|Portrayed by||Gareth Hunt|
|First appearance||10 April 2001|
|Last appearance||12 April 2001|
Ritchie Stringer, played by Gareth Hunt, is a gang boss who knows Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). Phil contacts him in April 2001 to call in a few favours. Ritchie and Phil have a mutual acquaintance, Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass). Phil asks Ritchie to help him frame Dan. Dan had worked for Ritchie in the past, and so he does not suspect anything untoward when Ritchie provides him with a gun to do a raid on Phil. However it is all part of Phil's plan, and Dan is caught by the police in the middle of the armed robbery. It transpires that the gun Ritchie had given Dan is the same gun that Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin) had used to shoot Phil earlier that year. Dan is blamed for the shooting.
Ritchie Stringer was 10/3 at Ladbrokes bookmakers as the culprit in the "Who Shot Phil?" storyline, despite not being one of the named suspects. When the BBC announced that actor Gareth Hunt was appearing in EastEnders, there was a massive betting flurry on Ritchie being the culprit. Bookmakers William Hill even "closed the book". William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe commented that there were "dozens of calls" within half an hour of a 16/1 price being quoted and the bookmakers had nearly been "knocked over in the rush of punters wanting to place bets of hundreds of pounds on the actor". William Hill decided to reopen the book later in the week after "information from unofficial BBC sources had convinced them that character not the killer."
Read more about this topic: List Of East Enders Characters (2001)