Libby Fox

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Libby Fox
Libbyfoxee.jpg
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Belinda Owusu
Duration 2006–10, 2014
First appearance 22 May 2006
Last appearance 22 May 2014
Introduced by Kate Harwood (2006)
Dominic Treadwell-Collins (2014)
Spin-off
appearances
EastEnders: E20
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Occupation Student

Elizabeth "Libby" Fox (initially known as Squiggle) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera, EastEnders, played by Belinda Owusu. She made her first appearance on 22 May 2006 and left in 2010. She is the daughter of Denise Fox and Owen Turner, and half sister of Chelsea Fox. The Fox family were introduced by executive producer Kate Harwood. The character of Libby was featured in a prominent storyline in 2006, when her father Owen Turner attempted to murder her. The character has since cultivated a relationship with her peer Darren Miller. She is portrayed as intelligent and competitive. The character was axed in April 2010 and her final episode was broadcast on 5 August 2010. In 2014, Libby returned for a three episode guest stint, taking place on 18 April, 20 May and 22 May.

Storylines[edit]

2006–10[edit]

Libby is the second child born to Denise Fox (Diane Parish). Her father, Owen Turner (Lee Ross), was an abusive alcoholic; Denise left him and restricted his access to Libby. Libby secretly contacts her father, and he starts making demands to see her. Denise is reluctant to allow this, but Owen appears to have changed, and Libby is keen for her parents to get back together; Denise is swayed and sleeps with Owen. However, as soon as Owen begins drinking again, he becomes abusive and hits Denise. He is arrested, but Libby persuades Denise to give him a glowing character witness statement at his trial, and he is released. Owen kidnaps Libby and takes her to Epping Forest. He drugs her and tries to kill himself and Libby by filling the car with noxious exhaust fumes. She escapes, but he catches her and tries to drown her in a stream. Denise arrives to find Libby's unconscious body on the bank of the stream. She is taken to hospital and makes a full recovery. Owen is imprisoned.

An intelligent girl, Libby gets involved in various scams with her friend Darren Miller (Charlie G. Hawkins). She develops a crush on Gus Smith (Mohammed George), but is too young to be noticed by him, so she begins using an internet chat room, talking to a stranger named "Einstein27". She refuses to listen to Yolande Trueman's (Angela Wynter) concerns about the dangers of meeting someone online and agrees to meet him in person. When she meets the stranger, she discovers that she has been chatting to Darren all along. He admits to liking Libby. She is initially unimpressed, but after Yolande arranges a meal between them, they decide to start a relationship. A few weeks later Darren visits his family in the Cotswolds, and Libby is heartbroken to discover he has decided not to return. She concentrates on her school work and achieves eleven good GCSE grades.

Darren returns some weeks later but Libby avoids him. When she finally plucks up the courage to see him, she hears him talking about someone called Clara. Thinking he has found someone new, she pretends she is going out with Tamwar Masood (Himesh Patel). It turns out Clara is a dog and the pair get back together. Libby and Darren have an anniversary dinner to celebrate a year of dating. However, Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) reveals that Darren frequently looks at pornography. Libby becomes furious and confides in Tamwar with whom she is in the process of starting a home tutoring business. Darren becomes jealous, but eventually reconciles with Libby and begins thinking about starting a sexual relationship with Libby. He invites her round to do this, however Jay ruins the night by telling Libby that Darren told him that she was a virgin. Libby is devastated, but she eventually comes round and she and Darren decide not to rush things.

Libby achieves A grades in her AS Level exams, leading Denise to declare that she will be applying for Oxford or Cambridge University. Libby worries her mother cannot afford to send her there. She later finds out she has conditionally been accepted at Oxford. Libby turns eighteen and Owen, who is still in prison, contacts her by sending her a birthday card and asking Libby's grandmother, Liz Turner (Kate Williams), to arrange a meeting. At the same time, Libby decides it is the right time for her to lose her virginity with Darren. She then phones her grandmother and agrees to meet with her father. Chelsea returns for Libby's birthday and sees Liz in the Square. Libby is forced to reveal that she visited Owen and that he will be released in a matter of months. Denise visits him but then tells Libby he will not be returning to their lives. Libby discovers she will attend Oxford University when she gets the A Level grades she needs but decides against it, saying her mother needs her in Walford. She later changes her mind, and leaves for Oxford early in October. Adam Best (David Proud), an Oxford student who has taken a liking to her, sends her a text message saying "See you in Oxford. X".

When Owen is released from prison, he returns to Walford to see Libby, although he is not supposed to. Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker) discovers this and threatens to call the police, but instead he contacts Libby, who comes straight to Walford from Oxford to see her father. She overhears Darren booking a table for two in a restaurant and suspects he is meeting another woman. She turns up at the restaurant and finds Darren there with Owen. Darren says he wanted to ask Owen's permission to ask Libby to marry him. Libby accepts his proposal. When Lucas, Denise's boyfriend and Chelsea's father, has Owen arrested for breaching his bail conditions, Libby at first doesn't believe Owen's claims but is shocked when Lucas confesses. Though angry with Lucas at first she eventually forgives him. Libby makes her dad promise to leave Denise and Lucas alone. The day before the wedding, Owen crashes Denise's hen night to warn her that Lucas killed his ex-wife Trina Johnson (Sharon Duncan Brewster) and she is in danger.

Both Denise and Libby are angry with Owen. Libby asks "What if Jordan were here huh? That's his mum and dad. How could you?" Owen is heartbroken and prepared to leave until Chelsea tells him about the bracelet. Unknown to everyone but Lucas, Owen hides in Phil's Jaguar and confronts Lucas about his crime, leading to Lucas strangling him to death and burying him in the square gardens. Libby feels a bit guilty about parting on bad terms with her father but Liz reassures her. Darren receives a card from Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), which Libby opens and finds cash inside. Libby asks him about it and he says before Christmas he found Heather crying because she could not afford to buy any presents for her baby son George (Joshua Jacobs) and he felt sorry for her. Libby calls him a softie, but later overhears Heather and her friend Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) discussing Darren and the paternity of the baby. Libby reveals that Darren is George's father in front of everyone at Syed Masood (Marc Elliott) and Amira Shah's (Preeya Kalidas) wedding.

Darren tries to speak to Libby but Chelsea will not let him in. He continues to bang on the door while Denise tells Libby that she could go back to Oxford early and it is time to move on. Libby eventually talks to Darren, who explains why he slept with Heather and what happened between them. Libby then talks to Heather who says it was her fault it happened and she did not say anything as she did not want to hurt Libby. Libby then decides to leave and Darren stops her at the tube station and tells her how much he loves her, but she goes anyway. She returns from Oxford and tells her family she is now dating Adam, though Adam tells Darren that Libby she makes up for her lack of good looks by being good in bed. On hearing that Owen has supposedly sent flowers to Liz, Libby wonders why he won't get in touch with her. She steals some CCTV footage from the florists and is shocked to see Lucas ordering a huge bunch of lilies. Lucas explains to Libby that he sent Liz the flowers to buy Owen time because he is drinking again. Libby accepts this and hugs Lucas.

Libby goes back to university but returns when she learns of Jordan's coma. She hears Ben Mitchell (Charlie Jones) confess in the middle of the cafe that he hit Jordan with a spanner and tells Lucas this. Lucas locks himself in the community centre and breaks down, blaming Jordan's condition on his own actions. Libby is worried about Lucas's state of mind and tries to coax him to come out. When she threatens to call the police, Lucas finally unlocks the doors. Lucas goes to the hospital and finds Jordan has been awoken from his coma and is safe. Libby tells Chelsea and Denise about Lucas's breakdown. Chelsea accuses her of making a mountain out of a molehill, saying of course Lucas wanted to have a cry alone - his son and her brother had his head bashed in. Denise however listens intently.

Libby is devastated to learn that a body discovered buried in the Square is that of her father. After speaking to Liz, Libby disowns her as she called the police to say she thought Denise was capable of murdering Owen, and she was taken away for questioning. When Adam brings Libby flowers and says Owen must have been murdered for a reason, Libby shouts at him for patronizing her. Chelsea tells Libby that Lucas found Trina's bracelet in Denise's bag after she died, leading them to believe that Denise may have killed both Trina and Owen. They see Denise driving away from the Square alone, and then they receive a text message from her saying "I'm sorry", though in reality, Lucas had killed Owen and confessed to Denise, taken her to a canal and strangled her, sending the text message before throwing the phone in the canal. Libby is the only person who believes that there is no way Denise could have done this and says that "sorry" could mean anything. However, the police tell the family that Denise's car has been found by the canal, before a body is pulled from the water. Libby vows to carry on as normal, but says that this is not like Denise. The police arrive and say they have found a body in the canal along with Denise's mobile. Libby and Patrick comfort each other while Lucas and Chelsea go to the mortuary, where Lucas identifies the body as Denise.

Libby discovers that Adam has been blackmailing Lucy Beale (Melissa Suffield) for sex, and dumps him after slapping him across the face, leading to him leaving Walford. She feels let down by Patrick when he does not write a eulogy for Denise, and then asks the family to leave after Denise's funeral, however, Lucas convinces him to change his mind. On the day of Denise's funeral, Libby again questions who she was. Libby is happy when Patrick gives a eulogy to Denise, but is upset when an argument starts between Liz and Denises's sisters Kim (Tameka Empson) and Daphne (Emi Wokoma). Patrick reveals that the girls can continue to stay with him and Chelsea and Libby agree to start packing up Denise's belongings. While celebrating Libby's birthday, Denise walks in, revealing that she is not dead but that Lucas has been keeping her prisoner, and that he was the one who killed Trina and Owen. Lucas enters and confirms this, and takes the family hostage, but when Jordan arrives, they escape and Lucas is arrested. Denise is taken to hospital, and Libby has to go through the pain of attending her father's funeral. Chelsea then decides she wants to move to Spain with Liz, so Libby arranges to take time off from university to help with her mother at home. Denise disapproves of this, and arranges for Libby to go to Spain for a holiday with Chelsea and her grandmother, before returning permanently to Oxford. After tearfully saying goodbye to her family, the taxi is stopped by Darren who is upset that Libby is leaving without saying goodbye to him. Libby says that she has always loved him and that he will always be her best friend, before she leaves Walford. Darren moves away from Walford in 2011, following his break-up with Jodie Gold (Kylie Babbington) and opts to stay with Libby in Oxford. A few months later, Jodie also moves to Oxford to be with Darren.

2014[edit]

In April 2014, Denise goes to visit Libby at Oxford, and she is concerned, as Denise does not like talking about her home life. Later on, Libby calmly confronts Denise, who reveals to a stunned Libby that she does not want to marry her fiancé, Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt). Denise later rings Libby, telling her that she will end her relationship with Ian the following day. However, Ian's daughter Lucy dies in mysterious circumstances that night, and after hearing about her death, Libby sends her condolences to Ian, via a text message to Denise. Libby returns to Walford a few weeks later, in order to attend Lucy's funeral. She is unhappy when she witnesses how Ian treats Denise, and urges her mother to call things off with him. After staying the night at Patrick's, Libby asks Denise to go to Spain with her for Chelsea's birthday. Denise is unsure but Ian encourages her to go, admitting that he has taken her for granted. Denise and Libby then depart in a taxi, and Denise tells Ian that she will be back.

Creation and development[edit]

Early in Spring 2006, an official BBC press report announced the introduction of a new, all female family joining EastEnders, Denise Fox (Diane Parish) and her two daughters Chelsea (Tiana Benjamin) and Libby (nicknamed Squiggle), cast to Belinda Owusu, who was 16 at the time. Benjamin has revealed that she was the second Fox to be cast, and on her final audition, she had a workshop and met Diane Parish there. Owusu was cast at a later date.[1] Tiana Benjamin who plays Chelsea has said that the three actors who play the Fox family have a bond, commenting "We all respect and understand each other, and manage to have a good time while we're filming too. I felt that we clicked from our first few scenes together."[1]

Described as "the feisty Fox family", the characters first appeared on-screen in May 2006. An insider reportedly said to the Sunday Mirror, "They'll arrive in Albert Square with a bang and they'll cause friction from the off. The Fox girls don't take any nonsense -they'll be a force to be reckoned with." The newspaper described the character of Libby as a superbrat and teenage troublemaker. Owusu commented, "Squiggle is going to cause lots of mischief."[2]

In April 2010 it was announced that the character had been axed along with five others by the new executive producer Bryan Kirkwood as part of a plan to "breathe new life into the show".[3] Speaking of her departure, Owusu said: "I've had a great time playing Libby but I agree with Bryan that after four years of great storylines, it is now time for Libby to move on. EastEnders was my first real job and I have learnt so much but I am now really looking forward to trying new roles."[4] Her final episode was broadcast on 5 August 2010.[5]

In March 2014, it was announced that Owusu has agreed to reprise the role of Libby Fox for number of episodes from April 2014, as part of the "Who Killed Lucy Beale?" storyline. [6] She made her on-screen return on 18 April 2014. [7]

Reception[edit]

In 2008, it was reported that Cambridge University wanted to shed its "elitist" image. Cambridge University allegedly approached the producers of Britain's three leading soaps, EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, asking them to include the university in their storylines.[8] Spokesman Greg Hayman said the idea was part of a bid to correct the perception that Cambridge was "not for young people from ordinary backgrounds." He added, "We're very keen to attract the brightest and best students regardless of their background. One of the better ways of communicating directly with potential students is to talk to them through the soaps and other programs they watch."[8] This move followed government pressure for the university to become more inclusive and to target all economic backgrounds. 90% of British students attend state secondary schools; Oxford and a Cambridge Universities draw about half their student body from state schools. It was reported that working-class individuals view attending Oxford or Cambridge as an impossible dream, which university officials claim is unfair and they are hoping to dispel this by featuring the Universities in working-class soaps such as EastEnders. Hayman said there have been no firm commitments from TV producers, although one crew was planning an exploratory visit to Cambridge; however, he stated that he was happy with the plot running in EastEnders that showed "working-class teenagers Tamwar Masood and Libby Fox considering applying to Cambridge and Oxford, to the delight of their ambitious mothers", saying that "It's a very happy coincidence."[8] Oxford University said it had no plans to write to the soaps for inclusion but a spokesperson claimed, "I did speak to somebody at EastEnders about our bursary scheme in case the storyline was going to continue. We wanted to make sure they knew what kind of assistance might be available to someone like Libby." EastEnders refused to comment on whether the universities would be featured at the time, as Tamwar and Libby still had another year left at college "and it was too early to say whether the Oxford-Cambridge plot would continue."[8]

Reporting on the University storyline, The Guardian noted that Libby and Tamwar applying to Oxford and Cambridge could be the universities' "dream storyline", as it showed that "clever state school kids can get a place." However, the reporter added that "it could also be their worst nightmare. Young Libby is already revealing concerns that she might not be able to afford to go to the university." The paper alleged that both universities' press offices "fired off letters to the script editors: did they know about the generous bursaries and seemingly bottomless pit of cash available to help students from low-income homes stay on their courses? Could that be mentioned?".[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tiana Benjamin Interview". BBC. 18 September 2006. Retrieved 26 July 2008. 
  2. ^ Gould, Lara (12 March 2006). "New foxy family hit Walford". BBC. Retrieved 14 October 2008. 
  3. ^ Robertson, Colin (17 April 2010). "Dead Enders". The Sun (London: News International). Retrieved 17 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Green, Kris (17 April 2010). "Six characters to leave 'EastEnders'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 16 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Green, Kris; Kilkelly, Daniel (July 2010). "Peggy takes Louise to see Lisa". London: Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  6. ^ http://www.soapsquawk.co.uk/news/eastenders-spoiler-libby-fox-makes-a-return.php#results
  7. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0419nkw
  8. ^ a b c d "Cambridge University wants to be on soaps, shed elitist image", USA Today, URL last accessed 10 October 2008
  9. ^ "Which soap stars would you send to Oxbridge?", The Guardian, URL last accessed 10 October 2008

External links[edit]