon intents to provoke the Mitchells by revealing the tape's existence to Billy as he is being sacked. Billy promptly informs Phil and Grant about this, which leads to them confronting Johnny in the nightclub. The Mitchell Brothers fight Johnny and steal the tape, but he holds them at gunpoint and threatens to shoot the two. The standoff is thereupon defused when Ruby walks to reconcile with her father. She convinces Johnny to let the Mitchell Brothers go, and he does so; Johnny's allowance to let Phil and Grant so results in them using the tape to exonerate Sam and have Chrissie arrested for Den's murder before she is then imprisoned.

Towards the end of 2005, Johnny's feud with Phil escalates. At one point Phil bribes store worker Juley Smith to date Ruby and then dump her, much to Johnny's annoyance. The ongoing conflict between them soon involves Phil's lover Sharon and her husband Dennis Rickman, whom Johnny also begins feuding with since Dennis was Andy's only friend at the time he was still around. At a Christmas party where Johnny loses his temper with everyone, Dennis humiliates him by throwing him out and mocking him on the street. Sharon later visits Johnny to try and defuse the situation between him and Dennis. When he appears to not be listening, Sharon calls him pathetic. Johnny then throttles Sharon, confesses that he killed Andy, and threatens to have Dennis murdered unless he and Sharon leave Walford by the new year. Sharon later confides to Phil about Johnny's threat along with his confession to Andy's murder.

On New Year's Eve 2005, Phil plans to get one over Johnny by the end of the year after Johnny humilates Phil for faking calling his son Ben. Soon enough, Phil decides to use Dennis to deal with Johnny for good. Phil later tells Dennis that Johnny killed Andy and throttled Sharon in order to get revenge on their shared enemy before the new year ends. At first Dennis refuses, stating that he wishes to move on from his criminal life after having murdered his old gangland boss Jack Dalton in the past. But Phil eventually goads Dennis to take revenge on Johnny for Sharon. That night, Dennis confronts Johnny and beats him up in his nightclub. Johnny survives and calls Danny back to Walford to have him kill Dennis; as the New Year celebrates commence, Dennis was stabbed by Danny and died on Albert Square in Sharon's arms.

In January 2006, following Dennis' murder, Sharon grieves over his death and Phil had mixed emotions; he is guilt-ridden for partly causing Dennis' death, but is also furious with Johnny for destroying Sharon's life by having Dennis killed and swears revenge on him more than ever. Later on at Dennis' funeral, Johnny approaches Sharon to offer his 'condolences'; she promptly attacks him and incidentally causes the square to learn that she is pregnant with her and Dennis' child - Denny. Later on Phil and Johnny each plan to eliminate the other in a showdown, especially when Johnny gets taunted by Sharon's family friend Pauline Fowler about how Phil plans to get revenge on him for Sharon's grief. However, their confrontation is abandoned when Phil instead finds Ruby has collapsed from a drunken stupor and rushes her to hospital. She recuperates and Johnny seemingly makes peace with Phil in gratitude for saving Ruby's life. When Sharon later departs the square, though, Phil promises her that he will avenge Dennis' murder for her and get revenge on Johnny.

A few days later, Johnny decides to leave the square after some residents being to speculate his role behind Dennis' murder. This includes Pat confronting him about it along with her suspicions on the cause of Andy's death, before her friend Dot Cotton later asks him in the midst of recapping how Dennis was like a son to her - in contrast to Dot's villainous son Nick Cotton. After dismissing their theories on the previous events, Johnny whisks Ruby away from Walford after selling his business and forcing her to cut ties with Stacey; later on father and daughter leave the square in a taxi.

Get Johnny Week

In March 2006, specifically the day where Johnny and Ruby recap on their family's demise two years ago, Johnny notices that Phil and Grant are at his mansion; with Phil having managed to track him down and later convincing Grant to help with his quest to exact revenge for Dennis' murder. As the Mitchell Brothers break into his mansion, Johnny hides Ruby in a safe room where she unwittingly discovers that her father has recently become an alcoholic. She furiously confronts her father for this, then leaves him at Phil's mercy before going on to have a heart-to-heart with Grant about her personal troubles. Phil then attempts to force a confession from Johnny, which is soon interrupted when Grant barges in to confront Phil after Ruby told him about his brother's actions - that Phil had paid Juley to date her and then dump her as part of his feud against Johnny.

The brothers' squabbling allowed Johnny to get away, which resulted in a car chase that ends with Johnny capturing the two at gunpoint; he later orders Danny to kill Phil and Grant the next day. Danny led the two into the woods to execute them, but then Jake intervenes and - attempting to stop his brother - shoots Danny, unintentionally killing him as a result. Elsewhere, Ruby finds Danny's phone and discovers her father's perpetuation of Dennis' murder. She thereupon confronts Johnny and calls the police before giving him a threatening ultimatum; either Johnny give up his life of crime for her by confessing all his gangland activities to the police, or she will disown him by changing her name and forgetting about it forever. Johnny reluctantly chose the former, albeit with the determination to prove his life for Ruby, and surrendered himself to the authorities. He was subsequently arrested and later charged for all the murders he committed, including that of Andy and Dennis respectively; Johnny is then sentenced to life in prison with the recommended minimum of 27 years.

While in prison, Johnny had Jake look after Ruby for him. Ruby began to date Stacey's hotheaded brother Sean Slater, who begins clashing with Jake after the latter realizes that Sean was only interested in Ruby for her money. This continues as Sean deceives Ruby into believing that Jake was trying to get in the way of their relationship and she even told him that Jake was the one who killed Danny. With Sean now having a hold over him, Jake called Johnny in prison in October to inform him of Sean's actions. Johnny arranged to for Sean to visit him in prison, hoping to intimidate him into no longer seeing Ruby. However, he was outraged when Sean appears unfazed and begins taunting him - going as far as to call Johnny a worn out has-been who was no longer "The King of Walford" anymore and thus there is nothing he can do to stop Sean from seeing Ruby. Thereafter Johnny becomes angry enough to grab Sean, but quickly refrains himself from attacking him after security attempted to intervene.

Following the visit, Johnny becomes enraged with Sean and plans to have him killed. He attempts to call Jake to arrange Sean's murder, but suddenly suffered a heart attack before could dial. As his cellmate asked him who he wanted dead, Johnny - believing Jake was on the phone - whispered "Jake...kill him for me..." before falling unconscious. Misinterpreting Johnny's words, his cellmate believed that Jake was the man he wanted dead; Jake would later be confronted by mobsters on his way out of Walford and his fate was left unknown. In the meantime Johnny was rushed to hospital, but he succumbed to his heart attack and died before Ruby can have a chance to visit him. Johnny's funeral later takes place at the end of October 2006.

Trivia

  • Billy Murray (the actor who portrayed Johnny Allen) won the "Villain of the Year" award at the 2006 British Soap Awards ceremony.
  • He made a total of 143 appearances throughout his time on the show.

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