Rita Simons as Roxy Mitchell (2013)
|Portrayed by||Rita Simons|
|First appearance||24 July 2007|
|Created by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
|Introduced by||Diederick Santer|
|EastEnders: E20 (2010)|
|Occupation||Barmaid (2007-09, 2011-13)
Pub landlady (2010, 2013)
Roxanne Lizette "Roxy" Mitchell (previously Slater) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, portrayed by Rita Simons. Roxy arrived in Walford with her sister Ronnie (played by Samantha Womack) on 24 July 2007 and decided to move permanently to Walford from Ibiza where they ran a bar together. Roxy is the younger of the two sisters. She is described as the "fire", as opposed to Ronnie's "ice".
Roxy's major storylines have seen her break off her engagement with her fiancé, fall out with her sister on several occasions, and assume relationships with Jase Dyer (Stephen Lord) and Sean Slater (Robert Kazinsky), as well as betraying Ronnie by having sex with her on-off boyfriend, Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) and later becoming embroiled in a custody battle with Jack over their daughter, Amy Mitchell (Amelie Conway). Roxy has also had a relationship with The Queen Victoria's landlord Alfie Moon (Shane Richie), and a feud with Alfie's ex-wife, Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace). The character has proved popular with viewers, with Simons winning the "Best Newcomer" award at the Digital Spy Soap Awards in 2008 for her role in the soap opera.
Roxy arrives in Walford with her sister, Ronnie, from Ibiza, and they help run their aunt Peggy's (Barbara Windsor) public house, The Queen Victoria. Roxy's philandering fiancé Damian (James Hillier) follows them to Walford, and Roxy seduces him for money so she and Ronnie can buy the local nightclub. However, Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) usurps Roxy, buying the club and going into partnership with Ronnie, whom he also dates. Roxy starts dating Sean Slater (Robert Kazinsky), but Ronnie tries to break them up when she discovers Sean is a drug dealer. It later emerges Roxy was once addicted to cocaine. After arguing with Ronnie, Roxy gets extremely drunk and has sex with Jack. She later discovers she is pregnant and tells Sean that he is the father, while she and Ronnie plan to return to Ibiza. They leave, but Ronnie soon returns looking for Roxy, revealing that after they argued in Ibiza, she disappeared. It transpires Roxy is staying with their father Archie (Larry Lamb) in Weymouth, to Ronnie's horror. Roxy is adamant she will live with Archie but Sean persuades her to return to Walford, telling her he loves her. They move in together upon their return, and later marry. Roxy goes into premature labour and gives birth to a girl, named Amy (Amelie Conway), after Ronnie's daughter who was adopted as a newborn. Roxy and Sean plan to move to Dagenham, but then Sean discovers Jack is Amy's father on Christmas Day. He pretends to forgive Roxy and asks her to move away with him. He drives Roxy and Amy drive to a frozen lake, revealing he intends to kill them all. Roxy gets Amy to safety, but she and Sean fall through the ice. They both survive, and in the wake of this Sean flees. Roxy then begins dating local GP Al Jenkins (Adam Croasdell), however their relationship ends when someone complains that he is seeing his patient.
Archie continually attempts to ruin Roxy's relationship with Ronnie, but it takes Roxy a long time to acknowledge the extent of her father's duplicity and his attempts to destroy Ronnie. Archie is murdered, having made numerous enemies in Walford. Roxy inherits Archie's estate, including £3 million. After Archie's funeral, Roxy meets their younger brother Danny (Liam Bergin) for the first time; they invite him to stay. He gains Roxy's trust, but she is unaware that he and their estranged mother Glenda (Glynis Barber) are planning to steal her inheritance. Glenda double-crosses Danny, exposing the con, claiming Danny has been abusing her and that he is not really Archie's son. Roxy tells Danny to leave and asks Glenda to stay. Roxy spends frivalously until she only has £20,000 left and this is stolen by her cousin Phil (Steve McFadden) and his partner Shirley Carter (Linda Henry). Glenda, who is having an affair with Phil, discovers the theft; when Phil dumps her, she urges Roxy to steal back her money as revenge, but they are caught. Phil manages to convince Roxy that it is Glenda who stole her money; he plants money in Glenda's wardrobe and Roxy sends her away.
Roxy agrees to be a surrogate mother for her gay friend Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and his partner in 2011, but despite their attempt, she does not become pregnant. Roxy is left mortified upon discovering Ronnie's newborn baby, James Branning, died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Ronnie swapped her baby with Kat Moon's (Jessie Wallace) newborn, Tommy, who is also the biological son of Roxy's boyfriend Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd). Before Ronnie is tried in court, Michael attempts to frame Ronnie for kidnapping Tommy a second time to ensure she will receive a custodial sentence. Roxy finishes with Michael as a result, but the damage sticks and, to Roxy's horror, Ronnie is given three years imprisonment. When Ben Mitchell (Joshua Pascoe) babysits Amy, she almost drowns in the bath when he leaves her alone. She is revived but Jack accuses Roxy of neglect then attempts to gain custody of Amy; he is awarded this temporarily and stops Roxy having any contact with Amy. Roxy hires a solicitor, Jimmie Broome (Samuel James), who suggests she discredit Jack. The animosity has a negative effect on Amy, so Roxy and Jack agree not to argue in front of her. They momentarily soften towards each other, which leads to sex, but after Roxy discovers Jack has forged her signature to get Amy a passport, she believes he is intending to flee the country with her daughter. She threatens to report this, and Jack withdraws his bid for custody; Amy is returned to her mother.
Roxy is comforted by her friend and boss, Alfie Moon (Shane Richie), after her attempts to seduce Max Branning (Jake Wood) are made public. Realising she has feelings for Alfie, she confesses she loves him. Although Alfie admits to being tempted, he remains faithful to his wife Kat, who is away visiting family. Roxy and Alfie remain friends and colleagues despite Roxy's growing affection for him. After Alfie goes to visit Kat, Roxy becomes concerned for Jean Slater's (Gillian Wright) welfare and asks Alfie to return home. He returns with Kat, who throws Roxy out. Seeing that Alfie is in financial difficulty, Roxy gives him a loan from Amy's Child Trust Fund. Suspicious of Roxy and Alfie's friendship, Kat confronts Roxy and she admits she had a crush on Alfie. Kat sacks her from the pub and she moves back in with Phil. Phil once again takes control of the Queen Vic kicking Kat and Alfie out due to unpaid rent. He then appoints cousin Roxy as manager once again running it alongside Alfie and Kat. Roxy has brief flings with AJ Ahmed (Phaldut Sharma) and Michael, who she moves in with for a short time. When Alfie and Kat split up, Alfie asks Roxy to live with him and they declare their love for each other. Roxy is delighted when Alfie decides to divorce Kat, though it leads to more hostility between Kat and Roxy, which leads to a physical fight.
Roxy and Alfie decide to try for a baby and Kat is upset about this. When a builder, Josef (Aleksander Mikic), tries to steal money from the pub's till and later the safe, Kat helps Roxy to stop him and Roxy thanks Kat but then accuses her of trying to win Alfie back. Initially Kat promises Roxy that she will not tell Alfie about the incident, but when Roxy tells Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) that Kat is having a relationship with her estranged husband Michael, Kat tells Roxy that she has to tell Alfie about the attempted robbery. Roxy is later delighted when she discovers that Kat and Alfie's divorce has been finalised, but is upset when Alfie does not tell her about it. Alfie proposes to Roxy and she accepts.
Roxy does not tell Alfie that Ronnie is due to be released from prison soon, but when he finds out, he forbids Roxy from meeting her at the prison gates. Instead, Kat meets Ronnie and brings her back to Walford. Ronnie and Roxy spend time together while Alfie is out, but he returns early to find them together, so tells Roxy to choose between him and Ronnie. Roxy chooses Alfie, but is miserable, so starts seeing Ronnie in secret. Michael sees them and tells Alfie, who nearly ends his and Roxy's engagement, but instead, tells Roxy they must leave Walford immediately to sort out their relationship. When they return, Roxy tells Ronnie she can no longer see her, but Alfie sees Roxy crying, so announces their wedding date and invites Ronnie to the wedding. Alfie and Ronnie spend time together, but she is suspicious that he still has feelings for Kat, and warns him not to hurt Roxy. However, after the death of Michael, even Roxy notices how Alfie looks to Kat for comfort. At Roxy's hen party, Ronnie expresses her doubts about the upcoming marriage to Roxy, and the sisters argue. This leads to Roxy declaring that she does not want Ronnie at the wedding. Ronnie attends anyway and the sisters reconcile. Kat walks in during the ceremony, but Alfie continues his wedding vows and they marry. However, Roxy soon realises that Alfie still loves Kat and orders him to go to her as she is leaving for Ibiza. He does so, and Ronnie and Phil worry about Roxy, who gets drunk and humiliates herself. Phil then gets revenge on Alfie on Roxy's behalf by selling The Queen Victoria. Roxy has sex with Carl White (Daniel Coonan) and they begin a relationship, much to Phil and Ronnie's annoyance, especially as Roxy is not looking after Amy.
Roxy appears in episode 9 of the second series of the Internet spin-off EastEnders: E20, as the landlady of Stevie Dickinson (Amanda Fairbank-Hynes) who lives in the flat above Roxy's salon. Stevie is due to move out but asks Roxy if she can stay. Roxy says no as there have been complaints and she caused a blackout across the entire Square. However, Stevie has made a list of safety violations in the flat and threatens to go to the council, so Roxy agrees to let her stay.
Both Mitchell sisters were featured heavily in a BBC marketing campaign. Several promos aired on the BBC network in summer 2007. Using the slogan "The square, under new management", one promo depicted both sisters as party girls, dancing, serving tequila in The Queen Victoria public house (The Vic), shocking the older residents with their raunchy antics and squirting men with a soda syphon to the tune of "The Girls" by Calvin Harris.
Two other trailers featured Ronnie and Roxy (Samantha Womack and Rita Simons) speaking individually. To the instrumental sound of "Little Green Bag" by George Baker (famously used in the Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs), each sister discussed their sibling, giving snippets of information on their personality and the dynamics of their relationship. Discussing Ronnie, Roxy said "My big sister Ronnie, she'd do anything to stop me getting hurt, including getting hurt herself. Boy she means business. We mean business. We're the Mitchell sisters after all... and you don't wanna find that out the hard way." Discussing Roxy, Ronnie said "Roxy will always be my kid sister. Fights, broken hearts, over the years we've had them all. She can be quite a handful, and she's definitely gonna stir things up around here. But remember, wherever Roxy Mitchell is... I'm right behind."
The promotion was received favourably by Leigh Holmwood, television journalist for The Guardian newspaper and MediaGuardian.co.uk. He commented, "now there's more to the long running BBC1 soap, apparently...Yes, it's the new sexed-up, soft focus, raunchy EastEnders trailer and it's hitting your TV screens now. In a bid to welcome the Mitchell sisters to Albert Square, the beeb have pulled out all the stops and come up with a very slick marketing campaign indeed." Referencing to the soap's reputation for being miserable and depressing, Holmwood said that the upbeat trailers were "about as un-EastEnders as you can get...Maybe the arrival of Roxy and Ronnie will herald a new golden age for the soap? Or maybe the BBC marketing department is just very good at putting a trailer together..."
In addition to the trailers, the BBC also planned a "glitzy" EastEnders BBC Radio 1 competition to promote the arrival on the Mitchell sisters, called "I love R&R" (Ronnie and Roxy). It ran from the end of June 2007, and included online promotion and video via the website iloverandr.com. The prize consisted of VIP tickets to a special party, which was to be attended by EastEnders actors and Radio 1 DJ Dave Pearce. Despite inviting the winners to attend, Radio 1 cancelled the event due to orders from BBC director general Mark Thompson, who called a halt to all BBC radio, TV and online competitions following a review of its programming, which uncovered scores of editorial breaches. Radio 1 reportedly decided to cancel the promotion as a "precautionary measure", though it is unknown whether the competition breached the BBC ban. Winners were instead told that they would be getting a tour of the EastEnders set, and the website was closed down on 26 July 2007.
Both sisters have been described as glamorous, and have been compared to the Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie. Womack has noted that it is no coincidence that the sisters are named Ronnie and Roxy. She also describes the sisters as "co-dependent and dysfunctional", as well as "chilling, dark and absolutely in touch with what the other is doing". Simons has described Roxy's insecurities, commenting: "whatever insecurities she's got, she has a shag". Simons also stated in a 2009 interview following the departure of her on screen husband Sean Slater that Roxy would only ever love him and no man would ever match up to Sean again.
Discussing the storyline which saw Roxy sleep with Ronnie's boyfriend, Jack Branning, Simons has said: "This is by far the worst Roxy has ever felt in her entire life. The guilt is absolutely killing her. I really hope the viewers sympathise with her Filming was hard and it got to the stage where she couldn't even look at Sam without crying. What she's done to Ronnie is so out of order, but if she could take it back, she would." Making it clear that what happened between Roxy and Jack was a one-off, she stated: "There's no lingering attraction between them [...] He makes Roxy's skin crawl." Simons also considered the outcome were Ronnie to find out about the betrayal, speculating: "One thing the Mitchells are good at is sweeping things under the carpet. And these girls have been through so much together. Perhaps in time, Ronnie could find it in her heart to forgive Roxy..." She mentioned the character's relationship with friend Christian Clarke, assessing that Roxy would be "really lost without him. He's her rock".
With the introduction of Roxy and Ronnie's mother, Glenda Mitchell (Glynis Barber) in 2010, Simons stated that Roxy had Archie's genes while Ronnie had Glenda's. Before Glenda's introduction, Archie is murdered by an unseen person, and Simons stated that she did not think Roxy was the killer, but said that in the last few days of Archie's life, she saw what he was really like, though she believed that Roxy would still forgive Archie regardless.
In December 2010, Simons stated she hoped that Roxy would have a new romance, saying "She's supposed to be the slapper of the Square—but hardly. Okay, she slept with Jack Branning once, was married to Sean and had a thing with Dr Al for about five minutes. But she hasn't had a bit of stuff for ages, so I think she's due some romance. Not that there's anyone on the Square she fancies. [...] She wants nothing more than a ring on her finger and to settle down, but she's a loose cannon, so I don't think she's going to get that anytime soon."
Discussing Roxy's friendship with Alfie Moon (Shane Richie), Simons told Soaplife that although Roxy flirts with Alfie, she would not steal him from his wife Kat (Jessie Wallace). Roxy is the only person to ask Alfie how he feels after the death of his son Tommy Moon, which Simons said showed how close Roxy and Alfie have become as friends. The actress commented, "She cares about Alfie and can see that a lot of what he's feeling is hidden behind his sparky exterior. She's a bit like that too."
In 2011, Roxy agrees to become a surrogate mother for Christian and his boyfriend Syed Masood. Simons explained that although Roxy would do anything for Christian out of love for him, she probably agrees for selfish reasons as well, as she is a single mother and wants what her friends have. She expressed a wish for Roxy to grow up and be less moody. Simons also said she wanted Roxy to be successful in a forthcoming revenge storyline following Roxy's discovery that Phil and Shirley stole her money, telling Soaplife magazine, "[The plan is] to steal back the money [Phil] stole from her. Glenda's in on it with Roxy and they plan to rob the club for what's rightfully Roxy's."
In April 2011, Roxy discovers that Ronnie swapped her dead baby, James, with Kat Moon's healthy son, Tommy. Speaking to Digital Spy, Simons discussed Roxy and Ronnie's relationship and how Ronnie's crime affects them. She stated that Roxy is loyal to Ronnie, despite Ronnie's mistakes, and would stand by her, but has conflicting feels as she finds it hard to come to terms with what Ronnie did. She called Roxy "quite a moral person", but her loyalty to her sister would most likely win. She said it is hard on their relationship, comparing it to when Roxy discovered that Ronnie was raped by their father as a child. Roxy tries to help release Ronnie from prison, and Simons said the storyline marks a transition for Roxy as she starts to grow up and stand on her own feet with Ronnie out of her every-day life.
Relationship with Alfie Moon
In March 2012, Roxy realises that she is in love with Alfie Moon (Shane Richie). Alfie and Roxy share a strong friendship and Roxy starts to see him as her "ideal man". After a confrontation with Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell), Roxy goes to see Alfie and they have a heart-to-heart which leads Alfie to hug Roxy, making her realise that she is in love with him. Richie admitted that he did not want Alfie to cheat on Kat with Roxy. Alfie was tipped to face temptation as the storyline developed. Speaking to an Inside Soap writer, Richie commented "As far as Alfie's concerned, he's a happily married man. He can see that Roxy is flirting with him, but he just thinks she's being friendly. They've got a great friendship and enjoy some good banter together, but Alfie banters with half of Albert Square."
The following month, it was revealed that Roxy would confess her feelings to Alfie. Simons stated that she did not want Roxy and Alfie to have an affair, saying "Roxy knows it can't happen, but she can't help being in love with him. She leaves The Vic and says she just can't work there any longer. She just decides she has to leave because he goes on and on about Kat. It's too much for her." Simons added that she wanted the storyline to be "slow-burning". Simons later admitted that she does not know whether she will be sharing an on-screen kiss with Richie. Speaking to Press Association, Simons commented "It's been lovely to work with Shane, he's a great actor. We haven't had a kissing scene yet, I don't know if we will. He's a very generous actor." Roxy later daces more heartbreak when her friend Christian Clarke (John Partridge) says that Alfie does not love her, leading to Roxy denying this saying that there is definitely something between them.
It was revealed that Roxy will confess her feeling for Alfie to his wife Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) when she returns to the square. A source told the Daily Star Sunday "Everyone has been eagerly awaiting Kat's return to Albert Square and it doesn't disappoint. Roxy confesses all in a bid to stay on friendly terms with Kat and Alfie. He then decides the best distraction would be to set up a football team." Kat manages to keep her temper following Roxy's revelations but warns her that she is not to do any further shifts in the pub and is to leave immediately, leading to Roxy moving on from Alfie.
Rita Simons won the 'Best Newcomer' award at the Digital Spy Soap Awards in 2008 for the part of Roxy and also collected an award at the Dublin awards and the TV Now awards. She also won the National Television Award 2008 for Best Newcomer. Singer Duncan James said that he watches EastEnders to follow Roxy. Speaking to Inside Soap, James said "I like to watch the show and see what they're doing with her character. Purely because Rita is one of my best friends."
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