As Cindy Beale Returns To EastEnders, Here's The Full Lowdown On The Iconic Character

Michelle Collins' iconic character is "back from the dead" to stir up more trouble. Here's Cindy Beale's full story.
Look who's back...
Look who's back...
BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

It’s been a whopping 25 years since Cindy Beale was last seen in Albert Square, but the latest episode of EastEnders has confirmed her shock return (from the dead, no less).

In scenes that aired on Wednesday night, it was revealed that soap legend Michelle Collins has reprised the iconic character, famed for being one of the many cheating ex-wives of Ian Beale (played by Adam Woodyatt).

Of course, Cindy was a central character in the BBC soap up until her supposed off-screen death way back in 1998, making her comeback all the more surprising.

Need to jog your memory on Cindy? We’ve got you covered.

What happened to Cindy Beale in EastEnders?

Cindy first arrived in Walford in 1988 and quickly began dating barman Simon Wicks (played by Nick Barry).

Eventually growing tired of his womanising, she moved on with Ian Beale and the pair became engaged one year later – but disaster was right around the corner.

Adam Woodyatt and Michelle Collins as Ian and Cindy Beale
Adam Woodyatt and Michelle Collins as Ian and Cindy Beale

After working with Simon in the Queen Vic one night, the pair ended up having sex, leading to Cindy getting pregnant with her first child, Steven.

Rather than coming clean about her affair, Cindy married Ian and pretended that he was Steven’s father. The truth eventually came out, though, when Simon suddenly had a change of heart and decided he wanted to be a part of Steven’s life, convincing Cindy to leave Ian.

As a result, Ian became fixated on ruining Simon’s life, and after he tried to sabotage the brakes on Simon’s van, Simon left Albert Square with Cindy on Boxing Day 1990.

Fast-forward three years, and Cindy was eventually convinced to move back to the Square by Ian, who discovered that Simon had abandoned her.

They reconciled, and Cindy got pregnant with twins in 1993, but disaster struck again when Richard Cole (Ian Reddington) made up a story that he was the twins’ biological father and spread it around Walford, after she rejected his advances.

Luckily, Cindy managed to patch things up with Ian just before they welcomed twins Lucy and Peter, but their relationship hit another crossroads in 1995 when she started an affair with his half-brother David Wickes (Michael French). During the affair, David’s acquaintance Barry Evans (Shaun Williamson) gave the pair a place where they could meet in private.

After growing suspicious of his wife, Ian hired a private investigator, who confirmed she was cheating on him, and he threatened to take her to court to gain custody of their kids.

Michelle Collins pictured on the set of EastEnders during her previous stint
Michelle Collins pictured on the set of EastEnders during her previous stint

In 1996, David called the fling off, but because Cindy was so obsessed with the idea of running away with him, she decided to hire hitman John Valecue (Steve Weston) to get Ian out of the picture once and for all.

Despite changing her mind at the eleventh hour about having Ian killed, he was later shot down in front of her.

The police were quick to suspect Cindy’s involvement with the attempted murder, so with the help of Barry, she fled to Italy with her two sons but without Lucy, and leaving John behind to go down for the crime.

One year later, in 1997, Ian’s private investigator tracked Cindy down in Italy. Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and his brother Grant (Ross Kemp) found her and abducted her sons, with Ian then retreiving them and bringing them back to the Square.

As a result, Cindy followed Ian to Walford with her new boyfriend, Nick Holland (Dominic Taylor), later taking Ian to court for custody of their children..

At the same time, Ian’s associates paid hitman John a visit in prison and convinced him to tell the police of Cindy’s involvement in his shooting. She was then arrested for conspiracy to murder.

Ian eventually won full custody of the children, and Cindy was charged and remanded in custody while pregnant with Nick’s child.

In November 1998, Ian discovered the news that his ex-wife had died in childbirth, with the little girl surviving. He decided to name the newborn Cindy, after her “late” mother.

If that all feels like too much to digest, EastEnders has helpfully put together a video montage to get you up to speed, which you can watch below:

How is Cindy back in EastEnders?

In Wednesday’s episode (June 21) it’s revealed that Cindy never died… cue the duff duffs.

Fans learned that she had, in fact, assumed the identity of Rose Knight, the estranged wife of new man on the Square, George Knight (Colin Salmon), and the mother of Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna (Molly Rainford).

Recent scenes have seen Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) attempting to figure out what happened to George’s “missing” wife, as he prepares to marry her mum, Elaine (Harriet Thorpe).

The latest instalment saw Phil tell George that Rose Knight never existed and that he’s been royally played.

At the end of the episode, Cindy’s very camp comeback scene revealed her looking at an incoming call from George, before turning her phone over and sipping a glass of wine.

Find out how it all unfolds during Thursday night’s EastEnders at 7.30pm on BBC One. And if you can’t hang on until then… here’s a preview of what’s to come:


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