|Portrayed by||Kellie Bright|
|First appearance||19 December 2013|
|Created by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
|Introduced by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
Linda Carter is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Kellie Bright. She first appeared on 19 December 2013 and her casting was announced alongside her on-screen partner, Mick Carter (Danny Dyer). Linda was introduced by new executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins as part of the Carter family. Linda became landlady of The Queen Victoria public house and moved there with her family from her mother's pub in Watford.
The introduction of Dyer and Bright was part of a large cast shake-up planned by new executive producer Treadwell-Collins in an attempt to improve ratings. Bright previously auditioned for the role of Tanya Branning in 2006, but the part was given to Jo Joyner. In March 2015, it was confirmed Bright had renewed her contract keeping her in the show for at least another year until 2016.
Linda's storylines include her feud with Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), coming to terms with the fact that her youngest son Johnny (Sam Strike) is gay, discovering that Mick's "nephew" Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) has a large crush on her, coping when she is raped by Dean, becoming pregnant and not knowing whether the father is Mick or Dean and falling down the stairs while heavily pregnant and giving birth to a premature baby.
Linda first appears when her partner Mick's sister, Shirley and Tina, visit her mother Elaine Peacock's (Maria Friedman) pub in Watford, where Linda and her family are living. They intend to ask Mick for a loan but Linda rejects them as Mick is not around. As revenge, Tina steals the money from a bingo jar but Shirley returns it, proving her honesty to Mick, and also recommends The Queen Victoria (the Vic) as a potential pub of their own on Albert Square in Walford, where Shirley lives. Mick purchases the pub, and he, Linda, Johnny (Sam Strike) and the Carters' dog, Lady Di (Hot Lips), move in and start trading. Linda continues to clash with Shirley, who moves in with them, and she befriends Sharon Rickman (Letitia Dean) over their mutual dislike of Shirley. Linda and Mick receive an invite to their daughter Nancy (Maddy Hill)'s wedding to Wayne Ladlow (Malachi Kirby), a troublemaker, but they disapprove so Mick forcibly removes her from the wedding service. In the following argument, Nancy reveals that Johnny is gay, and has been hiding his sexuality in fear of how his parents will react. Linda refuses to accept that he is gay and encourages him to date Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty), who shows an interest in him. Mick, along with Shirley and Tina, visit their estranged father Stan Carter (Timothy West) for money, and reunite with him in the process. He moves into the pub when he breaks his ankle and becomes immobile, and, despite initially clashing with him, Linda warms to having him around.
Linda's friendship with Sharon comes under strain when Sharon reveals plans to open a new bar in Walford, named 'The Albert'. Realising it will be in direct competition to the Vic, she plots to get inside knowledge about the bar, convincing Johnny to take a job there. However, Johnny likes the job and tells her that he does not want to feed information to her. Linda and Mick's eldest son, Lee (Danny-Boy Hatchard), returns from Afghanistan, where he has been serving in the army. He is grieving for a comrade he has lost, and Linda is a comfort and support to him. Shirley's estranged son Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) comes to Walford, and although he continues to share a troubled relationship with his mother, he is welcomed by Mick and Linda into the family. Dean develops feelings for Linda, which she is at first unaware of, but discovers when he gropes her buttocks at a photoshoot for his new salon. She warns him that it is inappropriate but does not tell Mick out of fear of angering him.
Tina encourages Johnny to embrace his sexuality, inviting him to gay pride in London. Linda continues to be uncomfortable with this, and attempts to sabotage his plans by making him work. However, he realises what she is doing and in the ensuing argument he leaves home. Stan takes Linda to his old flat where Johnny is saying, and, after some tough love from Stan about her past, she apologises to Johnny and drops him off at gay pride, giving him her blessing. The following week, Linda has a party for her birthday, and Lee returns permanently from Afghanistan in time for the celebrations. After the party, Linda and Mick have a heart to heart, and he asks her to marry him properly, but she declines, determined to keep up the pretence to their children that they are already married. This conversation is overheard by Dean, who agrees to keep quiet.
Linda supports Mick when he participates in a swimming gala for Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick), despite being fearful of water. Mick conquers his fears, but on the way home he is arrested for soliciting a prostitute. He tells Linda that the police are making a mistake as it was in fact his friend Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), that was speaking with the prostitute; he pulled over merely to see what was going on. Stan's girlfriend, Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell) overhears the conversation and accompanies Linda to Mick's hearing, and Linda is devastated when he pleads guilty to protect Ian, who is going through a tough time following the death of his daughter, Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater). Linda agrees to keep quiet, but Cora has a change of heart about supporting Linda and reveals Mick's offence to the whole pub, running his name through the mud. One night, a drunken Dean kisses Linda, but she rejects his advances by slapping him. Unable to cope with the negative social stigma surrounding her family, Linda demands that Mick reveals the truth, but he refuses, wanting to keep his word to Ian. However, the truth is revealed when the prostitute, who is revealed to be Cora's estranged daughter Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks), bumps into Ian's partner Denise Fox (Diane Parish) and reveals the truth. Denise visits Linda, struggling with the revelation, and Linda lies that she only just found out about Ian's actions. Ian however reveals the truth to Denise, who accuses Linda of being attention seeking. Distraught over the upset that Mick's actions have brought her family, Linda leaves Walford to stay with Elaine in Watford. She returns before Sharon and Phil's wedding. When Sharon suggests that Dean's advances towards Linda were encouraged, both drunk, they have a bitter row in the pub. Then Sharon tells Nancy about the kiss, so Nancy accuses Dean and Linda of having an affair.
Shirley flees from Walford after the wedding, leaving Dean upset. Mick asks Linda to comfort him, which she does; then Dean rapes her. She tells nobody and she refuses to be intimate with Mick. Trying to get to the bottom of what is going on, he calls Linda's mother, Elaine, asking her to visit The Queen Vic to help him understand her behaviour. Elaine makes some progress before leaving again. Mick theorises that Linda is pregnant when she vomits at the smell of lavender bath soap, and she is horrified to discover he is correct when she takes a test. She lies to Mick about the result and plans to have an abortion, but Mick finds out and she agrees to keep the baby. She is disturbed when Dean finds out, and tries to hang on to the belief that the baby is Mick's. Stacey bumps into Linda who asks her about her relationship with Dean, Linda nearly admits that Dean raped her however she is stopped from doing so when they are interrupted by Dean. However, Stacey grows suspicious, and when Linda unexpectedly gets scared when Dean is around, Stacey surmises that Dean raped her and confronts Linda. When Stacey depicts how she felt after her rape, Linda accepts that he did. Johnny announces he is leaving Walford to travel with Gianluca, although initially upset, Linda decides to support him.
When Linda tells Mick that she was raped by Dean, following his proposal on Christmas Day, he confronts Dean who lies, saying that he and Linda were having an affair. Mick attacks Dean and Shirley reveals that she is Mick's mother. She eavesdrops while Mick, Tina, Shirley, Babe and Stan argue, only to hear Mick deny that Dean is part of the family. Mick tells them that Dean raped Linda, but she overhears. Without saying anything, Linda leaves the pub. Mick leaves messages on her voicemail to ask her to come home and Elaine returns her to the pub. When she attempts to find solace in Sharon's home, Mick joins her, and she says they should not let what happened get in the way of their relationship. They are about to return to the pub when Mick has second thoughts and he decides to take Linda away for a break. When they return a few weeks later, they find Shirley helping to run the pub so Mick asks her to leave. When Mick accompanies her to the police station, Linda reports Dean for rape. She then fills Nancy and Lee in on recent events, having already told Elaine and Sharon. Dean is arrested by the police but released after questioning and accuses Linda of lying. Linda proposes to Mick who accepts. The next day, Nancy confesses to her that Mick choked Dean unconscious in the cellar and is being secretive about what happened. Elaine returns for Mick and Linda's engagement party, while Linda confronts Mick, who assures her that he did not kill Dean, although later, Nancy tries to tell Shirley something about Dean, but collapses on the ground before she can do so. After Elaine returns for Linda's five-month scan the day after, Linda confesses to her her fears that the baby may not be Mick's. Linda organises a romantic picnic as a fresh start for her and Mick. Linda is devastated to learn that Dean will not be charged due to lack of evidence. Linda pleads with Dean to admit he raped her but just as she seems to be making leeway, Mick interrupts.
Linda falls down the stairs, causing her to go into premature labour. She gives birth to a healthy son, Ollie Carter. Linda confronts a delusional Dean when he insists on meeting the baby, believing that he is his son. Mick discovers that he, Linda and Ollie share the same blood type, but Dean does not, meaning Dean cannot be the father. Linda cries with relief.
Creation and development
Casting and introduction
Linda was introduced as the wife of Mick Carter, played by Danny Dyer, the brother of established character Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), who has appeared in EastEnders since 2006. Luisa Bradshaw-White joined the cast as Shirley's sister Tina Carter in early November, and Linda was the second new Carter to appear after her. Kellie Bright's casting was announced alongside Danny Dyer's on 1 October 2013, a week after Bradshaw-White's casting was revealed. Linda was described as having been with Mick since they were teenagers, and despite not being 'blessed with brains', is a 'tough woman who will always fight tooth and nail for her family - especially her children'. Bright previously appeared as a bridesmaid in 1986 at the wedding of Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) and Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt), and starred in scenes opposite her current co-star Letitia Dean, who continues to appear as Sharon Watts. Bright estimated herself to be aged 10 at the time. She also auditioned for the role of Tanya Branning in 2006, a role that was eventually given to Jo Joyner. 
Linda first appeared in an episode that aired on BBC One on 19 December 2013, visited by her partner Mick's sisters Shirley and Tina when they needed money. Linda rejected them. She made her full arrival on 26 December 2013, the Boxing Day episode for EastEnders, moving in to her new home on Albert Square, The Queen Victoria. Mick and Linda became the landlord and landlady of their pub, positions they still hold as of today. In a poll held by Digital Spy a month after the introduction of the Carters, Linda was the least popular, with 5.65% of the vote. Mick proved to be the most popular, with nearly 50% of the vote.
Linda's early stories included her struggle with son Johnny's (Sam Strike) sexuality, which was revealed a week after the Carters moved into the Vic. While Mick portrayed the accepting father (a portrayal that was widely praised by critics), Linda protested against her son being gay, and encouraged him to enter a relationship with his friend, Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty), who was obviously keen. This caused many arguments between mother and son. The argument eventually reached breaking point in June 2014, when Linda failed to support Johnny's plans to go to gay pride and caused him embarrassment by revealing his cowardice during the attack on Sharon Rickman. As a result, Johnny left home, but Linda tracked him down with the help of her father-in-law Stan (Timothy West), and they reunited, with Linda showing her acceptance by dropping him off at gay pride in London.
Other storylines included Linda's turmoilous friendship with Sharon Rickman, which turned into a rivalry when she opened a rival bar, 'The Albert' in Walford; her plans to breed her dog, Lady Di, being scuppered when her daughter Nancy (Maddy Hill) lost control of her and she was impregnated by Abi Branning's (Lorna Fitzgerald) dog Tramp; and her turmoil over her eldest son, Lee (Danny-Boy Hanchard) being in the army, and her supporting him through the grief for a lost comrade on his return to England. She was involved in a brief scandal where Dexter Hartman (Khali Best), Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) discovered pictures of her during her time as a Page 3 model.
Relationship with Mick Carter
It was made clear from their arrival in the soap that Mick and Linda would have a stable relationship, unlike many other soap couples. The first on-screen hurdle for their relationship came when Mick supported son Johnny's sexuality whereas Linda was adverse to it; however, neither let their difference in opinion affect their relationship, but provided a voice of concern to the other when making decisions.
A shock twist aired on July 10 2014, over 8 months after Mick and Linda were first introduced, revealing that they were not actually married. They held a fake marriage to please their parents on learning that Linda was expecting son Lee, and have continued with the allusion up until now. In the episode, Mick proposed that they should get married for real, but Linda declined, wanting to keep up their lie to their children. Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) overheard their conversation but agreed not to tell anyone.
Mick and Linda's marriage came under real strain when Mick confessed guilty to soliciting prostitutes in late July 2014. Mick had pulled over beside prostitute Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks) when he saw her talking to his friend Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), believing her to be hassling him. The police subsequently pulled up behind Mick and arrested him. After calling Rainie a 'whore', she refused to admit that he was not paying her for sex, lying that he was a regular customer of her services. Ian pleaded with Mick not to reveal the truth about him seeing Rainie, as she was blackmailing him for money and threatening to reveal that he had seen her on Good Friday, the night that his daughter Lucy (Hetti Bywater) was murdered (see 'Who Killed Lucy Beale?'). To hide his actions from his fiance, Denise Fox (Diane Parish), Ian had provided the police with a false alibi to his whereabouts on the night Lucy died. On hearing Ian's story, Mick agreed to cover for him and plead guilty as not to reveal his false alibi, but revealed the truth to Linda, who was hurt that he put his promise to Ian before his family. Stan's girlfriend Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell) accompanied Linda to court for moral support upon discovering the allegations, but on discovering that the prostitute involved was her estranged daughter, she revealed the offence to the whole pub, humiliating the Carters. Mick eventually agreed to tell the truth when Linda became depressed over how the locals were treating her family, but their marriage came under further strain when Linda lied to Denise that she only just found out about Ian's actions. On discovering the truth about Linda knowing for weeks, Denise accused Linda of being 'attention-seeking', and, on hearing that her mother Elaine had hurt herself, Linda left Walford for Watford, getting some space from Mick.
Dean Wicks and rape
In April 2014, Matt Di Angelo was reintroduced as Shirley Carter's estranged son Dean Wicks. Linda formed a connection with Dean as she counselled him through his long standing issues with his mother, having a fair perspective on the situation due to her own battles with Shirley in the past. Through this, Dean developed feelings for her. Linda remained unaware of the crush for several weeks until Dean fondled her buttocks during a photoshoot for the salon. Linda warned him to back off. Speaking of Dean's feelings for Linda, Di Angelo claimed that it stemmed from the desire that 'Dean (secretly) wants to be Mick', but warned that it wouldn't 'be filled with too much happiness for too long'. Dean also stumbled upon the family secret that Mick and Linda were not married, and later drunkenly kissed Linda when she was struggling with issues surrounding Mick falsely pleading guilty to soliciting prostitutes.
On 31 August 2014, it was announced that Dean would rape Linda. EastEnders bosses worked with charity Rape Crisis to develop the storyline. Bright said about the storyline that she 'hoped that Linda's journey would change viewers' perception of rape', while Di Angelo claimed that although the storyline will be 'challenging', it was massively 'important'. The storyline aired over the autumn. Maria Friedman was introduced as Linda's mother, Elaine Peacock. Following the attack Linda became pregnant.
Along with Dyer, Bright was nominated for "Best On-screen Partnership" at The British Soap Awards 2014 for the relationship between Mick and Linda. However, they lost out to David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh, who play Roy and Hayley Cropper respectively in Coronation Street. Kate White from Inside Soap was pleased to see Linda's backstory explored, saying "Now we know a bit about Linda's past and what made her a control freak, she's finally a sympathetic character. We liked her already, but we love her now!" Bright won the awards for "Best Actress" and "Best Dramatic Performance" at The British Soap Awards 2015.
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