|Portrayed by||Danny Dyer|
|First appearance||Episode 4769/4770
25 December 2013
|Created by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
|Introduced by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
Michael "Mick" Carter is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Danny Dyer, making his first appearance in the show in the episode originally broadcast in the United Kingdom on 25 December 2013. Dyer's casting was announced on 1 October 2013 with that of his on-screen partner, Linda Carter, played by Kellie Bright. He is the son of established character Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) and a member of the Carter family. Mick immediately becomes the new landlord of The Queen Victoria public house (referred to as "The Vic"), bringing Linda, their son Johnny Carter (Sam Strike/Ted Reilly) and pet dog Lady Di with him. They are later joined by daughter Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill), son Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard) and other members of the extended family.
The character was created by Dominic Treadwell-Collins, who came up with the idea of the Carter family before he became the executive producer of EastEnders. The character was influenced by Treadwell-Collins' own father. Dyer was asked to play Mick and he accepted because the role was not typical of other roles he has played, and he was happy that Mick's partner would be played by Bright. Mick is described as a family man who is patriotic and kind, and it was said that he has a good partnership with Linda but they fight "like teenagers".
Dyer's casting received a mixed response, with Daniel Kilkelly from Digital Spy feeling positive about the new character but calling it a risk, as Dyer is so well-known, Vicky Prior from the Metro saying Dyer could be "the saviour of the soap", and Ally Ross from The Sun opining that Dyer could do better because of the show's recent drop in ratings. Several critics, as well as Dyer himself, hoped that he would help increase the show's ratings, but the casting was criticised by domestic violence charities because of previous comments Dyer was alleged to have made. Dyer has won several awards for the role including the TV Choice Award for Best Soap Actor in 2014 and National Television Award for Outstanding Serial Drama Performance in 2015 and 2016.
Mick's storylines have included overcoming his fear of water, the discovery that Shirley is not his sister but actually his mother, coping with Linda's rape by his brother Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo), and becoming a father to Ollie Carter and blaming Nancy when Ollie is seriously injured during a fight between her and Lee.
Mick is first mentioned when Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) and Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White) visit his partner Linda (Kellie Bright) at Linda's mother, Elaine Peacock's (Maria Friedman) pub in Watford. Linda reveals that Shirley caused Mick and Linda's pub to be destroyed by fire 15 years earlier. Tina steals money from the pub, but the next day decides to return it, telling Shirley she wants Mick back in their family. Shirley agrees and returns the money, but then informs Tina that Mick said she can keep it. Mick is the buyer of The Queen Victoria public house, and moves in with Linda, their son Johnny Carter (Sam Strike) and bulldog Lady Di (Hot Lips) the next day. Mick, Linda and Johnny attend the wedding of daughter Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill) to Wayne Ladlow (Malachi Kirby), but Mick disapproves of their relationship, so carries her away before they are married. During an argument, Nancy reveals to her parents that Johnny is gay. Mick supports Johnny, saying he is proud of him. Mick tries to get Linda to accept Johnny's sexuality.
When the Carters discover that The Vic has a problem with rising damp, Tina convinces Mick and Shirley to visit their father, Stan Carter (Timothy West), who they have a less than amicable relationship with after he left the Carter children in care. After Stan suffers a fall, Linda persuades Mick to check on Stan. Mick discovers there has been a break in and disturbs the thief, who punches him and flees. Mick suspects that it was his son Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard), who may have run away from serving in the army in Afghanistan. Mick visits Stan in the hospital and enquires about Lee, and Stan assures him that he has not seen Lee. Mick leaves the hospital angry after Stan asks to stay at The Vic, but Tina is angry to find out that Stan is in hospital and Mick has not told her. Tina brings Stan to The Vic to stay for three weeks. Mick reluctantly agrees and is further angered when Stan makes derogatory comments about both Tina and Johnny's homosexualities and about the dangers faced by Lee in the army. Stan also tells Mick about a time when his mother tried to drown him in the bath when he was an infant.
Mick and Stan's relationship starts to thaw, annoying Shirley. Mick attempts to reunite Shirley with her estranged son, Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo), with little success. Tina refers to the incident involving a young Mick in the bathtub, citing the event as happening after their mother left. This confuses Mick, and he concludes that it was Stan who tried to kill him and attacks him, prompting Shirley to admit that she had attempted to drown him. Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) finds out from Shirley that Mick is actually her son, his father is a man named Andy and her mother Sylvie Carter (Linda Marlowe) concealed the pregnancy and brought Mick up as her and Stan's son. Shirley warns Phil not to tell Mick. Despite not being able to swim and having a phobia of water, Mick signs up to a sponsored swim in aid of his friend Billy Mitchell's (Perry Fenwick) young daughter, Janet Mitchell (Grace), who has Down's syndrome. He starts to learn at the local swimming pool, and confesses his fear to his friend, Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt). Ian helps him overcome this fear and he makes progress. Linda tells Mick she wants another baby after she realises her children are too old to require her constant attention. Mick convinces Linda that this is not a good idea, but proposes to her, as they are not actually married, though their families think they are. Linda turns down the proposal, liking things as they are, and then she finds out that Dean has overheard this conversation.
Mick successfully completes his swim for charity, but on his way home, he sees Ian talking to Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks) through the window of Ian's car. Mick pulls up behind them but Ian drives away, so Rainie, a prostitute, propositions Mick. He says he is not interested, and then the police arrive. Rainie claims Mick is a regular punter, so he is arrested for soliciting. Later, Ian explains that he had sex with Rainie on the night his daughter Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) was murdered, so Mick agrees not to tell anyone, though he is forced to tell Linda when she receives a call from his solicitor. Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell) overhears this and supports Linda at the court. Mick pleads guilty, and Cora discovers that the prostitute is her daughter. She reveals Mick's alleged crime to everyone in The Vic. Linda hates that Mick has put Ian before his own family, so Mick resolves to make Ian tell the truth to his partner Denise Fox (Diane Parish).
Mick is upset when Shirley leaves Walford after accidentally shooting Phil. Linda becomes cold towards him and refuses to have sex; Mick deduces that she is pregnant. She denies this, but he discovers Linda is pregnant and is planning to have a secret abortion. After a discussion, they agree to keep the baby. Stan reveals he has terminal prostate cancer, leading Mick to enlist Dean's help in tracking down Shirley to try and convince her to return. They find her staying in a caravan with Buster Briggs (Karl Howman) and she soon returns. Mick and Shirley find that Shirley and Tina's mother, Sylvie, is staying with her sister Babe Smith (Annette Badland). Babe reveals that Sylvie has Alzheimer's disease.
Mick plans to propose to Linda, but Linda reveals to Mick that Dean raped her. Dean claims that he and Linda had an affair, so Mick attacks Dean. To stop the attack, Shirley reveals that Dean and Mick are brothers and she is Mick's mother, and it emerges that Buster is Mick's father. Linda claims that their relationship can survive as long as nobody else finds out that she was raped. She eavesdrops while Mick, Tina, Shirley, Babe and Stan argue, only to hear Mick deny that Dean is part of the family. Mick tells Stan and Tina that Dean raped Linda. When he realises Linda has left, a despairing and devastated Mick smashes up the bar. Mick and Linda later report the rape to the police. When Mick learns that Shirley was forced to keep the secret of being his mother out of fear that she would never see him again, he decides to give her another chance, as long as Dean keeps his distance from him. He is shocked to learn that Stan wants him and Tina to help him die and stops Tina from doing so. The next week, Dean is arrested and released on bail. He refuses to leave Walford on Shirley's insistence until Mick orders him to.
Dean returns and sneaks into the pub's cellar, intending to set fire to it, and taking Nancy hostage. Mick stops him and chokes him until he is unconscious, but Dean goes missing after this. Linda proposes to Mick and he accepts. Nancy believes Mick has killed Dean, until Dean returns. Linda gives birth prematurely to Ollie Carter after falling down the stairs. Dean believes the baby is his until Mick discovers he, Linda and Ollie share the same blood group, but Dean's is different, meaning Dean cannot be Ollie's father. Mick and Buster then start to bond. Mick and Linda bring Ollie home, where Mick ejects Dean after he attempts to shake Linda's hand. Mick and Shirley reunite when they scatter Stan's ashes. Dean starts a relationship with Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), so her sister Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) tries to get Mick to help her get rid of Dean, but he refuses to help. Mick lies to his family so he can take Ollie to see Shirley, but they soon find out and Linda is initially not happy. Dean attempts to rape Roxy when she ends the relationship; Shirley witnesses this and realises Dean did rape Linda, and she tries to drown him but is unsuccessful. At Mick and Linda's wedding, Dean arrives and tries to drown Shirley in a lake, but Mick rescues Shirley and then resuscitates Dean after he nearly drowns, wanting him to face punishment. Dean is arrested, and Mick and Linda get married.
When they return from their honeymoon, they discover that Lee's girlfriend Whitney Dean's (Shona McGarty) brother Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott) has stolen £5,000 from the safe. Mick accompanies Whitney to meet Ryan and Mick convinces Ryan to return the money and hand himself to the police, because he is on the run from the police, to which Ryan agrees. Whitney tells Mick that she has feelings for him and kisses him. Mick tells Linda this, so Linda encourages Whitney not to give up on Lee.
When Nancy and Lee have an argument, Nancy pushes Lee, which results Ollie being knocked out of his high chair. Mick and Linda do not witness this, and Ollie seems fine so Linda says he does not need medical attention. However, she later finds him not breathing, and when she resuscitates him, he suffers a seizure. In hospital, the family are informed that Ollie could have brain damage; Mick blames Nancy and says he cannot forgive her, but Linda defends her and eventually forces them to work together to get Ollie the medical care he needs. Mick is devastated at Dean's acquittal but Linda reassures him.
Casting and introduction
On 1 October 2013, it was announced that Danny Dyer had been cast in the role of Mick Carter, the younger brother of Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), who joined EastEnders in 2006, and Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White), whose casting was announced 12 days earlier. Dyer was asked to be in EastEnders, and said that production staff "told me how brilliant I was" and "I felt really honoured", but he said he "thought long and hard" about accepting the role, doing so because it was "at the right time in my career." He also said he accepted the role because it was not "too obvious" and would be a double act with Mick's wife Linda Carter, saying, "it was a big deciding factor when they [said] that my screen wife Linda was going to be played by Kellie Bright." It was reported that Dyer signed a one-year contract to appear on the show. He began filming later in October, along with Bright. The character was to be the new landlord of the "iconic" Queen Victoria public house (also known as The Vic), appearing from Christmas Day, 25 December 2013. The Carters are the first new family to join the series and immediately take over the pub, and it was said that the family would become "a new EastEnders dynasty."
Dominic Treadwell-Collins was appointed executive producer of EastEnders in August 2013, but in December 2013, he said that Mick and Linda "were in my head about a year and a half ago", adding that they are influenced by his own parents. For Mick's announcement, Treadwell-Collins said: "I'm so excited to have actors of Danny and Kellie's calibre joining what is an already strong and talented company of actors." Dyer said at the time of the announcement, "I am so excited about starting a new chapter in my career and cannot wait to become part of the East End family." Later in the same month, Dyer said that becoming the new pub landlord was "like the perfect marriage. To take over The Queen Vic on Christmas Day, to be on primetime TV on the BBC's flagship show... I want to show people what I can do." Dyer said in the Daily Star that he was not nervous joining EastEnders, but that he was excited and "can't wait for everyone to see me in the Vic", joking that he hoped his character would not have sex with Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace). The programme had suffered falling ratings in 2013, and Dyer told Inside Soap that he wanted to "help turn EastEnders around". When asked by Heat if he would be "the saviour" of EastEnders, he said that he would, and said, "a lot of people were excited about me going to EastEnders [but] there's a lot of people who want to see me fail", adding that it was a risk that "could work or couldn't work". Controller of BBC One, Charlotte Moore, said in December 2013 that Dyer "is an extraordinary presence on the set of EastEnders—it's very exciting. He's just a big, big character and bringing him into the Vic is going to change a lot of the dynamics of EastEnders". Shane Richie, who plays previous landlord Alfie Moon, said Mick and the rest of the Carters would "change the dynamics of the Queen Vic", confirming that their arrival was "the big Christmas storyline".
Other members of the EastEnders cast, including Rita Simons (Roxy Mitchell), Jake Wood (Max Branning), Jacqueline Jossa (Lauren Branning) and Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale), welcomed Dyer to the cast via social networking website Twitter. Jamie Lomas, who plays Jake Stone, said he was "absolutely made up" that Dyer was joining the show, while Samantha Womack (Ronnie Mitchell) said she "can't wait to see [him] pulling pints at the Vic" Womack later said Dyer's casting was a "bold move" by Treadwell-Collins, opining that this was "exactly what the show needs", adding "we need proper East End characters, we need larger than life personalities. [Dyer's] a fantastic actor but he's also incredibly charismatic." Shona McGarty, who plays Whitney Dean, said she "can't wait to work with Danny Dyer. I have an inkling that Whitney will have some scenes with the Carters. I've been chatting with Danny on Twitter, and he's such a legend." Dyer took to Twitter to thank people for their support, stating that "my dreams have come true".
Dyer, who is from East London where EastEnders is set, had previously been offered a role in the soap in 2009, but turned it down, fearing the level of publicity it would bring. He also said he turned down a 10-episode role in EastEnders because it was an "obvious gangster bully" who would be "blown up by Phil Mitchell". Dyer also revealed that he was approached to play Carl White, but turned it down. He said, "if I'd gone down that route, then I wouldn't be playing the role I am now." Dyer confirmed on 19 October 2013 that he had already started filming his role, stating, "I've already got my kit off for the cameras—we had a funny sex scene early on. But I don't get my bollocks out, you'll be glad to hear." Richie, experienced at playing a landlord in the show, mentored Dyer and helped him on the pub set because he "couldn't even open the f***ing till". He was also trained in how to use a beer engine. After Dyer had been filming for a month, he stated that he was "bringing something to soap land that's never been seen before" and said that taking over The Queen Victoria was "a big responsibility" that he was ready for, adding "I don't want to let them down". He said that his character's entrance to the show was "flawless, but it's not going to be what you expect", and felt that he would have the same impact as original landlord Den Watts (Leslie Grantham). He also thought that his role would be controversial, because of the baggage that comes with him as an actor. Inside Soap said that the success of Mick, the Carter family and the pub all rest on Dyer's shoulders, of which Dyer said put pressure on him but he added that "there should be pressure coming into a show like this. I didn't want to come in as some peripheral character". He hoped that people would find Mick believable and loveable.
Three "sting" trailers for Christmas in EastEnders were released on 5 December 2013, one showing Dyer's face and the caption "It's all about to change". Two pictures from Dyer's first episode were also released on 5 December, one showing Mick and members of his family outside The Queen Victoria, and the other showing Mick holding open the pub's doors. Further pictures from Dyer's first episodes and more promotional shots were released on 7 December. A 45-second trailer for the Christmas 2013 storylines was released on 10 December, showing Dyer in his role.
Characterisation and appearance
Mick was described by the BBC as a patriotic family man, who is a "big softie" after spending most of his life around women. He was called a "bloke's bloke" and "kind hearted", and it was said he would "apparently think nothing of throwing on Linda's pink dressing gown and cooking breakfast for the family before getting the beer barrels ready downstairs." Dyer said that Mick is in touch with his feminine side, and is "the alpha male of the show without being a bully", and said it was "not in an obvious way". He felt it was important that Mick was a family man, and called him a "grafter". He called him a "normal guy" who is protective of his family. When he appeared on ITV panel show Celebrity Juice, he described Mick as "a lovely fella" who is "not a villain." He said that Mick would be a "completely different landlord" to Alfie, and said the character has "a bit of [Frank] Butcher about [him]". The Daily Mail called him "big hearted", and All About Soap stated that he was "no bad boy". Shane Richie said that Mick is "not the hardman, but there is an element of that just underneath". Inside Soap said that Mick's battles are only verbal. They reported that Mick is enthusiastic about running his pub and has a "proper, old-school cockney attitude". Dyer said that he wanted viewers to be confused by Mick's use of cockney rhyming slang and wanted to get as much "cockney-ness" into the role as he could. He said that his own use of slang was sometimes "too out there" for the show but he had tried to stop it being taken out.
With the publication of the first photo of the entire Carter family together, Heat's Olivia Cooke said she loves "the excellent way that Danny's character has been styled", adding that he looks "hot". Kirsty McCormack from the Daily Express said Dyer "looks like the ultimate East End hard man". Claire Hodgson from the Daily Mirror said Dyer was "making a poor attempt at looking harder than his dog", while The List said that in the photo, Dyer looks "smug and hard-nosed". Hello thought Mick and the rest of his family look like "they're going to cause a stir" and the Daily Mail noted the actor's smirk in the photo. Mick wears a peacoat and ASOS.com said he "looks like he might be the most stylish landlord of the Vic ever."
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.
It was said that Mick is the youngest of three Carter siblings, and has always adored Shirley, who brought him and Tina up when they were children after their mother walked out, but Shirley and Mick were estranged for many years because Shirley and Linda did not like each other. It was later revealed that Mick has not spoken to Shirley because she caused an accident that burnt down Mick and Linda's pub 15 years previously. Dyer said that Mick is always in the middle of Linda and Shirley's arguments. He explained that Mick's reason for coming to Walford is to be close to Shirley and Tina, because "Mick has been out of his sisters' lives for far too long and this is his call to bring the family together. He's missed them terribly."
Two of Mick and Linda's children, Johnny and Nancy, were announced on 29 October 2013, with Sam Strike and Maddy Hill taking on the roles, and the first photo of the whole family of Mick, Linda, Johnny, Nancy, Shirley, Tina and the dog, was released. It was also revealed that Mick and Linda have a third child, Lee, who is a soldier in Afghanistan. Treadwell-Collins released a statement saying: "My team have worked incredibly hard over the past few months to create the Carters—a contemporary British family with cracks, knocked edges and a touch of darkness that is going to make them very special to watch. A family of strong characters who love and hate each other, all rooted in the best traditions of EastEnders. Starting with Shirley, the Carters are slowly going to creep into Albert Square as Christmas approaches and by New Year, there will be a new vibrant EastEnders clan, firmly ensconced in the Queen Vic. Watch out Walford, The Carters are coming!" Dyer said that Mick is protective of Nancy and does not think her fiancé, Wayne Ladlow (Malachi Kirby), is good enough for her. It was reported that Mick would be "shocked" to learn that Johnny is gay.
Further details of the family's dog were revealed on 10 November. The dog is called Lady Di, named after Diana, Princess of Wales. Inside Soap reported that Lady Di is "the apple of [...] Mick's eye", would help show a softer side to his character, and adds credence to his patriotism. Mick's grandfather (originally thought to be his father), Stan Carter, played by Timothy West, and maternal great aunt (originally thought to be his aunt), Babe Smith, played by Annette Badland, were announced on 12 December 2013, and the casting of Lee was announced in January 2014, with Danny-Boy Hatchard taking on the role. It was said that Lee was "a chip off his father's block". Dyer said that Mick and Stan have "a bit of a mad relationship."
Other relationships and storylines
Mick buys the pub from Phil Mitchell, who does not know he is related to Shirley, which Inside Soap said "causes conflict". Richie said that his character, Alfie, would become friends with Mick because Mick "will want Alfie's help as the ex-landlord. Alfie does help him out and there is a friendship happening there."
In June 2014, Mick develops a friendship with Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) as Mick is attempting to overcome his fear of water and learn to swim. It was reported that this would "help a grieving Ian just as much as Mick." It was then reported that Mick would be arrested when he helps Ian track down Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks), a prostitute that Ian had sex with on the night his daughter Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) was murdered. A show source said, "Mick has no idea what he's getting into when he agrees to help Ian. We all know that Mick is one of the good guys and would never try to pick up a prostitute. He'll be praying that Linda trusts him enough to believe he's innocent." The episodes where Mick takes part in a charity swim and is arrested for kerb-crawling were originally broadcast from 4 to 8 August 2014. A promotional trailer for the episodes was released on 30 July.
Mick appears in animated form, voiced by Dyer, in a Children in Need sketch called Tom and Jerry: A Fundraising Adventure, broadcast during the 2014 telethon on 14 November 2014, along with Linda 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.
When Dyer's casting in the series was announced, Daniel Kilkelly from entertainment website Digital Spy expected reactions to be mixed, as comments made by the website's readers about Dyer in the past have included both praise and derision, and felt the announcement would spark debate. Kilkelly felt positive about the casting, saying: "Dyer has a strong screen presence which is going to be crucial when it comes to taking over such an important role in EastEnders. Recent new characters to join the show have seemed to stay on the sidelines with no clear direction, while the plan for Mick is for him to join the Square and take on his new job straight away. Dyer should definitely be up to the task of hitting the ground running." He was relieved that Dyer would not be playing another hardman character, saying that "it should be interesting to see how he rises to the challenge." However, he opined that casting a well-known actor who divides opinions could be a risk, as fans of the show may see Dyer, rather than his character, moving into the show, and hoped that the actor's profile would not lead to him leaving the series after only a short stint. Alex Fletcher from the site said, "Danny Dyer. In EastEnders. The two things together still don't quite seem believable, but it really is happening", and predicted he would be "awesome".
Gordon Smart, the show-business editor from The Sun, said that Dyer was a "brilliant signing for EastEnders—they are a match in soap heaven", saying it was "about time" that the show brought in some "fresh blood". He said, "It has been a while since the struggling Albert Square show had a character with presence beyond The Queen Vic and Danny is just the man for the job." He added that Dyer's good acting skills and "bags of character" would give EastEnders "the geezer it's been crying out for." However, the newspaper's television critic, Ally Ross, said that EastEnders had reached a "dead end" recently and their solution was to bring in Dyer: "one of those slap-the-forehead appointments that instantly has you wondering, 'which one of them is slumming it?' General consensus seemed to believe it was EastEnders—though given the show's ratings and endless comings and goings, I'd actually argue it's [...] Dyer who could do a lot better here."
Vicky Prior from the Metro said she was "thrilled" that Shirley's family was being extended, but wondered why Mick had not been mentioned before. She said the role of a "bloke's bloke with a soft heart" was unusual for Dyer, who normally plays gangster roles, and sounds similar to previous Queen Victoria landlord Alfie Moon, played by Shane Richie. Prior wondered if Dyer would fit into the show, as Mick's partner Linda sounds "a little dull", and Dyer is known for bad films. However, she concluded that Dyer's casting was "a coup" for EastEnders, and he could become "the saviour of the soap", though opined that "It's likely that EastEnders will prove to be the saviour of Danny Dyer's career." Simon Swift from the Metro thought Dyer was an "interesting" signing, saying he should be "a welcome addition" because of the number of "strong female characters", but added "so long as they veer more towards Dirty Den's landlord rather than, say, Alfie Moon's."
Ellen E Jones from The Independent though Dyer in EastEnders seemed "inevitable" and called him "the cockney messiah [who has] come to save EastEnders". She said that Dyer walks the "thin line between national treasure and national laughing stock", so EastEnders—"which works best when it's an overblown cockney pantomime"—would be Dyer's "natural home". Kevin O'Sullivan from the Daily Mirror said that it would take more than hiring Dyer to "stop the rot", as fans were getting "fed up" of watching the show. Katy Brent from the Daily Mirror said: "I'm kind of intrigued to see what Danny Dyer is going to bring to the table, or bar in his case, but I think it's going to take me a little while to be convinced by him. No offence Dan, I'm sure you'll be great, but I'm a little sceptical when 'names' are brought in."
Olivia Cooke from Heat said "Danny Dyer being a cast member of EastEnders seems like such an obvious thing we can hardly believe it's taken until now for it to happen." Inside Soap noted that Christmas in EastEnders is "always an explosive time", so the Carters' arrival was "perfectly timed", and said it would be "a welcome gift for Shirley and Tina", going on to say, "We can't wait for this new era in the Vic to kick off!" All About Soap said they were "very excited" that Shirley's family were being introduced and taking over The Queen Victoria. Inside Soap's Kate White said she "can't wait to see the impant the Carters have on their new manor, as well as seeing Danny in action behind that bar." Rosie Gizauskas from Now said Dyer's casting was "the best idea ever", adding, "this will totally work. I literally can't wait to see original East End geezer Danny in [...] his spiritual home. [...] This was meant to be." Yahoo! TV UK said that Dyer joining EastEnders would be "interesting" because he "tends to divide viewers into those who think he's a ridiculous posturing fool and those who think he's a ridiculous posturing fool who can also act." Ben Dowell from the Radio Times thought the description of Mick sounded like comedian Al Murray's Pub Landlord character. Former EastEnders cast member Scott Maslen, who played Jack Branning, said of Dyer's casting in the show: "He will go there, give a bit of banter and he will embrace it, but it'll be a challenge for him. I think he is a good fit for the character and he would do really well in it."
On the day of the character's announcement, bookmaker Coral offered odds of 16–1 that Mick would be killed off within a year, and 3–1 that he would still be in the show by the end of 2014. The bookmaker also expected EastEnders to win the Christmas 2013 ratings battle against rival soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale, with spokeswoman Nicola McGeady saying, "The battle of the soaps is heating up, and with new faces joining EastEnders, the odds suggest that the East End drama will win the ratings war this Christmas." William Hill also started taking bets on who would be the first character that Mick would eject from the pub, with Carl White (Daniel Coonan) the favourite with odds of 5–1, David Wicks (Michael French) and Max Branning (Jake Wood) on 6–1, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) on 12–1, and Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) the outsider at 40–1.
As the public heard of Dyer's casting, his name began trending on Twitter. Mark James Lowe from All About Soap said that the casting had created an "amazing buzz" about EastEnders, and that the introduction of the Carters was one of many "great changes" to the show being made by Treadwell-Collins, saying that EastEnders was "finally becoming a show to look forward to watching again." The Daily Star published tweets from fans who said Dyer would "single-handedly turn EastEnders around" and hoped he could appear in the show sooner. Website EntertainmentWise ran a poll to ask readers for their opinions on Dyer's casting: 63.49% of people who answered said they were excited. A similar Digital Spy poll showed that 70.5% of respondents were looking forward to Dyer appearing in the show, while the other 29.5% did not think he would fit in. A Heat poll showed that 59% of those who took part thought Dyer could "save the show's flagging fortunes". The casting received further praise from fans on Twitter when the first family photo was released. It was reported on 17 December 2013 that Dyer's casting in EastEnders had helped the show become "the most searched for television show of 2013" on Google.
Dyer's casting was criticised by domestic violence charities because, in 2010, he was quoted in Zoo, for which he was an agony uncle, as advising someone to "cut your ex's face, and then no-one will want her." One volunteer said, "This man's arrival will horrify many female fans", while family campaigner Dr Adrian Rogers said, "This sends out completely the wrong message to viewers. Domestic violence is a major problem and the cause of pain and misery for many families. This man has spouted questionable opinions and gets rewarded." Dyer apologised at the time and took responsibility for saying "something stupid", and an EastEnders spokesperson responded to the criticism by saying, "Danny has stated many times that the comments previously published are not his views."
Arrival and storylines
Victoria Garo-Falides from the Daily Mirror described Dyer's scenes as Mick in his first episode as "180 seconds of smarm-filled, smooth talking", and expected him to have more screen time considering the anticipation of his arrival, adding that he failed to "leave much of an impression in his squint-and-you'll-miss-him appearance". Caroline Westbrook from the Metro said that although Mick's appearance in his first episode was "fleeting", he had "proven a popular addition to the EastEnders cast." Viewers reactions to Mick's first episode were mixed, with Dyer's name trending on Twitter for more than 12 hours. Ian Hyland from the Daily Mirror said that hiring Dyer was an "almighty gamble" but he was a "revelation".
The scenes in which Johnny comes out as gay to Mick in 3 January 2014 episode were widely praised by viewers on Twitter. Jane Simon of the Daily Mirror said Dyer's performance was "absolutely superb" and anticipated that he would receive awards for it. David Brown from Radio Times called the scenes "tender and poignant" and praised the character, saying, "News that he wants to do a stretch as long as Adam Woodyatt's is very welcome." Hyland said that June 2014 scenes featuring Mick and Ian at the swimming pool were "nicely done".
Awards and nominations
Since Mick's arrival in EastEnders, Dyer has received a number of award nominations for the role, and has so far won three. At the British Soap Awards 2014, Dyer was longlisted in the public-voted categories for "Sexiest Male" and "Best Actor". He was shortlisted for both awards, and also received panel-voted nominations in the categories for "Spectacular Scene of the Year", for the scene in which Johnny comes out to Mick, and "Best On-screen Partnership", for Mick's relationship with Linda. All four awards were won by other soaps operas. Also in 2014, he was nominated and shortlisted for the best soap actor award at the TV Choice Awards, which he went on to win in September. He was nominated in the best actor and sexiest male categories at the 2014 Inside Soap Awards, which are also voted for by the public. Dyer said he could not understand being nominated for sexiest male, as he is "too fat and old", and opined, "Maybe it's the character people find sexy, because the kids I'm up against are like flipping athletes."
In 2015, Dyer won the award for best serial drama performance at the National Television Awards, beating his on-screen wife, Kellie Bright. He was then the winner of the Television and Radio Industries Club award for soap personality, and was shorlisted for the best actor award at the British Soap Awards 2015, losing to his co-star, Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale). In May 2015, Dyer was once again nominated and shortlisted for the best soap actor award at the TV Choice Awards. In July 2015, Dyer made the Inside Soap Awards longlist, again, in the best actor and sexiest male categories.
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