Hetti Bywater as Lucy Beale (2013)
|Portrayed by||Eva Brittin-Snell (1993–96)
Casey Anne Rothery
Melissa Suffield (2004–10)
Hetti Bywater (2012–)
|First appearance||16 December 1993|
|Introduced by||Leonard Lewis (1993)
Bryan Kirkwood (2012)
|EastEnders: E20 (2010)|
Chip shop worker
Melissa Suffield as Lucy Beale (2009)
Lucy Katherine Beale is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Eva Brittin-Snell from 1993 to 1996, Casey Anne Rothery from 1996 until 2004, Melissa Suffield from 2004 to 2010 and Hetti Bywater from 2012 onwards. Lucy was introduced in December 1993 as the newborn baby of characters Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins). She is the twin sister of Peter (Thomas Law, Ben Hardy), and has three half siblings, older brother Steven (Edward Savage, Aaron Sidwell), younger sister Cindy (Eva Sayer, Mimi Keene) and younger brother Bobby (Alex Francis, Rory Stroud). The character had few storylines of her own until 2004 when the role was recast to an older actress. Storylines featuring Lucy have since focused upon her teenage rebellion. In 2010, Suffield left EastEnders, after she was allegedly axed due to "unruly behaviour." On 14 November 2011, it was announced Lucy would be returning in 2012 with Bywater taking over the role. She returned on 12 January 2012. Her storylines have included teenage pregnancy, abortion, cheating in her exams, struggling to cope when her dad Ian Beale suffers a mental breakdown and runs away, feuding, becoming the owner of Ian's many businesses and multiple relationships.
Lucy and her fraternal twin brother Peter are born in December 1993. Lucy has an unsettled childhood. Aged two, her mother Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) has her father Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) shot, then flees the country with Lucy's brothers, Peter and Steven, after failing to retrieve Lucy before Ian does. For almost a year, Lucy is separated from her brothers before Ian gets them back. Lucy is reunited with Cindy when she returns to fight for custody of her children in 1997. Cindy is granted custody but she is arrested directly after the court case for the attempted murder of Ian. Cindy dies during childbirth in prison, but her baby, Cindy, survives and is given to Cindy's sister Gina (Nicola Cowper). Lucy then grows up with various stepmothers, the first of whom, Melanie Healy (Tamsin Outhwaite), only marries Ian after Ian lies that Lucy has cancer; the marriage ends when Melanie discovers the lie. Second stepmother, Laura (Hannah Waterman), provides Lucy with another half brother, Bobby, in 2003. By the time her third stepmother, Jane Collins (Laurie Brett), enters her life, Lucy is wary. She rejects Jane, but they eventually bond.
Progressing into her teens, Lucy begins to show signs of rebellion — stealing, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, lying, playing truant from school, being surly to her parents, and taking a keen interest in boys. Things worsen when Ian employs 18-year-old Craig Dixon (Rory Jennings) to work alongside Lucy in his chip shop. The pair are attracted to one another, and despite Craig being five years older than Lucy, they begin a secret relationship. Craig proves a bad influence on Lucy, and upon discovering their relationship, Ian warns Craig away. Lucy runs away with Craig, unperturbed that he carries a gun and has assaulted shopkeeper Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker). However, when he tries to press her for sexual intercourse, she panics, returns to Walford, and confesses to Ian that Craig assaulted Patrick. Craig is arrested for attempted murder; however Lucy keeps his gun, which he had stashed in her bag.
Lucy is contacted by a person claiming to be her mother, Cindy, in 2007. It transpires she has in fact been contacted by her brother Steven, posing as Cindy to terrorise and kidnap Ian, whom he blames for Cindy's death. Steven holds Ian hostage for weeks, while moving in with his frantic, but unsuspecting family. The situation culminates with Steven accidentally shooting Jane with Craig's gun. After Ian gets Steven psychiatric help, Ian allows him to live with them, to Lucy's delight. In March 2008, Ian and Lucy row over a party of Lucy's. Ian slaps Lucy and she runs away. The Beales search for Lucy for weeks, before it is revealed that Steven has been hiding her, turning her against her father and convincing her to move to France, so that he might usurp her place in Ian's affections. Ian discovers the truth and is able to convince Lucy to come home, banishing Steven from their lives.
Lucy's rebellion continues. She leaves home temporarily to move in with Jane's brother Christian Clarke (John Partridge), has a relationship with the older Olly Greenwood (Bart Edwards), decides to take the contraceptive pill and engages in blackmail to earn money. Leon Small (Sam Attwater) takes Lucy's virginity in 2010, leaving her pregnant; unaware of this, Leon dumps Lucy for Zsa Zsa Carter (Emer Kenny). Not wanting to be a mother, Lucy asks Jane to adopt her baby and although Jane agrees, Ian is less keen. When Lucy realises she does not want to have the baby after all, Ian takes her to have an abortion, but deceives Jane by claiming Lucy miscarried — an act that contributes to their marital break-up.
Lucy receives stellar grades in her GCSE exams in 2010, having paid Adam Best (David Proud) to help her cheat. When Lucy's school question the authenticity of her exam results, she is forced to confess she cheated and is told to retake her final year. Lucy decides to quit school and leaves to stay with her grandmother in Devon.
Lucy returns to Walford in 2012 for the funeral of Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) and is angry to discover Ian is engaged to Mandy Salter (Nicola Stapleton). Lucy dislikes Mandy and attempts to stop her marrying her father. She sabotages Mandy's wedding dress, sets her up, and tries to poison Bobby's mind against her, to no avail. Having noticed Whitney Dean's (Shona McGarty) attraction to Tyler Moon (Tony Discipline), Lucy causes upset by seducing and almost having sex with Tyler. Lucy and Whitney are antagonistic to one another but eventually makes amends because of their shared friendship with Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa). On Mandy and Ian's wedding day, Lucy gives Ian an ultimatum: choose between her, or Mandy. She is distraught when he chooses Mandy and throws her out. Uncomfortable with this, Mandy admits she does not love Ian and leaves. Ian has a nervous breakdown and disappears without word, leaving Lucy alone with Bobby. Following her fathers absence Lucy struggles to keep his businesses afloat and runs into trouble with Derek Branning (Jamie Foreman) whom repeatedly steals money from her tills. Derek's son Joey Branning (David Witts) tricks Derek into giving him money, which he pays back to Lucy. Joey and Lucy take a liking to each other and begin a relationship. Lucy decides she does not need Ian and renames the café "Cindy's". Lauren discovers that Ian is homeless but Lucy decides she does not want to see him. Lauren's parents bring Ian back to Walford, and when Lucy opens the door to him, she slams it in his face. However, Lucy later gives Ian another chance after his friend Sharon Rickman (Letitia Dean) convinces her to, but on the condition that her name is transferred to all of his businesses and properties so that she would never be left in that situation again. He agrees and signs the agreement. Although Lucy struggles to maintain the businesses, she eventually allows Ian back to work and promises to be there for him. Joey kisses Whitney, angering her. Eventually, Lauren urges Whitney to tell Lucy, and Lucy breaks up with Joey. She then takes him back and insists they continue dating, even though Joey does not have feelings for her. Joey says that it will never work and leaves her. Lucy worries when she finds a lump in her breast, but it is benign.
Joey starts a relationship with his cousin Lauren. Lucy is jealous and eventually splits them up by spiking Lauren's drink with vodka, making Joey believe that Lauren is drinking excessively again. Lucy is opposed to Ian's plans to open a restaurant, worried he cannot cope. When Lauren applies for a job as a waitress, Lucy deliberately sets Joey up as Lauren's test customer, hoping she will fail the task. Although Whitney is chosen, she withdraws her application so that Lauren gets the job, much to Lucy's chagrin, though Lauren is soon sacked. Lucy provokes Lauren, who punches Lucy and smashes the café window. Lauren is arrested but Lucy later decides not to press charges. Ian steals cheques from Lucy's business account to pay for his new restaurant; Lucy believes that Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) supplied the extra money. When she discovers the truth, she has a vicious row with Ian which is interrupted by Peter's return to Walford.
Lucy gets upset when Joey tells her that he does not want a relationship with her. Ian takes advantage of her emotional state and manipulates Lucy into signing a contract to hand control of the businesses back to him. When Lucy discovers what has happened she and Ian have a row and she goes to work for Janine. Lucy develops a rivalry with her co-worker, Danny Pennant (Gary Lucy), and they both compete and use dirty tactics against each other to gain commission on their pay. However Lucy discovers that Danny is squatting in one of Janine's vacant flats as he is homeless. Danny pleads with Lucy not to tell, which she agrees to, but warns him that she now has power over him. Lucy is pleased when Ian invites his girlfriend, Denise Fox (Diane Parish) to live with the family, but does not like it when Ian agrees to house her younger half-sister, Cindy Williams (Mimi Keene).
As a baby and toddler, Lucy was played by Eva Brittin-Snell for the first three years. Casey Anne Rothery took over the role in 1996 and played Lucy for nearly eight years. In August 2004 it was announced that Rothery, along with Joseph Shade, who played Lucy's twin brother Peter Beale, had been axed from EastEnders as producers were looking to mature the characters. The actors were told days before filming their final scenes that they would be leaving. Rothery's family were said to be furious, with a family friend telling The People, "It was a bolt out of the blue. She is devastated and has been in tears. To be booted out without any warning is a real kick in the teeth. She rang her dad in tears. He phoned soap bosses to complain and they admitted they could have handled things a lot better." An EastEnders spokesperson said, "Joseph and Casey Anne have done a fantastic job. They're written into EastEnders' history and everyone will miss them." Casey's final episode aired on 21 September 2004. It was later announced that young actress Melissa Suffield would take over the role, and she first appeared on 28 October 2004. In March 2010, Suffield said that she wished "people didn't think I was like [Lucy] in real life because I'm not."
In May 2010 it was announced that Suffield had been axed from the show allegedly due to "unruly behaviour" off-set. In June it was reported that the character would be recast. Suffield left the show on 27 August 2010. In February 2011 an EastEnders spokesperson said that no decision on Lucy's recasting had been made. On 14 November 2011, it was announced the character would be returning to EastEnders in January 2012 with Hetti Bywater taking over the role. Of her casting, Bywater said "I'm really excited to be joining such an iconic show as EastEnders, especially becoming part of the Beale household. I'm looking forward to find out what's in store for Lucy and seeing what she's going to get up to when she returns to Walford." After seeing Bywater's first episode, Melissa Suffield said that she has moved on from EastEnders and also wished Bywater good luck in the role. Bywater expressed that she would like Peter Beale to return to the show, with Thomas Law playing him.
In 2010 Lucy is involved in a pregnancy storyline, on which Suffield said "I'm excited about the storyline because it's something brilliant to get my teeth into. I love playing 'bitch Lucy', but you'll soon see a completely different side to her." The storyline involved Lucy offering to have the baby so that it could be brought up by Ian and her step mother Jane (Laurie Brett). An Albert Square insider said: "Lucy's run rings around her father Ian and stepmum Jane for years. Lucy falls pregnant just at a time when Jane's desperate for a child of her own. Jane believes that the baby could be the solution to her dream of having a baby with Ian. Emotions are set to run high for all the Beale family over the next few months and there will be many twists and turns ahead."
In July 2007, Gareth McLean of The Guardian lamented the lack of strong female characters in EastEnders, noting that Lucy "is yet to come into her own". Fellow Guardian critic Grace Dent commented on the repetitive nature of EastEnders storylines by comparing Lucy's relationship with Jane to the fraught mother-daughter bond between Kat (Jessie Wallace) and Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan). The Sun's Ally Ross similarly commented in April 2008 that Lucy was simply a regeneration of previous teenage runaway character Diane Butcher (Sophie Lawrence). The Daily Mail's Caroline Fitton used Lucy as an example of clichéd characterisation in the soap, writing that Albert Square had "become one giant clichéd Fagin's den–from Big Mo (Laila Morse) [...] to Stacey Slater to Lucy Beale, who is fast becoming a little tea leaf, the rate of petty crime escalates daily." Lucy was used by Jane Simon of the Daily Mirror to highlight a trend in the soap for husbands to prioritise their "Chavvy girlfriends" over their "doting wives", with the critic noting: "With Max (Jake Wood) and Rob (Stuart Laing) choosing Stacey and Dawn (Kara Tointon) over Tanya (Jo Joyner) and May (Amanda Drew), the feckless males of Albert Square are clearly voting with their, er, feet. No wonder Lucy Beale has started swigging alcopops on a park bench with a bunch of hoodies. By this time next week she'll have got herself a tattoo, a Staffordshire bull terrier and a chartered accountant lover."
A 2008 report commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families advised parents to use fictional characters and storylines to engage their children in conversation about sexual intercourse and relationships, using Lucy and her plans to have underage sexual intercourse as an example. The report explained: "Parents should feed off the everyday and broach conversations about sexual intercourse and sexual education as part of wider discussions. This provides a springboard for parents to communicate their values as well as helping teens challenge their own beliefs."
When Lucy's brother Steven returned to the show, took Ian hostage and shot Jane, Digital Spy's Dek Hogan noted that: "Throughout all of this, credit has to be given to young Melissa Suffield whose role as Lucy has been pivotal. She's done an excellent job as the confused rebellious teenager and hints of Cindy have shone through." Suffield was nominated 'Best Child Actor' in the 2008 Digital Spy awards, but lost to Ellis Hollins–Tom Cunningham from Hollyoaks.
When EastEnders embarked upon a storyline which saw Lucy's peer Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) abused by the ephebophile Tony King (Chris Coghill), the Daily Mirror's Tony Stewart questioned whether viewers would take the plot seriously, given the "sexually precocious" nature of the soap's storylines, and the fact that only recently, Lucy, who is just a year younger than Whitney, had almost given her virginity to her older boyfriend. When Tony began to groom Lucy's friend Lauren, the Mirror's Maeve Quigley commented: "It's just a pity really that Tony didn't decide to turn his attentions to Lucy Beale instead – he would be minus a vital piece of his anatomy and his wallet by now."
The 2010 storyline in which Lucy falls pregnant and Ian tries to scare her into having an abortion by showing her a DVD of childbirth borrowed from one of his employees prompted a complaint to Ofcom from the woman featured giving birth in the footage shown, alleging "that her privacy and that of her baby son had been infringed by the broadcast of two EastEnders episodes." After investigation from Ofcom, the complaint was not upheld as the footage was in the public domain as part of a National Childbirth Trust DVD.
Upon Lucy's return to EastEnders in 2012, Jaci Stephen of the Daily Mail said she had never been the Angel Gabriel, but she did have a sensitive side. Stephen stated the character now "seems to be auditioning for a role in The Shining: Women Strike Back." Hetti's portrayal of Lucy won her the 'Best Newcomer' award at the 2012 Inside Soap Awards
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