Mitchell family

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Mitchell family
EastEnders family
Introduced by Michael Ferguson
Duration 1990–
First appearance 20 February 1990

The Mitchell family is a fictional family in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. They were first introduced in 1990, when brothers Phil (Steve McFadden) and Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) bought the local garage, the Arches. Since then, they have been developed significantly to include both the immediate and extended families of these characters. McFadden remains as the longest running Mitchell in the show currently, while Perry Fenwick, Rita Simons and Samantha Womack currently appear alongside him as Billy, Roxy and Ronnie Mitchell respectively.

The Mitchells have always been a power force in the soap; Phil and Grant's mother, Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor), was landlady of the local pub, the Queen Victoria, intermittently from 1994 to 2010. In 2010, EastEnders celebrated Windsor's exit from the soap with 'Queen Vic Fire Week', which saw a fire consume the long-standing pub, risking the lives of Walford regulars including Peggy and Phil. The Mitchell empire currently includes boxing gym 'Ronnie's', owned and run by Ronnie Mitchell, nightclub R&R, which is owned by Phil, upmarket bar The Albert, owned by Phil and run by his wife Sharon Rickman (Letitia Dean), and the Arches, which has been run by the Mitchell family since 1990 when they were first introduced.

Various major characters who have appeared on the show have also been married into the Mitchell family. These characters include Frank Butcher (Mike Reid), Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), Kate Morton (Jill Halfpenny), Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean), Tiffany Raymond (Martine McCutcheon), Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen), Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs), Little Mo Slater (Kacey Ainsworth), Honey Edwards (Emma Barton), Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), Sean Slater (Rob Kazinsky) and Alfie Moon (Shane Richie). Another character with strong connections to the Mitchell family is Peggy's sister Sal Martin (Anna Karen), who has appeared as a recurring character.

Family tree[edit]

The Mitchell family tree.

Storylines[edit]

1990-[edit]

Following their arrival in 1990, the first major Mitchell storyline was Phil's affair with Grant's wife, Sharon Watts (now known as Sharon Rickman). The affair storyline was dubbed "Sharongate", and is considered one of the soap's most memorable storylines. Samantha Mitchell (Danniella Westbrook) also appeared from 1990 onwards, staying with her brothers to escape overbearing Peggy. Following the revelation of the affair, Sharon and Grant divorced, and Grant and Phil's mother Peggy was introduced as the new landlady of the Queen Vic, replacing Sharon, who had lived in the pub all her life.

In 1993, Phil married Nadia Borovac (Anna Barkan) in 1993 so she could stay in the country, but started a relationship with Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) alongside the fake marriage. In order to marriage her, he divorced Nadia, and Phil and Kathy marry in 1995. Their son, Ben, was born in 1996, and they divorced in 1999. Kathy emigrated to South Africa with Ben.

Grant remarried to Tiffany Raymond (Martine McCutcheon) in 1996, and they had a daughter, Courtney. After a rocky marriage, he was widowed in 1998, when Tiffany was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Peggy married Frank Butcher (Mike Reid) in 1991, but they divorced two years later due to Frank having an affair with Peggy's best friend Pat Wicks (Pam St. Clement). Grant departs from the soap in late 1999 to start a new life in Brazil with Courtney.

The extended Mitchell family was introduced in 1998; Jamie Mitchell (Jack Ryder) was taken in by Phil, fleeing the abuse from his guardian and uncle Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick). Billy moved to Walford as well, and became a lackey for the Mitchell brothers and their schemes. Jamie is killed off in 2002, while Fenwick remains as a regular in the soap in 2014, having reformed his character.

One of the Mitchell's, and EastEnders', biggest storylines occurred in 2001, when Phil was at the centre of the Who Shot Phil? storyline. Phil had become a darker and more menacing character during the previous year, and five characters were suspected of being responsible. This storyline received a lot of press in newspapers and the media, with many people placing bets on who the attempted killer was. Several outcomes were allegedly filmed [1] An estimated 22 million viewers watched EastEnders on April 5, 2001 to find out that Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin) — Phil's former girlfriend — was the culprit.[2] The episode caused the third-largest power surge on record[3] It was later revealed that Lisa was pregnant with Phil's child, Louise. Lisa later took Louise and emigrated to Portugal after her marriage to Mark Fowler (Todd Carty) broke down. Phil followed her, and returned with Louise in October 2002; Lisa was then reported missing, leading the police to suspect Phil of murdering her. Jill Halfpenny was introduced as Kate Morton, Phil's third wife, as a result, betraying her job as an undercover cop due her feelings for Phil. Phil married Kate in 2003 but Lisa made a surprise return on their wedding day, scheming to kill Phil despite her appearance as a reformed character. After convincing Lisa not to kill Phil, Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) helped her take her revenge by setting Phil up for armed robbery; Phil was arrested in 2003. This led to McFadden's departure from the show for two years, as he escaped prison and went on the run from the police.

Following Phil's departure, Sam (now Kim Medcalf) took control of the Mitchell empire, and a feud between Sam and the remaining Mitchells against Den Watts and his family is the source of major storylines in 2004. The Mitchell empire fell when an old friend of the family, Marcus Christie (Stephen Churchett), scammed them for all they have. When Den was murdered, Sam witnessed the death and hid it for several months. When Den's killer, his estranged wife Chrissie (Tracey-Ann Oberman), began manipulating everyone into thinking Sam was insane, Sam dug up Den's body from the Vic cellar to try and expose Chrissie, only to be arrested for the murder herself. This led to the reintroduction of McFadden and Kemp as Phil and Grant, as they returned from Brazil to clear her name. When this was done, Sam left for Brazil.

With the Mitchell brothers back together, they once again became a dominating force in Walford, and were quick to avenge any misdoings towards them. When Johnny Allen (Billy Murray) threatened Peggy, Phil and Grant brought revenge against him. The storyline was a major 2006 storyline, and is known as 'Get Johnny Week'.

When Kathy died in 2006, Ben (now Charlie Jones) came to England to live with Phil. Phil became engaged to Stella Crawford (Sophie Thompson), unaware that she was physically and mentally abusing Ben behind his back. This is revealed on their wedding day, and Stella committed suicide in the aftermath. The wedding was also significant for the Mitchell family as it saw the introduction of Phil's cousins, Ronnie (Samantha Womack) and Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), as wild and fun-loving sisters from Ibiza. They buy the local club, R&R. Ronnie and Roxy's father, the manipulative Archie (Larry Lamb) is introduced a year later in 2007, sharing a good relationship with Roxy but a broken one with Ronnie. The true reason of Ronnie and Archie's bad relationship is soon revealed; Archie had the baby she had as a teenager adopted out against her will. Archie and Peggy, once his sister-in-law, start a relationship soon after he moves to Walford.

Roxy and Ronnie's relationship hit troubled waters when Roxy had a one-night-stand with Ronnie's on-off boyfriend, Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), and she got pregnant, giving birth to a daughter that she named Amy Mitchell that November. Suzy Branning (Maggie O'Neill), Phil's latest girlfriend, revealed on Christmas Day 2008 that Roxy's husband, Sean Slater (Robert Kazinsky), was not Amy's father. Sean and Roxy divorced as a result. Billy married Honey Edwards (Emma Barton), and they have two children together, Janet, who has Down's Syndrome, and William. Billy and Honey divorce several years later, and Honey moved away with the children.

Danielle Jones (Lauren Crace) arrived on the square in 2008, and was soon revealed to be the daughter Ronnie gave up for adoption many years earlier. Danielle kept her identity a secret ('The Secret Mitchell' storyline), until it is discovered by Archie. He manipulated her into thinking that Ronnie hated her and would reject her if she knew who she was. Archie and Peggy became engaged, and at the wedding reception Danielle revealed her true identity to a stunned Ronnie; she refused to believe her, as Archie had stole the locket that would have acted as proof to what Danielle was saying. However, Ronnie discovered the locket in her wine glass, and headed off to reunite with her daughter, but before they could, Danielle was killed by Janine Butcher's (Charlie Brooks) speeding car.

Sam returned, again played by Danniella Westbrook, in 2009. The Mitchells bailed her out, but when she fled Walford a few months later, they lost their bail money, resulting in them becoming bankrupt. Archie and his new girlfriend, Janine Butcher, preyed on their vulnerability, and took over the Queen Vic pub. On Christmas Day 2009, Archie was murdered by a then-unknown assailant, kicking of another major whodunnit for the Mitchells; 'Who Killed Archie?'. Phil, Peggy, Sam, Ronnie and Billy were all suspects in the murder, but in the following February Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) was exposed as the true culprit.

Following Archie's death, Ronnie and Roxy's mother, Glenda (Glynis Barber) was introduced, having come to reunite with her girls after leaving them as teenagers due to her breakdown of her and Archie's marriage. Sam returned and was promptly arrested and sent to prison for her part in Den's murder. Phil's daughter Louise was also reintroduced when Lisa abandoned her on Phil's doorstep; she is abused by Ben, who is still scarred by his abuse by Stella. He was eventually sent to juvenile detention when he attacked Jordan Johnson (Michael-Joel David Stuart). The stress of this caused Phil to become addiction to cocaine, ending his long-term relationship with Shirley Carter (Linda Henry). Peggy took Louise back to live with Lisa, a move which broke down her relationship with Phil. Determined to help her son break his addiction, she locked Phil in the Queen Vic, but when he escaped he set the pub alight. In the ensuing fire, Phil nearly died and Peggy was devastated when the pub burnt out ('Queen Vic Fire Week'). Realising how her controlling behaviour has made Phil the way he is, Peggy decides to leave Walford, handing the pub over to Phil. He rents it out to Alfie (Shane Richie) and Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace).

Sam returned to Walford again in late 2010 and revealed that she was pregnant; she initially lied that the child is Ricky Butcher's (Sid Owen), to try and initiate a reconciliation between them. However, Ronnie exposed the fact the baby was the son of her now fiance Jack Branning. Ronnie and Jack married in November 2010 and Ronnie gave birth to their son James in late December. However, days after he was born he died of sudden infant death syndrome, leading her to swap her dead child with the newborn son of Kat and Alfie Moon. She did not reveal her actions until April 2011; the storyline was initially intended to continue for much longer, but due to a public outcry the baby-swap storyline was brought to an early end. Womack departed as Ronnie in June 2011, as her character was sent down for her actions.

Phil embarked on an affair with Glenda behind his partner Shirley's back. In January 2011, he had a heart attack, and afterwards asked Shirley to marry him, but on their wedding day he discovered his affair and called things off. Their rocky relationship soon resumes again. Glenda left Walford having been rejected by Ronnie and Roxy for her actions. Ben (now Joshua Pascoe) was released from prison in September, and began to stalk his father when Phil refused to accept that he was gay, sending him threatening notes for several months. Billy's granddaughter Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) was introduced as a new teenage troublemaker, and became pregnant by Ben, her distant relative, when they tested his sexuality.

Ben's stalking actions were revealed when an old Mitchell adversary, D.C.I. Jill Marsden (Sophie Stanton) returns to arrest him, accusing him of murdering Stella Crawford after her abuse of Ben was exposed. Phil was sent to prison, but found not guilty. Ben panicked about his father's return, and while arguing with Shirley's best friend Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), he lost control and killed her. Phil covers up the death, despite Shirley's devastation at her friend's death. Ben's actions were exposed several months later, and Shirley ended her relationship with Phil due to his part. Ben was sent to prison.

Lola was accused of not being able to care for her baby, named Lexi, and Phil took custody of her on the revelation that she was Ben's son. Phil formed an attachment to Lexi following Ben's arrest, and double-crosses Lola, pretending to help her in her quest to get custody of Lexi back while really wanting to keep Lexi himself. Eventually, he saw the error of his ways and handed Lexi back.

Sharon Watts, now Sharon Rickman, returned in 2012, and began a relationship with Phil after a failed engagement to Jack Branning. Ronnie Mitchell also returned in 2013, when she was released from prison. Billy resumes custody of Janet in 2014 when Honey moves to Canada with William. Roxy briefly married Alfie Moon, but their marriage is annulled when she realised on their wedding day that he was still in love with his ex-wife Kat Moon. In the aftermath of her rejection, Roxy had a romance with bad boy, Carl White (Daniel Coonan), who had a troubled relationship with Phil due to putting him in hospital earlier in the year as part of his plan to put Max Branning (Jake Wood) in prison. Ronnie tried to warn Carl off Roxy, but he turned nasty on her and she killed in him in self-defence when he threatened to rape her. She disposed of the body, only telling Phil what she had done. Phil sold the Queen Vic to Mick Carter (Danny Dyer), unaware that he was his ex Shirley's brother. Phil and Sharon become engaged when she is badly injured in an attack on Phil's bar The Albert, which she runs. Phil was behind the attack, having wanted to scare Sharon into becoming more reliant on him, and he proposed out of guilt. Ronnie discovered she is pregnant, and left Walford.

A number of Mitchells were brought back for the wedding of Phil and Sharon; firstly Ben (now Harry Reid) returned to try and convince Phil to marry Shirley instead, and Peggy made several cameo appearances, ordering fellow returnees Ronnie and Aunt Sal to return to Walford to stop the wedding.

Family members[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stagehand fires fateful shot to keep EastEnders in dark", Sunday Mirror. URL last accessed on 2007-03-02.
  2. ^ "22M TUNE IN TO SEE PHIL CONFRONT EAST ENDERS LISA", Evening Standard. URL last accessed on 2007-03-02.
  3. ^ "Power surge for 'EastEnders'", The Independent. URL last accessed on 2007-03-02.

External links[edit]