Cindy Williams (EastEnders)
|Portrayed by||Ella Wortley (1998–99)
Cydney Parker (1998–99)
Eva Sayer (2007)
Mimi Keene (2013–)
|Duration||1998–99, 2007, 2013–|
|First appearance||9 November 1998|
|Introduced by||Matthew Robinson (1998)
Diederick Santer (2007)
Lorraine Newman (2013)
Cindy Williams is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by three actresses since being introduced in 1998. Her mother, Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins), died in labour with her, and she was therefore brought up by her maternal grandmother and aunt off-screen. Ella Wortley and Cydney Parker both portrayed the role from 1998 to 1999, followed by Eva Sayer in a brief appearance in 2007. On 18 July 2013, it was announced that Cindy would return to the series as a regular character, with Mimi Keene taking over the role. Cindy had left her home in Devon, to join her half-siblings Peter (Ben Hardy) and Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) in Walford. Since being re-established in 2013, she has featured in storylines that saw her learn of (and subsequently come to terms with) the murder of sister Lucy, and also become a teenage mother to daughter Beth Williams.
Cindy Williams (Ella Wortley and Cydney Parker) is born to Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) and Nick Holland (Dominic Taylor) on 5 November 1998 in prison, as her mother is serving time for the attempted murder of her former husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt). Cindy Sr dies immediately after the birth due to an embolism, and Nick, who had stayed with her after she was charged and held on remand, abandoned her after realizing she was guilty of shooting Ian, without leaving her with any money for a lawyer. He never returned for his daughter, so Cindy is taken by her grandmother Bev Williams (Diane Langton) and aunt Gina (Nicola Cowper) to live with them in Devon. Bev is unwilling to look after Cindy due to her age and suggests that Ian has her, but Gina contests this and eventually Ian allows her to live with her aunt.
Ian visits Gina and Cindy Jr in 2007, when he believes that Gina may be sending him poison pen letters pretending to be her sister. Upon arriving at her house and entering without permission, he is unnerved by the shrine Gina has created for Cindy Sr in her living room. Gina greets Ian from behind a shotgun, frightening him, but she then assures him that both she and her dead sister have put the past behind them. Ian is further concerned when Gina says she regularly "converses with" Cindy, who had even told her to expect Ian's visit. He accuses Gina of stalking him and isn't convinced when she denies responsibility. He advises her to seek professional help. Gina then reintroduces an 8-year-old Cindy (Eva Sayer) to Ian. He is later kidnapped by the real stalker, Cindy's son Steven Beale (Aaron Sidwell). Ian's wife Jane Beale (Laurie Brett) becomes frantic, and when Gina arrives in Walford to give Ian a photo of Cindy Jr., Jane is furious, and accuses Gina of terrorising Ian, leading to them nearly coming to blows. Gina then leaves.
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In August 2013, 14-year-old Cindy (now Mimi Keene) breaks into Ian's house on her arrival in Walford, wanting to see her half-brother Peter (Ben Hardy) about something that happened to them before he left Devon. Peter tries to drive her away, not wanting his secret to be revealed, but Ian allows her to stay. However, she causes trouble by stealing £10,000 from Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and persuading Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker) to help her win the Miss Teen Vic beauty pageant by rigging the votes, offering him 50 percent of the winnings. After making it to the final with Poppy Meadow (Rachel Bright), she is announced as the winner. Cindy later falls pregnant by TJ Spraggan (George Sargeant) in January 2014 after a one-night stand, but keeps this from Ian in fear he will send her back to Devon. Ian hears her boasting that she had sex with Liam Butcher (James Forde) and as Cindy is under-age, threatens to report him to the police, forcing Cindy to confess that she made it up to impress TJ. Depressed by the situation surrounding her pregnancy, Cindy drinks heavily and has sex with Liam. She is later found in a paralytic state by kind-hearted Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White), who takes her to hospital with the help of her friend Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy). When Ian discovers her pregnancy and confronts Liam, he denies responsibility - prompting TJ to admit he is the father. Cindy and TJ decide they are committed to raising their baby together, despite initial concern from both families. Ian then accepts her into the family, with his ex-wife Jane supporting Cindy by taking her for her first ultrasound scan. In April, Cindy struggles to hide her resentment over Ian favoring her half-sister Lucy (Hetti Bywater), and tells him there are a lot of things he doesn't know about Lucy. When questioned, she reveals to Ian and Jane that Lucy has a cocaine addiction, as she has witnessed Lucy hiding the drugs in her jewellery box. Soon after, Lucy is murdered in mysterious circumstances on Good Friday, devastating Cindy and the Beales. During an interview with Ian, Cindy reveals Lucy's drug addiction to the police, angering him, as he is convinced Lucy only took drugs as a one-off. When he sees her pick up Lucy's jumper, he loses his temper and forcibly pushes her out of the house. Although Ian soon regrets his actions, she refuses to stay and goes to Devon in a taxi with Gina. She returns briefly for Lucy's funeral to say goodbye to her sister, but when Ian tries to make amends with her, she reminds him that she knows he is lying about his alibi for Good Friday.
In August, a heavily pregnant Cindy makes an unexpected return to Walford and meets Ian, who is trying to reconcile with his fiancée Denise Fox (Diane Parish). He initially shows little interest until he notices Cindy is suffering from intense stomach cramps, and she admits she is in labour, revealing she ran away after discovering Gina and Bev were planning to have her baby adopted straight after the birth. Ian then helps her deliver a daughter, Beth Williams, named after singer Beth Ditto, in the Beales' front room. Cindy reconciles with Ian, but Denise decides to leave him days later, after she had discovered Ian's affair with prostitute Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks) on Good Friday. Despite no longer loving him, she had stayed out of duty to support him after Lucy's death until she realised Ian had repeatedly tried to manipulate her into putting Patrick into a home, as Patrick had found out about Ian and Rainie, before suffering a severe stroke that left him unable to speak. Cindy introduces TJ to his daughter, but he struggles to bond with Beth and admits that he can't cope with being a father, upsetting Cindy, before announcing that he is moving to Milton Keynes with his dad and Bianca's family. He later attempts to apologise and make amends with Cindy, also offering to support her financially. She refuses to take any money, but they make up. Liam later chooses to stay behind when his family depart in September, and supports Cindy when she admits she struggles to cope with being a single mother to Beth. When she tries to kiss him, he is forced to admit he does not fancy her any more. Jane turns up at the Beales' house in November, as she has come looking for news of Cindy's adoptive brother Bobby (Eliot Carrington), who has run away from where they were staying in Birmingham. They are both relieved when her former boyfriend Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) finds him asleep on Walford Common, and Bobby admits that he wants to be back with the family, delighting everyone, so Jane and Bobby move into Masood's. A month later, Ian becomes cold towards Peter upon his return from New Zealand, after it is discovered that Peter was supplying Lucy with cocaine, ruining his surprise proposal to Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa), leading her to reject him. Despite Peter revealing he only passed the drugs onto Lucy from the dealer so she wouldn't be in danger, Ian refuses to forgive him, disowning him as his son. Cindy then attempts to throw a party for Peter's 21st birthday, but this backfires as he is painfully reminded of Lucy. After taking cocaine, Peter smashes the window of the Beales' house when his father continues to ignore him. Ian later finally forgives him after realising that he meant to protect Lucy despite passing on the drugs to her.
On Christmas Eve, Ian goes on to participate in the annual carol service, but Jane makes a shock interruption in the middle of the carols to sing "All I Want for Christmas" by Mariah Carey. When he is confused by her actions, Jane admits she loves him and proposes, which he accepts. The family then spend Christmas Day with the Brannings after the case's former Police Family Liaison Officer Emma Summerhayes (Anna Acton) has set up the meeting. Cindy finds a present addressed to Beth, and is horrified to find Lucy's jewellery box. The issue is then swept under the carpet by everyone but Emma, who tries the following week to probe information from the family, manipulating Cindy by using her grief over Lucy's death in an attempt to get more information out of her regarding her involvement. After, Jane warns her to stop asking questions as she is not on the case any more, Emma persists with trying to connect the murder evidence alone, but later dies in January 2015 after suffering a bleed to the brain caused by a car accident. Shortly before her death, she is shown sending a text she had written to the killer, telling them she "can't keep the secret". Amongst a crowd of conveniently placed 14 suspects all using their phones (meaning that one of them is actually the murderer), Cindy is one of the people shown. Ian and Jane's wedding takes place on February the 19th, but when Jane doesn't turn up, Cindy appears at the Beales' house looking for her phone, only to find her in the living room with a letter. She is suspicious when she sees how unhappy Jane looks reading the card, and notices her hesitation at the Beales' restaurant when she struggles to say her vows, although they eventually marry. Cindy is then confronted by Peter at the reception afterwards in The Queen Victoria, and is unnerved when he grabs her arm, before demanding to know where Ian is. She tells him he has gone looking for Jane back at the house, and later goes home to find Ian and Jane in a heated argument; Ian and Peter think Jane murdered Lucy. Peter explains that Lauren told him Lucy was killed at home, and Jane says that she killed Lucy following a row they had that night. However, Ian begins to notice that Jane's story doesn't add up, and believes she is covering up for Denise or Cindy, but he later works out for it to be Bobby. Jane breaks down, and explains that Bobby wanted to try and get through to Lucy, but no-one could, so he just got angry. She also explains that Bobby doesn't know he's the murderer as she said that Lucy went out with friends after returning home and was killed by someone else; he also took a lot of convincing that he didn't kill Lucy and that he felt incredibly guilty afterwards.
Bobby returns home minutes later, and Jane sends him upstairs. She admits she will protect Bobby and is willing to risk being imprisoned; Cindy also agrees that she is too. When Ian tells Peter that Bobby doesn't deserve to be punished as he never meant to kill Lucy, Peter is disgusted that his father is still willing to support Bobby after what he did, and looks to Cindy to back him up. Cindy tells him that he doesn't have a child, and therefore cannot understand the lengths a parent will go to if it means protecting them. Peter then storms out, and Cindy goes to speak with Bobby on the stairs, and reassures him that everything will be alright. She also finds a letter which Lucy wrote to her father just before her fatal death, which Bobby had kept with him all this time. Cindy returns downstairs and tearfully reads the letter of apology to a heartbroken Ian. Seeing the trauma that Jane has endured for the last ten months, Ian decides that they will keep the identity of Lucy's killer secret from Bobby and everyone else.
In 1995, Cindy Beale's chaotic relationship to husband Ian Beale had been struggling for some time. The marriage was already damaged by both partners' selfishness and Cindy's promiscuity, with Cindy growing tired of Ian, which led to the start of an affair with Ian's brother David Wicks (Michael French). However, Ian discovered their relationship and vowed to obtain custody of their children, Steven, Peter and Lucy. By October 1996, Cindy snapped and hired a hitman to kill Ian; when this proved unsuccessful she fled the country with the help of David and Barry Evans (Shaun Williamson), taking Steven and Peter to Italy.
Viewers saw her begin an affair with businessman Nick Holland (Dominic Taylor) in 1997, before she was tracked by a private investigator, with her sons abducted and taken back to England. Cindy, who had been forced to leave Lucy behind, was desperate to have her back - and followed Ian back to Walford with Nick. After gaining custody of her children, she was arrested moments later for attempted murder when Ian's associates persuade the hitman, John Valecue (Steve Weston), to tell the police that Cindy hired him. Ian is then given custody of their children, with Cindy being charged and held on remand. Although she had become pregnant with Nick's child, he abandoned her in prison after realizing her true nature and knowing she is guilty of shooting Ian.
Birth and custody battle
Cindy Beale later gave birth to her daughter off-screen in prison, but Ian was later informed that she had died in childbirth from an embolism. He was forced to break the news to their children, which devastated him. On attending her funeral, Ian met Cindy's daughter and her mother Bev Williams (Diane Langton), who suggested Ian should have custody of the baby, and Cindy was named after her mother. However, Bev's other daughter Gina (Nicola Cowper), who was unable to have children, fought Ian for custody and won. Cindy was therefore not seen again until 2007, where she made a brief appearance, played by Eva Sayer, when Ian visited Devon thinking Gina was sending him poison pen letters as Cindy.
On 18 July 2013, EastEnders revealed that Cindy would be returning, with the role recast to actress Mimi Keene, who had previously performed in Kin at London's Royal Court Theatre during 2010, before starring in Sadie J and war drama Our Girl. Keene made her first appearance as Cindy on 20 August 2013.  Cindy's initial storyline saw her threatening to reveal a secret held by her half-brother Peter Beale (Ben Hardy), who lived with her in Devon until moving back to Walford a few months earlier. On a camping holiday with Peter's friends, it was revealed that Peter goaded his best friend to swim out to sea further; where he was dragged away by rip tides to his death. Cindy's troublesome behaviour continued when she stole £10,000 belonging to Ian's long-time enemy Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and later persuaded Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker) to help her win the Miss Teen Vic beauty pageant by rigging the votes, offering him 50 percent of the winnings. After making it to the final with Poppy Meadow (Rachel Bright), she was announced as the winner.
Teenage pregnancy and Lucy's death
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In January 2014, Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) was seen to discover a positive pregnancy test. After inquiring with members of her family, Cindy was revealed as the owner. 15-year-old Cindy had slept with Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer)'s stepson TJ Spraggan (George Sargeant) earlier, having already caused friction between Ian and herself after lying about having sex with her friend - and Bianca's son - Liam Butcher (James Forde) to impress TJ. As she was under-age, a furious Ian had threatened to report Liam to the police, but Cindy had admitted she had made it up. Worried that Ian would send her back to Devon, Cindy kept the pregnancy from the family; at one point considering an abortion with the support of TJ and Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White), but decided to keep the baby. However, her situation reminded of her mother's death in giving birth to her, leading to Cindy missing school to engage in a drinking session with Liam. Liam's aunt, nurse Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) and her friend Tina, having both been teenage mothers themselves, helped a disorientated Cindy get to hospital where she is diagnosed with alcohol poisoning, nearly resulting in her losing the baby. When Ian learned of Cindy's latest behaviour, Sonia defends her and revealed the pregnancy to him. Initially believing Liam to be responsible, Ian angrily confronted him at the Jackson residence, leading to an argument between the two families, but TJ admitted to be the baby's father.  However, Ian accepted Cindy's pregnancy and agreed to support her, with TJ making the decision to help Cindy raise their child.
On 21 February 2014, it was revealed that Keene's co-star Hetti Bywater and on-screen half-sister Lucy Beale would leave the show in a "raw", "emotional" and "gritty" storyline - executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins had previously hinted towards Bywater's departure at an EastEnders press event in December 2013, stating that "there's a big, big Beale story that will hit around Easter and keep going until the anniversary." Bywater later revealed that her character would be killed off in a murder storyline in the spring. Of the decision to kill off Lucy, Bywater said: "I think it's such a big deal for viewers because not only is Lucy an iconic character because she has been in the show for 20 years, but also the whole Beale clan is so iconic and that's why it makes such a big impact. And splitting twins up is so horrific. It's going to be a great story for the Beales and start a new dark chapter for them. That's what the focus is going to be on - it's not going to be so much about the death, it's going to be about afterwards. It's going to be about the implications of it and everyone's journey." On 28 April 2014, after an argument with her father, Lucy walks out of the house and receives a text, and she leaves Albert Square to go to an unknown location. She is seen by the audience lying dead and alone on Walford Common, whilst messages from Lee, Cindy and Ian are heard playing on her phone. The following morning, her lifeless body is found, and DC Emma Summerhayes (Anna Acton) and DS Cameron Bryant (Glen Wallace) visit Ian to inform him they have found Lucy's body. After an inconsolable Ian identifies her body at the morgue, he breaks the news to Jane, Denise, Cindy, Bobby (Rory Stroud) and Peter, leaving them all devastated. The post-mortem report later reveals Lucy died because of a deliberate head injury, meaning that she has been murdered. A struggling Ian then threw Cindy out after she revealed to the police that Lucy had been taking cocaine during an interview, after which he called Gina to come and take her. When Cindy is leaving, Ian regrets his actions towards her at the last minute, and begs her to stay, but she refuses, and leaves in a taxi to go to Devon. She makes a brief return for the funeral to say goodbye to Lucy, but when Ian tries to apologise, she simply reminds him that she knows he is lying about his alibi on the night Lucy died.
Cindy returned on 28 August 2014, where it was revealed she was in labour, and that she had run away from Devon because she had discovered Gina and Bev were going to have her baby adopted immediately after the birth. Ian had been attempting to reconcile with his partner Denise Fox (Diane Parish) after she discovered he had slept with a prostitute, but after noticing she was experiencing intense stomach pains, he was forced to help Cindy deliver the baby safely. She gives birth in the Beales' front room to a daughter, Beth Williams, who she names after singer Beth Ditto. After she introduces her daughter to TJ, the new dad can't cope with being a father, and reveals he is moving to Milton Kenes with his dad and Bianca's family, upsetting her.Peter then supports her and Beth while Ian is taking a short holiday with Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) in America to take a break from recent events, having split up with Denise soon after Beth's birth. TJ later tries to make amends with Cindy and tells her he is prepared to support her financially, but she has already accepted she is going to be raising Beth alone, and refuses his money. Liam later chooses to stay behind when his family depart in September, supporting Cindy when she admits she struggles to cope with being a single mother. When she tries to kiss him, he is forced to admit he doesn't have feelings for her any more, and they decide against a relationship. After Cindy receives a Christmas present addressed to Beth, she is unnerved to find it contains Lucy's jewellery box. Emma Summerhayes, the former Police Family Liaison Officer for Lucy's murder case, had arranged a meeting for the Beales to share Christmas Day with the Brannings in the hope that she would learn something to do with the murder. When this fails, she tries again the following week to probe information from the family, manipulating Cindy by using her grief over Lucy's death in an attempt to get more information out of her regarding her involvement, until Jane makes it clear she should stop asking questions, as she is not on the case any more. Despite this, Emma persists with trying to connect the murder evidence alone, but later dies in January 2015 after suffering a bleed to the brain caused by a car accident. Shortly before her death, she is shown sending a text she had written to the killer, telling them she "can't keep the secret". Amongst a crowd of conveniently placed 14 suspects all using their phones (meaning that one of them is actually the murderer), Cindy is one of the people shown.
Ian and Jane's second wedding took place on February the 19th during EastEnders Live Week, which was broadcast 17–20 February 2015 to mark the show's 30th anniversary and featured live elements. Cindy and the other guest notice Jane's initial hesitation at the Beales' restaurant when she struggles to say her vows, but they still marry. After Cindy is confronted by Peter at the reception in The Queen Victoria, she is unnerved when he grabs her arm, before demanding to know where Ian is. She tells him he has gone looking for Jane back at the house, and later goes home to find Ian and Jane in a heated argument - Ian and Peter think Jane murdered Lucy. Peter explains that Lauren told him Lucy was killed at home, and Jane says that she killed Lucy following a row they had that night. However, Ian begins to notice that Jane's story doesn't add up, and believes she is covering up for Denise or Cindy, and later works out that the real killer is in fact Bobby. This had been revealed in the flashback episode airing on 19 February, with Hetti Bywater, Tanya Franks and Jamie Lomas returning to reprise their roles as Lucy, Rainie and alcoholic Jake Stone, and showed the events of what happened on the night of Lucy's death. When questioned, Jane breaks down, and explains that Bobby wanted to try and get through to Lucy, but no-one could, so he just got angry. She also explains that Bobby doesn't know he's the murderer as she said that Lucy went out with friends after returning home and was killed by someone else: he also took a lot of convincing that he didn't kill Lucy and that he felt incredibly guilty afterwards. Bobby returns home minutes later, and Jane sends him upstairs. She admits she will protect Bobby and is willing to risk being imprisoned; Cindy also agrees that she is. When Ian tells Peter that Bobby doesn't deserve to be punished as he never meant to kill Lucy, Peter is disgusted that his father is still willing to support Bobby after what he did, and looks to Cindy to back him up. Cindy tells him that he doesn't have a child, and therefore cannot understand the lengths a parent will go to if it means protecting them. Peter then storms out, and Cindy goes to speak with Bobby on the stairs, and reassures him that everything will be alright. She returns downstairs, and seeing the trauma that Jane has endured for the last ten months, Ian decides that they will keep the identity of Lucy's killer secret from Bobby and everyone else.
In the aftermath of the flashback episode and the full live episode, Bywater told the Digital Spy website she was shocked that Bobby was Lucy's killer, and admitted that she had only been made aware of the storyline twist a few hours before the flashback episode went out. Speaking afterwards in a live EastEnders Facebook stream, Bywater commented: "[It was] unbelievable. I was so shocked. I found out seven or eight hours ago. I had absolutely no idea. I thought it was Peter. 100%, I thought it was Peter. I think everybody was pushing towards Peter cast-wise. Especially because at the NTAs they had the clue of the music box. Then everyone was like, 'Peter supplied the drugs so it must be him'. But no, I was completely wrong!" Discussing the unique experience, Bywater said: "[It's been] a bit overwhelming but absolutely incredible. Also the fact that it was the celebration of the 30th anniversary - it's amazing that I had such a big storyline in that." She admitted that she hadn't realized the impact of Lucy's killer finally being revealed had had on fans, as "[she kept herself] out of social media and things, so I haven't paid that much attention to it - it's only when people come up to me that I'm like, 'Oh, this is such a big thing!'"
After Carol Jackson discovered an abandoned pregnancy test in January 2014, she was seen to inquire with family members - possible owners included Carol's daughter Bianca and Peter's ex-girlfriend Lauren Branning. A week later, the test was revealed to belong to Cindy when she was seen to go for an abortion. She had fallen pregnant with TJ Spraggan's baby after a one-night stand, but afterwards decided to keep the baby, before the truth was revealed to their two families. The storyline subsequently received minor negativity from fans, with the Metro's Amy Duncan revealing that some viewers were outraged by what had been deemed as a "gross underage pregnancy storyline". Several EastEnders fans then commented on Twitter to voice their displeasure over the episodes: one said they "[couldn't] be arsed with Cindy being pregnant in Eastenders [...] She has a 5 min cameo every month how is she gonna cope with this storyline?", whilst another felt that the storyline was "just promoting underage pregnancies tbh" rather than actually raising awareness about the issue.Despite this, Keene went on to be nominated in 2014 in the category of "Best Young Performance" at the British Soap Awards for her portrayal of Cindy, but lost to Hollyoaks child actor Ellis Hollins. Anna Howell of Unreality TV praised Keene's birth scenes in an article on who they thought had given the best performances of 2014, with Cindy giving birth to baby Beth rated third on their list for EastEnders. Howell branded Keene's performance as "one of the most powerful, and convincing labour scenes [Unreality TV] have ever seen", and stated that whilst many women had portrayed childbirth in the soaps over the years, given Keene’s age and limited experience in soap acting, felt it was worth "a massive mention at just how well this young girl handled something quite as dramatic as the birth of her on-screen daughter."
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