Michael French as David Wicks (2012)
|Portrayed by||Michael French|
|First appearance||23 December 1993|
|Introduced by||Leonard Lewis (1993)
Bryan Kirkwood (2012)
Lorraine Newman (2013)
David is the son of Pat Wicks (Pam St. Clement) and her first husband Pete Beale (Peter Dean). Pat and Pete split up when David and his brother Simon (Nick Berry) were young and Pat remarried to Brian Wicks (Leslie Schofield), who adopted both David and Simon (who turned out to be Brian's biological son). Meanwhile Pete remarried to Kathy Hills (Gillian Taylforth) and had another son, Ian (Adam Woodyatt). Pete had no further contact with David and Simon when they moved away from Walford in 1976.
During his teenage years David got his girlfriend Carol Branning (Lindsey Coulson) pregnant at the age of 13. David and the rest of the Branning family tried to persuade Carol to have an abortion and Carol's brother Derek Branning (Terence Beesley, later Jamie Foreman) severely beat David up. The Wicks family left Walford, due to Derek's aggression so David never knew if Carol had the abortion or not. For the next few years, David, his mother and brother, suffered at the violent hands of his abusive stepfather, Brian. Pat also proved to be a negligent mother due to her alcoholism and constant promiscuity. The seventeen-old David moved to live with his girlfriend, Lorraine Foster (Jacqueline Leonard) and married before the birth of their son Joe (Paul Nicholls) in 1980 when David was 18. This was followed by a daughter, Karen, in 1982. David was a restless man feeling tied down and after several affairs he left his wife and children in 1988.
David returns to Albert Square on 23 December 1993 for the funeral of his father Pete, who had died in a car crash two weeks earlier. A few weeks later he moves in with his mother Pat and soon goes into business with her stepson Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) with a car lot that they name "Deals on Wheels". David receives a stark reminder of his past in the form of Carol and her large brood of children, and soon finds himself falling for her oldest daughter Bianca (Patsy Palmer). Carol is very hostile towards him, and is horrified when she witnesses the growing relationship between David and Bianca. This results in Carol telling David that Bianca is his daughter in March 1994. David is stunned but agrees to keep his distance from Bianca, much to her chagrin. The truth is revealed to an embarrassed Bianca in March 1995 when, after drunkenly trying to kiss David after he rescues her from being mugged, David is forced to confess that she is his daughter. Despite being initially hostile towards David, Bianca soon forms a close relationship with her father. David's estranged son Joe arrives in Walford in April 1996. With him comes the news that his daughter Karen died in a car accident nine months previously. Joe's return causes many problems for David, and at first David rejects the idea of having his son back in his life. However, after Joe runs away and arrives back at David's again, he becomes more receptive to Joe and the idea of having him in his life again. Eventually Joe and Lorraine move down to London from Bolton and Joe moves in with David. However, Joe seriously blames himself for Karen's death, and this leads to Joe developing schizophrenia. Joe exhibits increasingly strange behaviour that gets progressively worse. This is one of the main reasons that David eventually leaves Walford.
David is a notorious womaniser. He has relations with Sam Mitchell (Danniella Westbrook) and an affair with Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins), the wife of his half-brother Ian. Cindy becomes obsessed with the idea of running off with David, and hires a hit man to kill Ian. Ian is shot but survives, and when David finds out he ends the relationship, but not before helping Cindy escape with her two sons. Shortly after, David has a fling with ex-partner, Carol. Eventually, the truth is revealed about David's affair with Cindy and his fore-knowledge of the attempted murder of Ian. The loss of friends and alienation of his family, together with Joe's worsening mental condition with schizophrenia leads David to decide leave Albert Square for Milan. David leaves in a torrent of tears after telling Joe he is going.
In 2010, David sends Bianca £10,000 for her wedding as he is unable to attend. In December 2011, Pat phones David after she learns that he has had an affair with his brother Simon's wife. Pat argues with David on the phone about his infidelity, and ends the call on bad terms.
David returns after hearing that Pat is severely ill. David is stunned to discover that Pat is in fact dying of pancreatic cancer. They argue and David resolves to leave, but Carol persuades him to stay. Derek arrives and provokes David, and a fight breaks out. David tells Derek he is staying and returns to Pat, where he forgives her for her past mistakes and she dies in his arms. David decides to stay in Walford to plan Pat's funeral. He flirts with Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) and goes to have sex with her, but has second thoughts and nothing happens. David then declares his love for Carol. She reciprocates, and the pair reunite. David tries to settle his differences with Derek, but Derek threatens him. Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd) suggests to David that they should team up to bring Derek down and get him arrested. David agrees after Derek upsets Carol. They attempt to set Derek up by having Michael plant stolen goods in Derek's home. However, Derek catches Michael in the act, and Michael blames the entire scheme on David. When David learns of this he begs Carol to leave with him. Carol agrees, but after Pat's funeral, David is confronted by Derek and his brothers Jack (Scott Maslen) and Max (Jake Wood). Derek threatens to kill David, but Jack and Max restrain Derek as they let David go. As he returns to his car to meet Carol, he sees her saying an emotional goodbye to Bianca and her family, so realises her family needs her and leaves without her. David sends a letter to Carol but it is intercepted and locked away by Derek. After Derek dies, the letter is found and Carol tries to contact David but discovers his phone number has been disconnected.
Several months later, David unexpectedly arrives at Carol's house, interrupting her evening with her boyfriend, Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra), saying he has a present for Bianca. His girlfriend Naomi (Lisa Maxwell) arrives with a suitcase of cash that they stole from her husband Don (Simon Thorp). Naomi realises that David wants to give some of the cash to Bianca, and when he says they are just using each other, she calls Don, who arrives and beats David up. Carol takes him in, which bothers Masood. When he recovers, he agrees to leave but manipulates Carol into letting him stay until Bianca returns. He attempts to meddle in Masood and Carol's relationship because he wants Carol back. When Bianca returns, she is overjoyed to see David, but asks him to leave for Carol's sake. However, she changes her mind when she decides she wants her father around. David realises that Max is in prison because he was set up by Carl White (Daniel Coonan) and that Ian is probably lying about being a witness. When David cannot convince Ian to retract his statement, he tells Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) what he knows, who kidnaps Ian so that Max is set free and Carol has her brother back. In gratitude, Max offers David a job at the car lot. David and Carol drift apart and she asks him to leave the family home. He becomes suspicious that his former step-sister Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) killed Michael and has framed Alice Branning (Jasmyn Banks). He manipulates Janine into letting him move in and then into confessing the murder; he records the confession and blackmails Janine into giving him £250,000 or he will reveal the truth. Janine panics and decides to kill David by running him down with a car, but he suffers only minor injuries. He takes Janine to her house and takes the £250,000, but agrees to wait a day before calling the police so Janine can have a chance to be a mother to her daughter Scarlett Moon, while still ensuring Alice's release from prison. David returns to Carol's house where she reveals she found his phone and has heard Janine's confession.
It was announced in February 1996 that French had quit the role of David along with Michelle Collins in order to pursue other roles. An EastEnders insider said that Cindy is desperate for David to leave the Square with her and the children and is said to "rock the square". Producers were reportedly trying to keep French with the show but only managed to persuade him to stay for another few months. French was rumoured to have "cracked up" when filming his final scenes as David. He broke down during filming and said to the cast: "I can't go on". An insider said that French repeatedly kept getting one line wrong and later stormed off set and refused to continue until crew members were able to calm him down.
Returns (2012 & 2013)
On 7 August 2011, it was announced that St. Clement had quit EastEnders. In October 2011, it was rumoured that David and Simon were to return to EastEnders for Pat's departure storyline. The Sun reported producers were working to get French and Berry on board. A BBC spokesperson declined to comment on the report, saying "There has been a lot of speculation surrounding Pat's departure, however we are not going to comment on rumours at this stage as we don't want to spoil the storyline for viewers." On 13 November 2011, it was confirmed French would be reprising his role as David after an absence of 15 years. In All About Soap Awards 2012, Michael French won the Best Comeback award for his brief return as David Wicks. David and Carol reconcile. Coulson explained "Carol thinks, 'Why not?' David makes her feel good and she's not thinking very far ahead. She's in the moment. It's not just a sex thing, it's about having somebody love her again."  She continued: "Carol will be very brittle if she loses David after this. She'll put up all her defences and think, 'That's it - nobody is going to destroy me again'."  However, David tries to make peace with Derek but it fails and the plan backfires. French made another departure in 2012.
In May 2013, the Daily Mirror reported that French would be reprising his role full-time, shortly after leaving BBC drama Casualty, though this was not confirmed by the BBC until 25 July. Executive producer, Lorraine Newman commented "It's an absolute honour to have Michael back in the show. Michael created an iconic character in David and with such rich history with Ian, Bianca and of course, Carol, there's plenty to explore in the future." A What's on TV reporter stated that French would start filming his first scenes in Summer, before appearing on-screen in the Autumn.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (12 January 2012). "Ricky desperately tries to save his marriage". Digital Spy (London: Hearst Magazines). Retrieved 12 January 2012.
- Sayid, Ruki (11 February 1996). "SIZZLING CINDY TO QUIT EASTENDERS". The People. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- "French leaves in the autumn". The People. Trinity Mirror. 7 April 1996. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- Newton, Victoria (22 September 1996). "I CAN'T GO ON' ANGUISH OF EASTENDER STAR FRENCH". The People. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- "Pat set to hang up earrings". Sky News (BSkyB). 7 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (12 September 2011). "'EastEnders' Simon and David Wicks tipped for return". Digital Spy (London: Hearst Magazines). Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Daniels, Colin (13 November 2011). "'EastEnders' David Wicks returns for Pat's funeral". Digital Spy (London: Hearst Magazines). Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (25 March 2012). "All About Soap Awards 2012: Full winners list". Digital Spy (London: Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Daniel Kilkelly (6 January 2012) "'EastEnders' Lindsey Coulson ponders Carol, David plot future. Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- Kilkelly Daniel (10 January 2012) "POTD: 'EastEnders' David plan backfires. Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Clemmie Moodie. "EastEnders love rat David Wicks returns - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
- "Michael French's EastEnders return is confirmed". What's on TV. IPC Media. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.