Bobby Beale (EastEnders)
A promotional image of Elliot Carrington as Bobby Beale
|Portrayed by||Kevin Curran (2003–07)
Alex Francis (2007–12)
Rory Stroud (2013–14)
Eliot Carrington (2014–)
|First appearance||Episode 2554
24 July 2003
|Introduced by||Louise Berridge (2003)
Diederick Santer (2007)
Lorraine Newman (2013)
Dominic Treadwell-Collins (2014)
Robert "Bobby" Beale is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders who has been played by four actors since being introduced in 2003. Kevin Curran played Bobby from 2003 to 2007, and was replaced by Alex Francis on 7 May 2007. Francis was not credited in the role until 10 March 2008. In January 2013 it was announced that Bobby had been recast, with Rory Stroud taking over the role. Stroud first appeared as Bobby on 1 March 2013. His character departed from the show in May 2014, before returning in November, with Eliot Carrington taking over the role.
During the episode broadcast 19 February 2015, viewers saw Ian accuse Jane of being his daughter Lucy's killer, demanding that she explain what happened that night. During the 'flashback' episode that aired the same evening, Bobby was revealed to be Lucy's killer, with Jane covering for him by moving Lucy's body to Walford Common to make it look like a mugging.
When Laura Beale gives birth to Bobby, her husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) refuses to acknowledge the possibility of being Bobby's father because he had a vasectomy prior to Bobby's conception; also, Laura had been unfaithful to him with Gary Hobbs (Ricky Groves). When Bobby (Kevin Curran) needs a blood transfusion, Ian is proven to be Bobby's father, but he does not learn the truth until after Laura's death. Afterwards Ian brings Bobby to live with him and his older half-siblings, Peter Beale (James Martin/Thomas Law/Ben Hardy) and Lucy Beale (Melissa Suffield/Hetti Bywater). Ian's partner Jane Collins (Laurie Brett), joins the household; she becomes Bobby's stepmother and values him as her own child, increasingly so following an emergency hysterectomy.
Ian enters Bobby (now Alex Francis) into a talent contest but cheats by enlisting another child to sing while Bobby mimes. When Ian's deceit is revealed, Bobby is left exposed and upset. Jane leaves temporarily and Bobby becomes troubled. When Ian catches Bobby bullying his cousin Tiffany Butcher (Maisie Smith) and confronts him, Bobby shouts that he wants his mum. He disappears from school to look for Jane, and it is Jane who finds him. She formally adopts him. Bobby and Ian plan a surprise 40th-birthday party for her, but when they see her kissing a man named Martin (Alisdair Harvey), Ian's reaction leads Jane to divorce him, leaving Walford to protect Bobby from their acrimonious arguments. In August, Bobby is misinformed of Jane's death after Ian starts telling people he is a widower. Bobby is upset so Ian tells him that he was only joking and calls Jane to prove that she is alive. When Mandy Salter (Nicola Stapleton) moves in with them, she and Bobby start to bond but Bobby still visits Jane, and she briefly returns to Walford prior to accepting a catering job in Wales. When Mandy dumps Ian, he suffers a nervous breakdown and goes missing, leaving Bobby in Lucy's care. Several weeks later Ian returns after having been living homeless, scaring Bobby with his unkempt appearance.
Bobby and Ian visit family in America. Soon after returning, Bobby (now Rory Stroud) takes a romantic interest in Tiffany. When Tiffany's mum Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer) trashes Ian's new restaurant, Ian agrees not to go to the police in exchange for Bobby and Tiffany not seeing each other anymore. Tiffany and Bobby then start meeting in secret. When Bobby participates in a school spelling competition competing against Tiffany, it is revealed that they have broken up. Bobby is delighted when Jane returns to Walford and plans to buy into Ian's restaurant.
In April the Beale family are distraught when Lucy is killed. After Jane breaks down in Ian's arms, they kiss and Ian hopes they will reconcile and tells Bobby they are getting back together, but Jane is annoyed and shouts at Ian. When Bobby tries to intervene, an angry Ian tells him he will never be as good as Lucy. Jane decides to leave Walford with Bobby. They depart abruptly, briefly returning for Lucy's funeral in May. In November Jane returns to report that Bobby has gone missing. When found in Walford, Bobby (now Eliot Carington) says that he wants to move back to Albert Square. Jane agrees, but later she's concerned when she finds a casefile with Bobby has compiled with the intention of solving Lucy's murder.
On the night of Jane and Ian's remarriage, it is revealed in a flashback episode that Bobby had accidentally killed Lucy the previous April, after attacking her with a jewelry box out of frustration at her actions. Jane tells a heartbroken Ian, Peter, and Cindy that she killed Lucy, but Ian realises that she is lying and that Bobby is the culprit. Jane admits that she had moved Lucy's body, and convinced Bobby that he had not caused Lucy's death. The Beale family (with the exception of a disgusted Peter) then agree to keep the circumstances of Lucy's death a secret from Bobby, the police, and the residents of Walford. Peter later makes peace with Bobby before emigrating to New Zealand.
Afterwards, Bobby continuously walks in between Ian and Jane's conversations about him killing Lucy, where they nervously shake it off and tell him they were discussing something else. When Bobby's half-uncle Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) is arrested for Lucy's murder, Jane reveals to Ian that she kept the phone and purse that Ben stole from her. Bobby soon finds them and takes them to the police station, but is stopped by Ben's father Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) who sees the objects and takes Bobby back home. Phil demands of Jane where she got the objects, and as he threatens her, Bobby brandishes a golf club and threatens Phil. Ian rushes in and takes the club from Bobby. Ben is soon released when Lucy's former love interest Max Branning (Jake Wood) is arrested for the killing. Now convinced that Max killed Lucy, Bobby tries to smash his car with a brick, but is stopped by Cindy and taken home, where she berates him as nothing more than a "stupid little boy". Bobby loses his temper and pushes Cindy as Jane walks in, causing Cindy to graze her head and land where Lucy died. Cindy snaps at Ian when Bobby leaves the room, and her words convince Jane to confess to Carol the truth of Lucy's death. Left alone, Cindy then tells Liam that Bobby had killed Lucy. Bobby is increasingly confused by Jane's behaviour but the revealing video message Cindy sends him is opened by Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) and deleted by Ian.
Creation and development
|“||Bobby has overcome a complicated start in life — Garry thought he was his father until a blood test proved it was Ian. Not to mention enduring the revolving door of his father's love life...Bobby's biological mum, Laura, died in dubious circumstances. Jane was the closest thing to a mum he had, but she left, unable to endure another minute as Mrs Beale. Mandy took over the unlikely role of 'mum' for a while until she too left The Square.||”|
— A reporter from the EastEnders website on Bobby (2013)
In December 2003, Neil Wilkes of Digital Spy revealed an upcoming "baby bombshell" storyline involving Garry Hobbs (Ricky Groves) torn between Laura Beale (Hannah Waterman) and Lynne Hobbs (Elaine Lordan). Garry mistakenly believes that Laura's unborn child is his but it is in fact Ian Beale's (Adam Woodyatt) who is oblivious to this information. It was then confirmed that Laura was to be killed in an "explosive exit" after she comes clean with both Garry and Ian. An EastEnders insider said in May 2004 "Garry's grown to love Bobby despite all the trouble caused by his night of passion with Ian's wife Laura". In July 2007, Laurie Brett who plays Jane Collins said that Bobby will start becoming "a bit of a handful". In December 2009. a writer for the Sunday Mail said that when Bobby went missing, it made viewers feel sorry for Ian for a change. In February 2010, Woodyatt said that Bobby's character was a fail-safe option if the live episode of EastEnders went wrong saying "We've all got our little strategies in case it goes wrong. I'm going upstairs to check on Bobby. Steve Mac is going to say, 'I've had enough of this' and just walk out." When Nicola Stapleton reprises her role as Mandy Salter, she said that there a part of Mandy that wants to be maternal as she gets on well with Bobby, who becomes her "little mate". In January 2013, after leaving EastEnders, Laurie Brett said "I would never say never to going back, as I loved playing Jane. She's Bobby's mum and it will always be that way."
Digital Spy revealed on 31 January 2013 that Alex Francis departed from EastEnders to "concentrate more on school commitments". EastEnders Executive Producer Lorraine Newman said of Francis' departure "Alex has been a highly valued member of the EastEnders cast and we wish him the best for the future." The role of Bobby was recast to Rory Stroud and started appearing as Bobby from 1 March 2013. In April 2013, when Ben Hardy is recast as Bobby's brother Peter Beale, he said "Ian's wonderful relationship with Denise and the inclusion of Lucy, Peter and Bobby in the household will reinvigorate the clan with vibrancy and energy. I am really looking forward to seeing them all together on screen." Additionally, in June 2013, upon the announcement that Bobby's stepsister was to return to the program, new actress Mimi Keene said "with Peter, Lucy, Bobby and Cindy to contend with, it'll be a lively household".
Third recast and Lucy's death
Bobby was recast for the third time, this time being played by Eliot Carrington who made his first appearance in the episode broadcast on 25 November 2014. Bobby was revealed to be the killer of his sister Lucy Beale on 19 February 2015 in a special flashback episode. Treadwell-Collins mentioned that the killer reveal would be different to the show's earlier whodunnit. “With Archie, it was a one-line reveal, but with this one it’s more complicated: there are a few conversations.” Following the reveal, the executive producer said that the storyline is the "start of a bigger story". He also mentioned that the original killer was Jane Beale and then Cindy Williams, but stated his reason for the change: "There was one other suspect for about a day, but then it didn't feel right. We always said that this story had to come from the heart, and with this, it's the start of a whole big new story for the Beales." Bobby being the culprit was originally suggested by series producer Alex Lamb.
Rory Stroud was nominated as "Best Young Actor" at the 2013 Inside Soap Awards. A reporter from the EastEnders website said "We feel for cute-as-a-button Bobby Beale, whose home life is about as stable as Kim Fox (Tameka Empson) in stilettoes after ladies' night at R&R."
In September 2013, Stuart Heritage of The Guardian newspaper said that the character should be axed because Stroud "can actually act. He can speak in full sentences and walk around and stuff. That's not who Bobby Beale is. Bobby Beale should be mute and confused by everything, just like he was when Alex Francis played him."
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- Kilkelly, Daniel (19 April 2013). "'EastEnders': Peter Beale recast, returning in summer". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
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- Dainty, Sophie (22 July 2013). "Inside Soap Awards 2013 - longlist nominees in full". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- Heritage, Stuart (26 September 2013). "Which character should be next for the EastEnders axe?". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2015.