|Portrayed by||Maddy Hill|
|First appearance||Episode 4775/4776
1 January 2014
|Last appearance||Episode 5268
22 April 2016
|Introduced by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
Nancy Carter is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Maddy Hill. Nancy's first appearance is in a combination of the show's 4775th and 4776th episodes, originally broadcast in the United Kingdom on 1 January 2014. A member of the Carter family, Nancy is the daughter of Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Linda Carter (Kellie Bright). Her storylines include relationships with Wayne Ladlow (Malachi Kirby), Dexter Hartman (Khali Best) and Tamwar Masood (Himesh Patel), coping with the aftermath of her mother's rape, suffering from epilepsy and a feud with her older brother Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard). On 12 March 2016, it was announced that Hill would be leaving the show, with Nancy making her final appearance alongside Tamwar on 22 April 2016.
Nancy appears when she is about to marry Wayne Ladlow (Malachi Kirby) in Watford. Wayne is instantly disliked by Mick who carries the intended bride over his shoulder to their the family-owned pub, The Queen Victoria where Nancy will live. Nancy continues to see Wayne in Walford. After punching Dexter Hartman (Khali Best) publicly, Nancy reveals during a family argument that her younger brother Johnny Carter (Sam Strike) is gay. Nancy realises that Wayne is showing private pictures of her to his friends and ends their relationship. Nancy collapses in the park with an epileptic fit when she is with Dexter and during her recuperation under Dexter's care he declares that he finds Nancy attractive. Dexter follows Nancy when she goes down in to The Queen Vic cellar to change the barrel, she is impressed when he removes his T-shirt and are interrupted before they start having sex when they hear groaning—Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) is on the floor of the pub's alleyway after being mugged. Nancy befriends Tamwar Masood (Himesh Patel) including providing him with a bed in the pub after his father punches him. In May 2014, Dexter kisses Nancy, but she is unsure how to respond. Later on, Nancy walks in on her grandmother Shirley (Linda Henry) and great-grandfather Stan Carter (Timothy West) arguing and collapses and suffers a second epileptic fit, but is helped by Stan and Shirley.
Nancy continues working behind the bar. When Mick is accused of soliciting a prostitute, he convinces Nancy of his innocence and Nancy fights Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) over the accusations. Mick is revealed to have been covering for Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), and he publicly humiliates the prostitute involved, Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks), who Nancy gave money to when she was begging earlier in the day. Nancy accuses Mick of hating women for the way he spoke to Rainie. She also demands that in the future she is included in big decisions like covering for Ian, and he agrees. Nancy later discovers that her uncle (though believed to be her cousin) Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) has been making advances against her mother, but fears that Linda is leading him on. However, Dean denies this and apologises to her and Linda. Nancy and Tamwar host 'musical bingo' together at The Vic, and she briefly reignites her fling with Dexter. Nancy is upset when her brother Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard) attacks Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid), after he makes homophobic comments about Johnny, and fears his volatile behaviour after his service in the army. She is upset when Johnny leaves, but distracted by family issues as Mick attacks Dean, seemingly out of the blue, on Christmas Day, and then leaves Nancy in charge as he takes some time away with Linda. As Dexter does not understand her family situation, she ends things with him but they later part on good terms after he gives her some heartfelt advice before he leaves. When her parents return, Linda confesses to Nancy that Dean raped her, which devastates her. She threatens Dean to stay away from her family. During a wedding reception at The Vic, Nancy is taken hostage by Dean in the barrel store, as he tries to burn down the pub as revenge against the Carters. Mick gains the upper hand and stands on Dean's throat, and although Nancy stops him, they believe Dean is dead. However, when Nancy returns, Dean is gone, and although Mick claims Dean got up and left, she becomes fearful that her father killed Dean. Her suspicions worsen when a body is found matching Dean's description, and she nearly tells Shirley, although it is not Dean. Due to the stress of the situation, she suffers a grand mal seizure. After, she becomes distant with her parents, and breaks down to Tamwar about her family problems. They kiss, but Tamwar freaks out and she leaves, believing he does not like her. When she and Tamwar discover that market inspector Aleks Shirovs (Kristian Kiehling) has been stealing money from the market traders, Nancy encourages him to report Aleks to the authorities. Once he has done that, he nervously kisses her again in full view of the patrons in the pub. Although Tamwar is again flustered by it, this time, Nancy is grateful and they kiss again and begin dating.
After Nancy discovers an attraction between Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) and Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami), despite him being engaged to Tamwar's sister Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakrar), she becomes distant from Tamwar and he assumes she has met someone else. She admits she is fine with the fact they do not have sex, but assumes it is because of his religion. Tamwar worries about bad scarring he received from a house fire, so suddenly walks out, and Nancy suffers a seizure. They agree to be open and honest with each other, so Tamwar shows her the scars, stating this is the reason they have not had sex. They then have sex for the first time, and afterwards, Tamwar discovers Nancy is recording every seizure she has and they are becoming more frequent, and tells her to get help. Nancy becomes interested in Tamwar's religion and reads the Quran. Learning it would be against his beliefs to run a pub, Nancy suggests they set up a different business, and they trial a curry restaurant night at the laundrette. However, Tamwar abandons her and in her stress Nancy has a severe seizure. After, Nancy breaks up with Tamwar, believing his interest in their plan is not strong enough. Mick and Linda worry about Nancy's health, and refuse to give her more shifts at the Vic, so she applies for a job at another pub, the Rat. However, Lee goes behind her back and gets it instead. This causes big rows between them, and feeling she has lost her independence, Nancy quits her job at The Vic and begins working with and living with Donna Yates (Lisa Hammond). Mick convinces her to come to Mother's Day lunch to build bridges, but when she finds out Lee has quit his job at The Rat and has essentially taken her job at The Vic, they argue and she pushes Lee, knocking Ollie out of his highchair. Ollie appears to be fine but the argument continues, so Mick physically throws Nancy and Lee out through the public bar. Ollie suffers a seizure shortly after the fall and is admitted to hospital where the family learns that he may have brain damage. Mick and Linda advise Nancy and Lee to tell them what happened during their argument after the doctors call Social Services. Nancy is crushed when Mick admits he blames her and that he cannot forgive her. She plans an Easter egg hunt to bring the family together, but Mick and Linda do not go. When Janet Mitchell goes missing, Nancy finds her. Her father, Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick), thanks her and compliments her to Mick, but Mick still refuses to talk to her. Nancy has sex with Kush, who has also been rejected. She has a seizure in Kush's bed, so Kush calls Tamwar for help. Tamwar is disgusted with Kush, and Nancy asks Tamwar not to tell anyone what happened. Tamwar tells Mick to call Nancy and to stop blaming her for the incident with Ollie. After Johnny (now Ted Reilly) returns to Walford and decides not to return to Italy, Nancy offers to take his ticket, wanting to use the trip to discover who she really is as a person. She asks Tamwar to come with her, and although he initially declines, he later accepts and they decide to travel the world instead. After seeing Nancy saying her goodbyes to Ollie, Mick forgives her and tells her she wasn't to blame for his accident. Masood decides to accompany Nancy and Tamwar on their journey, but he changes his mind at the last minute, and after emotional goodbyes to their families, Nancy and Tamwar leave Walford.
In March 2017, Mick receives a phonecall from Tamwar revealing that Nancy has been critically injured after being struck by a car while backpacking in Bulgaria. He immediately leaves Walford and flies over to Bulgaria to be with her.
Hill's casting as Nancy was announced on 29 October 2013, on which the actress said: "I feel incredibly privileged to have been given such an amazing opportunity and I can't wait to start work with such a talented cohort of actors". Nancy is described as a stubborn and fiery 21-year-old tomboy that is a disappointment to her mother. However, she is also an "extremely caring and loyal friend" although she brings trouble with her. Hill described Nancy as "boisterous", a "total tomboy" and "pretty good at sports". Hill opined that the storyline involving Wayne, and his subsequent exit scenes were "too satisfying to film". She said, Nancy's not too bothered about Wayne at this point. She knows her parents don't like him so Nancy was basically just vying for their attention. In any case, I think that Nancy's always known she was too bright for Wayne". Khali Best, who plays Dexter Hartman, has stated that he has "got a lot of stuff coming up with Nancy", opining that the two characters "would work well", however Hill has played this down saying, "I've been asking Dom [Treadwell-Collins] to tell me what is going to happen, but he won't say anything".
It was revealed that Nancy had epilepsy and that Maddy Hill was terrified of the plot. Maddy stated "When I first found out that Nancy had epilepsy, I was absolutely terrified, just because I knew nothing about the illness. I didn't know anyone who had epilepsy and I was very aware of wanting to be respectful to people who suffer with such a massive thing in day-to-day life." Magazine Epilepsy Today stated "Nancy’s seizures are a brave step for the show and are becoming a dramatic fixture in the EastEnders landscape."
On 12 March 2016, it was announced that Hill and Patel would both be leaving their roles as Nancy and Tamwar respectively. Hill said of her decision to leave, "It was time for Nancy to take a break from her family and me from EastEnders after having a wonderful time working on the show." Both characters made their last appearances on 22 April 2016.
Hill won "Best Newcomer" at The British Soap Awards 2014 for her portrayal of Nancy. She also won the accolade for "Best Newcomer" at The National Television Awards 2015 for her role as Nancy. Hill, alongside Himesh Patel was shortlisted for Best Partnership at the Inside Soap Awards in 2015 for her portrayal of Nancy's relationship with Tamwar, but lost out to Emmerdale's Charlie Hardwick and Chris Chittell (who play Val and Eric Pollard).
The Guardian's Filipa Jodelka praised the introduction of the Carter family, calling Nancy "the true beacon of hope for EastEnders future". A critic from Huddersfield Daily Examiner said that Dyer and Hill could be the "saviors of EastEnders", stating that Nancy "shoots straight to the top of Characters To Love list when she refuses to serve Dexter in the pub". "A Digital Spy poll (2014) asked respondents to indicate their favourite Carter family member: Nancy was ranked fourth with 8.61% of the results; Mick was ranked first; Johnny, ranked second; Tina, third; and Linda, fifth. Gary Gillatt of Inside Soap praised the pairing of Nancy and Tamwar, saying "At first, Nance and Tam seemed an odd couple even as friends, but truly they are Walford's most sensitive souls." Gillatt also thought their relationship had the potential to last the distance.
Another contributor to Inside Soap branded Nancy "the shining star of the calamitous Carter clan". They went on to say "We reckon she'd been the Carters' secret strength in recent months. And we love naughty Nancy lapping up the other dramas she sees from behind the bar with a cheeky smirk on her face!". In the episode broadcast in the UK on 14 February 2014, Nancy wore part of a Gaelic Athletic Association sports kit from St Patrick's College in Ballymena, and it gained some media attention. Although many fans of the GAA were happy to see this, campaigner Willie Frazer believed the appearance of the kit belonged to an organisation that "glorifies IRA terrorists", stating he had complained to the BBC. The Ballymena Times claimed that the appearance of the top "caused a real sensation on Facebook and Twitter."
Upon the announcement of Nancy's departure from the series, Stuart Heritage from The Guardian said that Tamwar and Nancy were his favourite EastEnders couple but said their departure storyline "feels as if it's been chucked together blindfolded at the last minute in a panic". Heritage opined that Nancy was "leaving far too soon" as since arriving in 2014, she had "been such a force of nature", adding, "She's been funny and sweet and boisterous and—since the biggest subplot of the soap’s entire Christmas period was given to her decision to wear a dress to a wedding—it seemed as if EastEnders had much bigger plans for her."
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