|Portrayed by||Kylie Babbington|
|First appearance||7 June 2010|
|Last appearance||14 November 2011|
|Introduced by||Diederick Santer and
|"East Street" (2010)|
Jodie Gold is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Kylie Babbington. She first appeared on screen on 7 June 2010. On 24 October 2011, it was announced Babbington's contract would not be renewed and Jodie departed on 14 November 2011, along with Poppy Meadow (Rachel Bright).
Originally introduced as a love interest for Darren Miller (Charlie G. Hawkins), she is also the daughter of established character Vanessa Gold (Zöe Lucker). Jodie is Jewish and Darren has a circumcision operation to respect this. Her step-father, Harry (Linal Haft) was thought to be her father until Vanessa reveals this time him in an argument. Darren also proposes to Jodie but decides not to marry her after thinking he's not good enough for her.
Babbington received many letters within six months of her initial appearance, from fans saying that Jodie is their ideal woman. When Jodie's friend Poppy was introduced, her initial scenes with Jodie were described as "a bizarre and utterly irrelevant chat" by Jody Thompson from the Daily Mail. Daniella Graham from the Metro said that "viewers were left questioning why on earth anyone thought this pointless sub-plot was necessary." This was later confirmed to be "filler" as a large amount of scenes were cut out from Tommy Moon's funeral.
In Jodie's first appearance, she is found by Darren Miller (Charlie G. Hawkins) in the road saying she is lost. Darren offers to help her and she agrees to go on a date. She then finds her mother, Vanessa (Zoe Lucker) who hands her the keys to her new car, and Jodie reveals she got the job she had interviewed for at Roxy Mitchell's (Rita Simons) salon. The next day she goes for lunch with Darren and she thinks it is sweet when Darren reveals he has a son, George Trott. Their relationship gets off to a rocky start, especially when Darren accuses Jodie of stealing his World Cup tickets, but eventually they agree to have sex. However, when Jodie sees that Darren is not circumcised, she explains that she is Jewish and cannot have sex with a man who is not circumcised, though she does not go to a synagogue. This causes them to break up temporarily but they soon start dating again, saying they can wait to have sex. Darren has his circumcision in secret, telling Jodie he is on holiday. However, when Vanessa's affair with Darren's boss Max Branning (Jake Wood) is revealed and she is dumped by her husband Harry (Linal Haft), Jodie dumps Darren, thinking that he has been laughing at her, and disowns her mother. However, Jodie and Vanessa are reunited after a fire breaks out in The Queen Victoria public house.
Darren tries to win Jodie back by trying to explain that he had a circumcision but she will not listen to him because he did not tell her about Max and Vanessa. However, she finally reads a letter he wrote and they reunite. Vanessa ends her affair with Max so that Jodie and Darren can continue to see each other, and Jodie and Darren have sex for the first time. During a special lunch on Vanessa's birthday, Harry shows little interest in her, and Jodie tells her that she realises now that they are not happy together and urges her to go back to Max, which she does. When Harry issues Vanessa with divorce papers, saying he can convince Jodie to turn against her, she tells him he is not Jodie's father. Harry sends Jodie to live with Vanessa, and he later tells Darren he is not Jodie's father. Darren begs him not to tells her as it would break her heart but later Jodie says Harry phoned her and Darren assumes he told her, so he inadvertently reveals the truth. Jodie initially disowns her mother but when she tries to find a place of her own, she realises she needs Vanessa with her. Harry then starts to take revenge, including throwing a brick through the window and killing Jodie's cat. Vanessa tells Jodie she met a young Portuguese fisherman on holiday and he is her father, though she did not know his name.
During a New Year's Eve party, a drunken Jodie persuades Darren to tell her he wants to marry her. Darren is unsure at first but goes to propose, but she stops him as she was not serious. However, she is delighted that he would have asked her. In a conversation with her friend Poppy Meadow (Rachel Bright), Jodie says she wishes Harry would stop blaming her for something that was not her fault. She appears as a 'mascot' for the relaunch of the car lot, much to Vanessa's annoyance, though no one turns up as Darren did not send the fliers out, so he is fired. Jodie tells him that it will be okay, though he blames her for his sacking so she dumps him. She then goes to the R&R nightclub where she sees Darren kissing another girl; Jodie storms out of the club. However, she overhears him telling Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald) how much he still loves Jodie. Jodie walks in and he tells her he would not change anything about her and proposes; she accepts. Jodie then gets a job at The Queen Victoria as a barmaid. Darren gains custody of George, who keeps Jodie awake at night, causing her to be late for work where she is told by Roxy that there is a new manager of the salon, Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner). When Jodie is left alone with George, she struggles and leaves him with Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), George's mother. She later forgets, and when Darren calls her, she rushes back to Heather and takes George back without Darren knowing what had happened. Darren later finds out after George has an accident while in Jodie's care, and Jodie and Darren break up as she is not ready to be a stepmother. However, Darren decides George is better off with Heather, and he and Jodie reunite. Darren later goes to visit his family without Jodie. On his return, he starts stealing from work in order to pay for the wedding. He is soon discovered by Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), who informs Jodie and she calls off the wedding until Darren wins her back round. However, he then cheats on her with Jodie's friend Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa). Jodie finds them together and despite this, she decides that she still wants to marry Darren. However, before the wedding, Darren decides he is not good enough for Jodie and leaves Walford. Jodie is further dismayed when her mother, Vanessa leaves Walford, but is supported by Poppy, and the pair become flatmates. They rent a flat from Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), but when he increases their rent, they refuse to pay and Ian tells Jodie and Poppy to leave. They then move in with Anthony (Matt Lapinskas) and Tyler Moon (Tony Discipline).
It soon emerges that Poppy is attracted to Anthony, and Jodie tells him. Anthony prefers Jodie, but despite this, he asks Poppy out on a date. His feelings for Jodie grow and they later kiss, which leaves her feeling remorseful. Jodie decides to leave London because of the kiss. However, Poppy believes that Jodie is leaving as she is lonely without Darren, so sets her up with Tyler. Anthony stops Tyler from asking her out, though Poppy is confused by this and Jodie tells Poppy about the kiss. The next day, Poppy is still furious over the kiss and is not speaking to Jodie. Tyler tricks the two girls to meet up with each other, after Tyler sends a message on Poppy's phone to Jodie, forgiving her. They then repair their friendship. Jodie begins to miss Darren, and after being suggested by Poppy, she decides that she and Darren were meant to be together and goes to find him in Oxford, where Darren is staying with his ex-girlfriend Libby Fox (Belinda Owusu). Poppy and Jodie go separate ways after saying an emotional goodbye, with Jodie finding Darren and Poppy moving back with her mother.
Creation and development
Jodie first appears on screen on 7 June 2010. The character was announced on 10 May 2010 as love interest for Darren Miller (Charlie G. Hawkins) and daughter to Vanessa Gold (Zoe Lucker). Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood told entertainment website Digital Spy, "I'm really excited about Kylie taking on the role of Jodie. She brings yet more fresh energy to the show—she's a ray of sunshine." The character is 19 years old on her arrival and Jodie is Babbington's first television role. In January 2011, scenes with Jodie, Darren, Tamwar Masood (Himesh Patel) and Jodie's previously unseen friend Poppy were added as "filler" for scenes from the funeral of Tommy Moon that were cut from the episodes. In February 2011, Jodie and Darren's relationship hits a rocky patch when he loses his job, but this prompts him to propose to Jodie. An EastEnders spokesperson said "With all the recent ups and downs the couple have had, Darren fears he has lost Jodie for good. Desperate to win her back, he proposes. Will there be a Walford summer wedding and how will Vanessa feel about her young daughter getting engaged?" Babbington said that viewers would have to tune in to see what happens, but added "It's EastEnders! It's never going to be smooth sailing". She promised the plot would be "exciting" and said that "[Jodie and Darren are] from different walks of life and seeing them together is a nice contrast. I think they make a nice couple, definitely." In March 2011, Babbington told website Holy Soap that she enjoys the storylines she has been given.
On 30 April 2011, it was announced that Jodie's boyfriend Darren and her mother Vanessa were both to leave the show but entertainment website Digital Spy confirmed that Jodie would stay in the show regardless, and Babbington said there would be reasons for Jodie to stay, teasing that she may get a new love interest. On 24 October 2011, Digital Spy reported Babbington would be departing EastEnders in November, after her contract reached its natural conclusion.
Upon Jodie's announcement, the character was described as big-hearted with "an infectious smile and a personality to match." Her profile on the official EastEnders website describes her as someone who seems "dippy" but knows how to get what she wants, which is shown when she gets a job, a date and a new car all within her first episode. Although Vanessa and Harry mollycoddle her, Jodie is not spoilt, and she is sympathetic and kind, with an extensive wardrobe and collection of handbags. It also stated that Jodie liked the finer things in life, and has a heart of gold. It continues to read that Jodie may have seemed a "little dippy", but she knew how to get what she wanted. The BBC also said that "life is never dull when Jodie's around!" Daniel Kilkelly from Digital Spy described Jodie as "ditzy".
Jodie appears in "East Street", a charity crossover episode between EastEnders and rival soap opera Coronation Street, broadcast on 19 November 2010 as part of the BBC One telethon for the children's charity Children in Need. In the non-canon episode, Jodie is amongst a number of EastEnders characters who visit Coronation Street's setting of Weatherfield, and she has trouble walking on the Street's famous cobbles in her high heels.
Babbington revealed that within her first six months on screen, she had received several letters from male fans saying that Jodie is their ideal woman. Jodie's scenes with Poppy were described as "a bizarre and utterly irrelevant chat" by Jody Thompson from the Daily Mail, and Daniella Graham from the Metro said that "viewers were left questioning why on earth anyone thought this pointless sub-plot was necessary." However, Derek Lord from The Press and Journal said it was a "a welcome addition to the show," saying that "as a double act, [Jodie and Poppy are] no Morecambe and Wise, but at least they bring an element of something approaching humour to the otherwise soul-destroying drabness of the London soap." The Daily Mail's Jaci Stephen loved Poppy and Jodie's scenes: "Great girls, excellent pairing and very funny. More, please!" In the Daily Mirror, Jennifer Rodger called them a "refreshing change", and Tony Stewart deemed them "The daftest girls in Soapland and probably the funniest." Stewart was one of several critics to express displeasure over their axing, describing it as "a shame".
Jane Simon and Brian McIver of the Daily Record described them as "an adorable female double act [and] E20's answer to 2 Shoes", and wrote of their departure, "apparently there just isn't enough room for sunny, funny, glass-half-full types in Walford." The Sun's Colin Robertson noted that Jodie, Poppy and Norman Simmonds (George Layton), who was axed at the same time as the duo, were EastEnders' "three funniest characters"; a Huffington Post critic similarly declared that they had "injected some humour into the famously gloomy soap". The Daily Mirror's Rodger later said that she was "sad" that they the duo had left, saying that she "found their scenes together hilarious", hoping that she would see both Babbington and Bright in a new show together. Bright stated that during her first main stint in 2011, she received a lot of mail telling her saying how much fans liked the double act between Poppy and Jodie, and that they were a "breath of fresh air".
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