|Portrayed by||Kellie Bright|
|First appearance||Episode 4765
19 December 2013
|Created by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
|Introduced by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
Linda Bernadette 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. Although never credited with the name, in a small number of episodes, the character is referred to as Linda Peacock. In May 2016, Bright announced that she was pregnant with her second child and that she would be taking maternity leave from EastEnders, departing on 25 December 2016, making a guest appearance in March 2017, and returning full-time in June 2017.
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.
Linda's storylines include her feud with Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), coming to terms with her youngest son Johnny (Sam Strike/Ted Reilly) being gay, being raped by Mick's brother Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) and coping in the aftermath, giving birth to a premature baby, suffering from bulimia nervosa, being in denial of the possibility that her baby son Ollie Carter could have brain damage, and leaving to care for her mother Elaine Peacock (Maria Friedman) following her stroke.
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, the son Johnny Carter (Sam Strike) and their 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 Carter's (Maddy Hill) 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 staying, 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. 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 attention seeking. One evening, Dean kisses Linda but she slaps him. Distraught over the upset that Mick's actions have brought her family, Linda leaves Walford to stay with Elaine in Watford. She returns, reconciling with Mick, 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, but, misunderstanding her reassurance and very drunk, Dean rapes her. She becomes very withdrawn, telling nobody and refusing 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 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 onto the belief that the baby is Mick's. Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) 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.
Linda, feeling increasingly threatened by Dean, turns down Mick's Christmas Day proposal before stunning Mick by revealing the rape. Later that day he confronts Dean who lies, saying that he and Linda were having an affair. Mick attacks Dean forcing Shirley's revelation—Dean is his brother. Linda 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 Ollie 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 and Mick agree they should marry soon. On her return home with Mick and Ollie, Linda snubs an apologetic Dean's attempt to shake her hand. When Linda and Nancy return from holiday, Linda learns that Lee has been suffering from depression, and she encourages him to take his medication. Elaine moves in temporarily, which initially causes consternation when she interferes with running the pub. Mick arranges for Linda to go to a wedding fair in Birmingham, and when she returns, she discovers that Mick and Shirley have been seeing each other in secret, which upsets Linda. After making herself sick one day, she tells Mick she cannot get married. Eventually, she tells him she hates herself and, because of Dean, she feels the same way she did when she suffered from bulimia after her father died, and has been making herself sick again. However, she agrees to marry Mick with his support. When Dean attempts to rape his fiancée Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), Linda encourages her to report this to the police. During a heated exchange with Linda where Shirley is present, Dean admits that he raped Linda. Stunned, Linda tells Mick, while Dean goes into hiding, where he sees one of Mick and Linda's wedding invites. Dean goes to at the wedding venue and attempts to drown Shirley, jumping into the lake with her. Mick fights with Dean in the lake and he is knocked unconscious. Mick rescues him and resuscitates him, and he is arrested for the attempted rape of Roxy. Afterwards, Linda and Mick marry. When they return from their honeymoon, Whitney kisses Mick, saying she has feelings for him, so he tells Linda what happened. Linda tells Whitney to keep away from Mick and not to give up on Lee.
Nancy and Lee have an argument, which causes Ollie to fall off his highchair. Mick and Linda do not witness this, and when Mick insists they should get Ollie to hospital, Linda states he seems fine, but she later finds Ollie is not breathing. She successfully resuscitates him, only for him to suffer a seizure. Ollie is taken to hospital where a doctor tells the Carters that he could have brain damage after a head injury. Linda, in denial about the severity of Ollie's condition, argues with Mick, especially when he blames Nancy for the incident, however, she soon realises that Mick is right about Ollie having changed when he does not respond to her in the usual way. Linda is delighted by Johnny's (now Ted Reilly) return but saddened by Nancy's departure. Linda is devastated when Dean is acquitted but tells Mick she has become a strong person and that their relationship has become stronger. The Carters are later devastated when a pregnant Whitney suffers a miscarriage but are delighted when Lee and Whitney get married. The Carters are traumatised by a violent robbery on the Queen Vic, during which Linda's favourite necklace is stolen. Linda is inspired to make Christmas great as a result, and is overjoyed when Ollie takes his first steps. Linda is devastated to learn that Elaine has had a stroke in Spain on Christmas Eve, and she flies out there with Johnny to support her mother. Later, Johnny returns to Walford while Linda relocates with Elaine to Watford to aid her mother's recovery. Mick visits Linda and informs her that Babe has caused the pub to be fined £20,000 because of her selling alcohol illegally outside of licensing hours. When Mick struggles to cope with the pub's mounting debts, Jane Beale (Laurie Brett) calls Linda, worried about Mick. Linda returns the following day and Mick informs her of Lee's departure and the debts he left. Linda initially blames Whitney and an argument ensues, causing Whitney to leave. Mick explains to Linda that it was Lee's fault, causing another argument, although they make up and have sex. After a heart-to-heart with Whitney, Linda decides to return to Elaine, which angers Mick as Linda saw the state he was in and left anyway. Linda then sends Woody Woodward (Lee Ryan) to work in the Vic as a bar manager. With Lady Di needing an expensive operation and mounting debts, Shirley convinces Linda to sell the freehold of The Queen Vic, and they agree not to tell Mick. Linda signs the paperwork and Shirley forges Mick's signature.
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 into 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
Upon the character's announcement, Treadwell-Collins explained that in their fictional backstory, Mick and Linda have been married for over twenty years, and have been together since they were teenagers. Hello called them "childhood sweethearts". They were called "a tight family unit", and Treadwell-Collins said they have a "good marriage" and "an easy shorthand with each other—but can also still fight like teenagers." He said that the characters would laugh, cry, argue and make up, which would embarrass their children, but would delight their neighbours. It was said that the couple "still love each other, no matter what life throws at them", and that after moving to the fictional setting of Walford from Watford, "life's about to throw them a few curve balls." Inside Soap said that Mick and Linda have a passionate relationship and adore each other. Bright explained that Mick and Linda have grown up together, and said: "It's a weird thing when you've known someone your whole life—you're more than just husband and wife. You're something else." She later said that Mick and Linda have known each other since they were five or six years old, and can finish each other's sentences and know how the other is feeling by the look on their face. Dyer and Bright both said that Mick and Linda are passionate and lustful, with Bright saying they are "madly in love" and describing a "real fizz between them". She said, "they're kind of tearing each other's heads off or tearing each other's clothes off." Dyer said there is a "Den and Angie [Watts] feel" to the relationship. Jane Simon from the Daily Mirror said that the fact Mick and Linda are happily married is a "rare thing in soapland". However, in July 2014, it was revealed in storylines that Mick and Linda are not married, yet all their families believes they are, a fact that left Carena Crawford from All About Soap wondering why they never got married and why they kept this a secret, but she hoped for a big wedding.
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. When Dean returns to the pub after a short absence, Bright stated that Linda is horrified despite trying to move on. Bright also added that Linda does not want to know who the baby's father is as she thinks that Linda is "scared and terrified".
In May 2016, Bright announced that she is pregnant with her second child, and on 28 September 2016 it was confirmed that Bright would take six months maternity leave. Linda's on screen departure aired on 25 December 2016. Bright interrupted her maternity leave for two episodes in March 2017, a voiceover on 14 March 2017 and on 23 May 2017 and a physical appearance on 16 March 2017.
Linda appears in animated form in a Children in Need sketch called Tom and Jerry: A Fundraising Adventure, broadcast during the 2014 telethon on 14 November 2014, along with Mick in The Queen Victoria. In the sketch, cartoon cat and mouse duo Tom and Jerry visit several animated versions of BBC stars, tasked by Terry Wogan to raise cash. Linda is not voiced in the sketch.
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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