|Portrayed by||Lacey Turner|
|First appearance||Episode 2826|
1 November 2004
|Created by||Tony Jordan|
|Introduced by||Louise Berridge (2004)|
Dominic Treadwell-Collins (2014)
|Last Tango in Walford (2010)|
Stacey Fowler (also Slater and Branning) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Lacey Turner. She made her first appearance on 1 November 2004. The character was introduced as a feisty and troublesome teenager, an extension of the already established Slater family. She has featured in numerous high-profile storylines, including abortion, drug abuse, a troubled relationship with her mother Jean (Gillian Wright), discovering she has bipolar disorder, an affair with her father-in-law Max (Jake Wood), becoming a victim of rape and murdering her rapist Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb). The love triangle between Stacey, Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) and Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott), the father of her daughter Lily Branning and the discovery that she murdered Archie and her being framed for attempted murder by Janine, forced her to flee the country on 25 December 2010.
Stacey returned for a short stint between 7 February 2014 and 25 March 2014 when she turned herself in to the police for Archie's murder. After reappearing for another short stint between 5 August 2014 and 11 August 2014, Stacey later appealed, and returned permanently on 1 September 2014. Since then, Stacey's storylines include her friendship with Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakrar), a relationship with Martin Fowler (James Bye), a fling with Shabnam's fiancé Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami), possessing a mystery key, being electrocuted, giving birth to a son, Arthur, developing a rare mental illness known as postpartum psychosis, discovering her deceased father had another family, being accused of hurting her son by Carmel Kazemi (Bonnie Langford), which leads to the premature birth of her daughter Hope Fowler, cheating on Martin with Max, which leads to a strained relationship between the couple which is later repaired and supporting her best friend Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) through her rape. Stacey has proven popular with fans and critics, and Turner has won multiple awards for her portrayal.
- 1 Storylines
- 2 Creation
- 3 Development
- 4 Reception
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Stacey, age 15, arrives in Walford in November 2004, to move in with her great-uncle Charlie (Derek Martin) after being thrown out by her mother Jean (Gillian Wright). She causes trouble through her promiscuous and immoral behaviour, and is sent back home to Jean. However, she then returns to the Slaters, eventually beginning to settle down when joined by her mother and older brother Sean (Robert Kazinsky). It is revealed that Stacey had a troubled childhood, due to Jean's bipolar disorder and the death of her father when she was 11, after which Sean abandoned the family and left Stacey as Jean's sole carer. In 2005, Stacey befriends Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) and they later become best friends, despite falling out a few times. Their friendship ends completely in 2006, when Ruby encourages Sean to move away from his family and Walford for good, upsetting Stacey and Jean. Stacey also becomes heavily involved in the murder of Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) when she gives her cousin Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan) a false alibi for his murder, landing an innocent Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) in prison. Sam's family and Den's adopted daughter Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) pressure her into telling the truth, and eventually Den's wife Chrissie Watts (Tracy-Ann Oberman) is arrested for the murder.
Despite being unimpressed by Walford newcomer Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements), the pair grow to love one another but the relationship deteriorates when Stacey discovers she has been impregnated by Bradley. When he uncovers the truth, Bradley constantly urges Stacey to have an abortion. After hours of pleading with Bradley, she finally gives up and after doing so, their romance sours. Bradley calls time on his relationship with Stacey when she embarrasses him at a work party. She confides in his father Max Branning (Jake Wood) and they end up having sex. Subsequently, they begin an affair and Max agrees to divorce his wife, Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner). However, he has this on a halt as he learns that Tanya is pregnant with their son. He leaves Stacey and she reunites with Bradley, later marrying. Max propositions Stacey after the wedding ceremony and their brief kiss is recorded on Max's eldest daughter Lauren's (Madeline Duggan) hidden video camera. Lauren gives a DVD of the recording to Bradley as a Christmas present, revealing the fling as he plays it to the family. Devastated, Tanya slaps Stacey and Bradley ends their marriage again for six months. He eventually decides to give their marriage another chance, suggesting that they start a family. Stacey is uncertain and secretly continues having birth control pills. She seduces Callum Monks (Elliott Jordan). She immediately regrets cheating on Bradley. Although she attempts to reignite the spark in her marriage, Stacey divorces Bradley. She has a one-night stand with Callum, which leads to them dating. They split, however, over his harsh treatment of her mother.
Following the death of her friend Danielle Jones (Lauren Crace), Stacey begins behaving erratically. She steals money from her family, sleeps with various men on the go and becomes a heavy drinker. She is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but is non-compliant with her medication and becomes paranoid, experiencing hallucinations. Stacey starts sleeping with Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott) and is raped by Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb). She believes that they are both planning to kill her. After attacking Archie with a broken glass and accusing her friends and family of planning to hurt her, Stacey is involuntarily committed to hospital, where she befriends Becca Swanson (Simone James).
Upon her release, Bradley confesses his feelings for Stacey and they reconcile. Then Stacey discovers she is 3 months pregnant, so Bradley could not be the father. She tells Bradley that Archie raped her and must be the father. Archie is murdered that night by an unknown assailant. Stacey and Bradley agree to pretend the baby is theirs, and remarry on 18 February 2010. A jealous Becca reveals the rape to Archie's eldest daughter Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack), who tells Stacey that Archie was infertile following cancer treatment. Becca informs the police that Bradley had a motive to kill Archie. He and Stacey attempt to flee Walford, but Bradley is caught by the police and falls to his death while trying to escape. A distraught Stacey confesses to Max that she killed Archie while her world falls apart.
Stacey decides not to tell Ryan that he must be the father of her baby. He exhibits a romantic interest in her, which is later revealed to be part of a bet with his girlfriend Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks). Upset by this revelation, Stacey's waters break. Ryan stays with her as she gives birth to a daughter, whom she names Lily. When Ryan later rescues them from a fire at The Queen Victoria pub, Stacey admits that he is Lily's father. Ryan initially refuses to act as a parent to her, but bonds with her when Stacey and a jealous Janine are arrested for fighting during a night out. Janine's jealousy escalates to kidnapping Lily, but Ryan convinces her to return her. Stacey and Ryan grow closer, spending time together, and they passionately kiss. During this time, Lauren (now Jacqueline Jossa) discovers Stacey's guilt in Archie's murder and records a confession on her phone. Stacey attempts to flee to Palma, Majorca, but Ryan stops her, telling her he has feelings for her and wants to date her. They start an affair, but, unbeknownst to them, Janine finds out and poisons Ryan in revenge. Ryan is hospitalised and on his return, he convinces Janine he loves her but publicly declares his love for Stacey in The Queen Vic. Janine walks in as they are in a passionate embrace. She concedes defeat until Lauren, who still believes Max is emotionally involved with Stacey, gives Janine the recorded confession. The next day, Janine attempts to play the recording in front of customers in The Queen Vic, but it has been recorded over because Lauren warned Max. Janine says that Stacey killed Archie but no one believes her. Stacey leaves the pub in tears, followed by Ryan. She then breaks down and tells Ryan that Janine said the truth.
The next day, Christmas Day, Stacey tells Jean she killed Archie, so Jean takes Lily away from her. Ryan convinces Stacey to leave with him as Janine will call the police. Stacey lets Janine in and she attempts to set Stacey up by grabbing a knife, placing it into Stacey's hand and stabbing herself. Stacey runs out of the house and Janine convinces Jean to call the police. Stacey contemplates suicide but Max stops her and says he will help her to escape. Stacey convinces Jean that Janine has framed her. Ryan plans to run away with Stacey, but Stacey states that events have happened rapidly, and she is not sure whether she loves him. Stacey ends their romance. Ronnie and Roxy confront her, and Stacey confesses that she did kill Archie. Ronnie tells her to go, and Max drives her to the airport as the police arrive on the Square. At the airport, Max says he loves her and offers to leave with her, but she tells him she only ever loved Bradley. She and Lily then board a flight and leave the country. The next day, Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) receives a phone call from Stacey, saying that her and Lily are safe and well in Mexico.
Kat sees Stacey walking into a salon, from the top deck of a bus. Kat finds out where she lives and visits, where she meets Lily and Stacey's boyfriend, Luke Riley (Matt Willis). Luke believes that Stacey's name is "Jenny Smith" and is unaware of her criminal history. Stacey sees Kat leaving and confronts her in Albert Square. Kat later tells Luke "Jenny" is really Stacey so he ends the relationship. Stacey and Lily spend the night at Kat and Alfie's house and the following day, Kat visits Janine in prison to ask her to withdraw the statement she made accusing Stacey of stabbing her. Janine agrees so Stacey returns to Albert Square. Luke visits Stacey, but leaves, after discovering that she killed Archie. After listening to what Luke said, Stacey decides to clear Bradley's name and calls the police, telling them that she killed Archie. She is arrested and later sentenced to five years in prison. Stacey appeals her sentence after realising how much Lily is missing her, and is successful. Stacey returns to Walford, moving in with Kat and Alfie. Alfie commits arson, destroying the home and everything that belonged to Bradley. Stacey works for Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) at his salon, Blades, and they start dating. She and Lily move into Dean's flat and Stacey discovers that Alfie caused the fire. Stacey discovers that Dean raped Linda Carter (Kellie Bright), so ends the relationship and forces him to move out.
Stacey talks to Sean over video chat, and he tells her to look after a key. Stacey is worried about Kat and Alfie leaving, following their lottery win. She is roughed up by Dean, who asks her about his daughter with Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakrar). Shabnam's on-off boyfriend Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami) rescues her; they kiss and she tells him that Shabnam had a daughter she abandoned. Kush's friend, Martin Fowler (James Bye) becomes her flatmate. Martin and Stacey date briefly before she realises she has feelings for Kush, despite his engagement to Shabnam. They kiss for a second time but they regret it. Stacey is jealous when Shabnam reveals she is pregnant, and Stacey reconciles with Martin. Jean returns and reveals that she is marrying Ollie the next day. Jean sees the key and becomes angry, so Stacey is curious and tries to find what the key is for, to no avail; Jean pretends to flush the key down the toilet. Stacey discovers she is pregnant, but Martin asks her to get a termination, claiming that it is too soon in their relationship. She decides to keep the baby after a talk with Shabnam. Martin decides to stand by her.
Stacey is spooked when a man she does not know begins to follow her. Unbeknownst to Stacey, the man, Kyle (Riley Carter Millington), also has a key like hers. When Stacey finds out Martin is planning to propose, she says she does not want to marry again. He later proposes that she become his "not-wife", so they are committed but not married, and she agrees. When Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard) fails to corrently fix a faulty electric socket, Stacey is electrocuted. She and her baby are fine, and she finds out she is having a boy. She forgives Lee, and tells Shabnam that she saw her dead father Brian when she was electrocuted. When Shabnam finds the baby scan Stacey is hiding, Stacey throws her out of the flat and tears up the scan photo. When Shabnam asks why Stacey is hiding the photo from Martin, Stacey admits he is not the father but the real father was a one-night stand before getting together with him. When Kush confronts her, she tells him that she thinks he could be the father. Kush's mother Carmel Kazemi (Bonnie Langford) notices Kush and Stacey talking, and realises that he could be the father of Stacey's baby. Kush and Stacey convince Carmel not to tell Shabnam or Martin. When Stacey later attends a church service and prays for her father, she sees Kyle, who then leaves suddenly without telling her who he is, causing her to become more suspicious.
Stacey tells Martin she has a stalker, and when Jean and Ollie visit, she tells them too. Stacey realises that Jean knows who it is, and when she asks, Jean produces the key. Jean reveals the key is for Brian's safety deposit box in a bank. Stacey opens the box but it is empty, so when she confronts Jean, Jean reveals that Brian had another family with another woman, saying they planned to give Stacey the key when she turned 21 but after Brian's death, Sean stole it. Jean reveals that Kyle has been trying to contact her and Stacey through letters, making Stacey realise that Kyle is her half-brother. Kush tells Stacey that they must tell the truth to Shabnam and Martin about the paternity of Stacey's baby. Stacey gives birth at Lily's nativity play and Martin names the baby Arthur Fowler, after his father. When Kush holds the baby, his behaviour makes Shabnam realise that he could be the baby's father. Shabnam confronts Stacey but she denies Kush is the father.
Kat visits Stacey for Christmas and discovers that Martin is not Arthur's father, urging Stacey to tell him the truth. As Stacey is about to do so, Kyle approaches her and formally introduces himself to her as her half-brother. After overhearing Kat talk to someone about a baby being stolen, Stacey fears for Arthur's safety and takes refuge in the church, where Dot Branning (June Brown), who has been teaching her about Christianity, finds her and tells her the story of the Massacre of the Innocents, causing Stacey to believe that Arthur is in danger. Believing people are trying to harm Arthur, Stacey unsuccessfully attempts to baptise Arthur through Dot's sink. She discovers that Charlie has died, so flees and meets Kyle, asking him to run away with her. Martin calls her, claiming that Kyle is not who he says he is and Stacey accuses Kyle of being the devil. She takes a cab and sees a vision of Charlie driving it, and he convinces her to return home to Walford. During a storm she goes to the roof of The Queen Vic, saying that God is coming for Arthur. Martin finds her there and she tells him that Arthur was sent from God and now she is waiting for God to rescue them. Martin is forced to go along with this and convinces her to come home with him.
By the time of Charlie's funeral, Stacey is convinced that Martin is a demon who is working with the devil. Eventually, Martin convinces her that he is not a demon and that a hospital is the safest place for her and Arthur. However, she is then sectioned after refusing to voluntarily admit herself, because she will be separated from Arthur. Stacey tells the doctor she has been hearing God's voice since Arthur's birth at Christmas, so the doctor suspects she is suffering from postpartum psychosis. Martin apologises to her and promises to make things right, determined to find a way to bring her back together with Arthur. Shabnam soon realises that Stacey wants to see Arthur, so goes to Martin with the idea of getting Stacey and Arthur taken to a mother and baby care unit. When Shabnam decides to leave Walford, Stacey finally admits that Kush is Arthur's father, showing that she is starting to recover. Martin finds a mother and baby unit for Stacey in Essex, and takes her and Arthur there. Stacey writes Martin a letter revealing that Arthur is Kush's son, but decides not to send it, however a nurse finds it and gives it to Martin; Martin is heartbroken. Stacey begs for his forgiveness, but he goes to America, returning a few weeks later and they reunite. Stacey is allowed a home visit, where she meets Kyle again. He explains that he is transgender and he used to be her sister but is now her brother. Stacey accepts and supports him and allows him to stay at her and Martin's flat. Stacey says she no longer wants to be Martin's "not-wife" and proposes to him, which he accepts, and tells Kush he can be part of Arthur's life, but Kush later decides he does not want to be Arthur's role model. Stacey is discharged from the mother and baby unit.
After being released, Stacey tries to talk to Masood but instead he rebuffs her apology, blaming her for Shabnam leaving. Carmel tries to persuade Masood to forgive her but instead gets angry when Masood does not show interest. Martin and Kyle think Stacey is putting too much pressure on herself when she invites Jean, Ollie and her cousin Belinda Peacock (Carli Norris) for a family dinner. During the dinner, Jean does not accept that Kyle is transgender and instead calls him a liar. Stacey later argues with Jean to accept and believe Kyle but instead Jean leaves. Belinda then reveals that Stacey and Martin may have to move out because Kat is due to stop paying their rent. Martin's attempts to make money fail, and he takes work away from home. While he is gone, Andy Flynn (Jack Derges) invites himself into Stacey's home and they become friendly; Stacey soon realises he is homeless. She also contacts Kyle's mother Alison Slater (Denise Welch) who visits, but she refuses to accept him. To help with Martin's money problems, Andy tells him he can help him steal some toilets that were delivered in error to the building site he is working on, which is the house next to Martin and Stacey's flat. Andy, Martin, Stacey and Kyle successfully steal them but fail to sell them. Belinda then moves in after leaving her husband Neville Peacock (Gary Webster), and they are all forced to return the toilets when Belinda inadvertently tries to sell them back to Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), from whom they were stolen. Stacey and Martin then marry.
Stacey helps Belinda out at her new salon and Belinda is impressed with her. Martin's daughter Bex Fowler (Jasmine Armfield) confides in Stacey about her boyfriend Shakil Kazemi (Shaheen Jafargholi) wanting sex with her and asks for advice. When Bex's mother and Martin's former wife Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) leaves, Bex moves in with the Fowlers, leaving the flat overcrowded, so they move into Sonia's old house. Max returns to Walford after being wrongly imprisoned for murdering Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater), and Stacey is happy that he is back. Stacey is upset when Martin is involved in a bus crash but he recovers and agrees to having a baby with Stacey. Stacey and Martin decide to keep their distance from the Kazemis following Bex's bullying ordeal, caused by an explicit photo of Shakil being distributed from Bex's phone. Arthur's grandmother, Carmel Kazemi (Bonnie Langford), is hurt with being excluded from Arthur's life and Stacey and Carmel fight when Carmel makes remarks about Stacey's mental health, so Stacey bans her from seeing Arthur. However, Max persuades Stacey to let Carmel be involved with Arthur. Stacey tells Martin that she is pregnant and they agree to seek medical advice because she is worried about her postpartum psychosis returning. In July 2017, Stacey goes for a job interview at The Queen Vic and is accepted as a barmaid there once again.
After a gas explosion in Albert Square, Martin panics when he cannot find Stacey and hits a police officer in confusion, resulting in two weeks imprisonment. Kush suffers a cardiac arrest and is diagnosed with Brugada Syndrome, which is hereditary, meaning Arthur could have it, so Stacey worries that Arthur could die. Carmel witnesses a stressed Stacey physically taking Lily upstairs and refuses to leave Stacey with Lily and Arthur. Following an ECG, it is confirmed that Arthur is at high risk at having Brugada Syndrome, but he cannot have an operation or tests due to his age. His parents are told about equipment that is not available on the NHS that can help Arthur, which Kush provides, angering Stacey as Martin asked Kush for they money. Arthur falls unconscious and Stacey and Martin are told that Arthur has swallowed Stacey's bipolar medication. Carmel is horrified when she finds bruises on Arthur's arms, and expresses her concerns to Kush that Stacey is unwell, while Stacey tells Martin's sister Michelle Fowler (Jenna Russell) that he gained the bruises in hospital. However, Lily tells Carmel that Stacey was responsible, so Carmel reports this to social services, but tries to retract what she said after realising it was a mistake. Social services visit the family and place Arthur and Lily in Carmel's care until they have investigated. A doctor has no concerns about Arthur, so the children are returned to Stacey and Martin, though are subject to further home visits. Lily then tells Stacey and Martin that she caused Arthur's bruises. After speaking with Lily, social worker Fiona Payne (Sandra James-Young) tells Stacey and Martin that Lily feels pushed out with Arthur and is anxious about the new baby. Carmel admits that she called social services, enraging Stacey, who bans her and Kush from seeing Arthur. Stacey then suffers an eclamptic seizure and is taken to hospital, where she and Martin are told her baby will have to be delivered prematurely due to a lack of oxygen. The baby is delivered, though Martin is told that there are complications. Stacey does not want to see the baby at first but later does, and they name her Hope.
When Max is rejected by his family and friends after it is revealed that he has been conning them out of their businesses so that the area can be redeveloped, Stacey is one of the few people to offer him support. Stacey hears from Lauren that Max has tried killing Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and tries calming him down, letting him stay with her and Martin, however, they nearly kiss. Martin is unconvinced that Max will not come between Stacey and their family, so asks Stacey to get Max to leave, which she does. Max tricks Stacey into returning home and tries to convince her there is still a spark between them. Stacey initially resists but gives in and they have sex. Stacey's phone is posted through the letter box and she finds it the next day. Max realises that Jane Beale (Laurie Brett) has left messages for Stacey and deletes them. However, Tanya returns to take her daughters away as she has heard from Jane what Max has done, and reveals to Stacey that he killed Steven Beale (Aaron Sidwell) and tried to kill Jane. Max denies this but later admits to Stacey that it is true but he had good reasons. Stacey rejects him, saying he will never changed and she wishes he had died instead of Bradley. Max contemplates suicide by jumping from the roof of the Vic but Lauren and Abi talk him down, however, Stacey watches as they fall and are severely injured. Martin sees Stacey and Max talking, and later tells Stacey they should continue as normal, pretending that nothing has happened, but Stacey admits to having sex with Max, saying they need to talk about it or their relationship will not have a chance. Martin refuses to talk to Stacey about it so it does not ruin Christmas for their children and that he will not accept blame for her actions. Stacey explains that she had sex with Max as she and Martin never have time for themselves and she is left to manage the house. Martin decides to make up with Stacey after speaking to Ted Murray (Christopher Timothy), but Stacey leaves Walford with Lily, Arthur and Hope, choosing to live with Jean for a while.
Stacey returns and after accusation from and arguments with Martin, Martin throws her out and exposes her affair, but Stacey gains entry to the house and has the locks changed. An unknown relative of Stacey's, Hayley (Katie Jarvis), starts taking photos of Martin and Stacey. Martin attempts to delete an email from Stacey's account about filing for divorce upon organising a childcare rota. When Martin is late returning Hope after being distracted by Hayley, Hayley whispers to Stacey who she is and Stacey does not want Hayley around her, but she later gets in touch with Hayley when she receives a letter accidentally from Martin's solicitor. When Martin spends time with Hayley, she encourages Martin to take the children out, disobeying Stacey's instructions. Hayley pretends to defend Martin in front of Stacey when she collects Arthur and Hope with police presence due to Martin not returning them. Later, Hayley visits Stacey and warns her not to soften towards Martin when she feels guilty as they are cousins and Slaters. Stacey is devastated when Mo returns to Walford with the news Kat is dead and she and Martin become intimate when he supports her through her grief. Friends suggest fundraising ideas for Kat's funeral, but Jean later arrives when a concerned Martin contacts her and tells Stacey that Kat has not died as she spoke to her earlier in the day, but Jean has no calls from Kat and Stacey puts it down to her not taking her bipolar medication. Stacey is furious when she figures out that Kat has not died and Mo used Kat dying as an excuse as she is in financial trouble. Kat returns to Walford and is confused that The Queen Vic is holding a benefit night for her and she is annoyed with Mo, but is forced to hide when Ian visits with the raised money. Annie Pritchard (Martha Howe-Douglas), the daughter of Terry, who is the man that Mo conned money out of, arrives to get the money back, but the family fool her into believing Mo has died. Kat, Stacey and Mo arrive at The Queen Vic when Mick is giving a speech about Kat and attempt to maintain that Mo made a mistake and a bar fight soon starts. When Annie returns, Jean pays Annie the money back, and Annie leaves. Jean decides to stay until she is paid back. Kat starts a cleaning business with Jean and Mo so they can pay Jean back. Stacey is displeased when Hayley returns and Martin discovers Stacey is related to Hayley when Stacey declares that she still loves him. After going out with Martin, Sonia arranges a break away for them, but changes her mind when she witnesses Martin comforting Stacey and instead insists that Martin reconcile with Stacey. Stacey and Martin's reunion becomes public knowledge when they are caught together in the shed at the allotments and later in Martin's van. Martin then moves back in with Stacey.
Stacey reunites with her old friend Ruby at E20 and they attend Martin's school reunion. The next day, Ruby tells Stacey she had sex with two of Martin's friends but only said yes to one of them. Stacey convinces her she was raped and supports her as she reports it to the police.
In September 2004, an official BBC press release announced an addition to the popular Slater family; the new "feisty female" named Stacey Slater, Charlie Slater's great-niece and cousin to Kat, Lynne, Belinda, Little Mo and Zoe. According to the report, Stacey "looks like a Slater and shares the same family attitude but with one difference—Stacey is one hell of a bitch! […] She is going to be trouble!"
The 16 year–old actress Lacey Turner was cast in the role. Turner had originally gone to audition for a part in the Miller family, but was given the part of Stacey instead. Commenting on her role, Turner said "I was speechless when I found out that I had been cast as Stacey Slater especially as I knew I would be working with Jessie Wallace who is my favourite actress. I've watched the show since I was about four years old, and I used to live in a house that backed onto the EastEnders set so I used to watch them filming all the time. I always dreamt of being on the show and so I can't believe that I've fulfilled my greatest ambition!" She added, "I'm not like Stacey at all although I love playing her! She's a real challenge […] I think people are going to love to hate her like they did with [the character] Janine Butcher."
EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan revealed that he created the character with Turner in mind: "I first met Lacey when she came to a casting workshop for the Miller family ... She was leaning against a wall and looked just like Kat Slater, played by Wallace. I thought she would be perfect for the Slater family so I wrote in Stacey’s character especially for Lacey."
Personality and lineage
The character appears to be tough, stubborn, fiery and very bitchy, however, as Turner explains, this is just a front and "underneath she's very vulnerable". Turner has described her character as a cross between two other EastEnders characters, Janine Evans and Kat Slater, saying: "She's very naughty, but she has her reasons for her nastiness."
Over the course of the character's narrative, it was revealed that one of the reasons for Stacey's tough and malicious exterior was her troubled family life — specifically the death of her father, disappearance of her brother, and her mother's bipolar disorder. Addressed in a storyline that aired in December 2005, Stacey returned to live with her "disturbed" mother Jean, played by Gillian Wright, during one of her breakdowns. Jean, who had "sank into the dark despair of her illness", was living in squalor, off her medication, starved, suicidal, and being abused and ridiculed by her neighbours. Stacey was forced to admit her to a mental institution for her own safety. The storyline won a Mental Health Media Award in September 2006.
Romance with Bradley Branning and affair with Max Branning
In 2006, scriptwriters decided to pair Stacey with a new character, Bradley Branning, played by Charlie Clements. Explaining the characters' attraction, scriptwriter Sarah Phelps has said, "Bradley's gentleness makes Stacey a little bit gentler, and Stacey's toughness makes Bradley a little bit tougher."
The couple were shown to face problems in August 2006, when Stacey declared she was pregnant with Bradley's child, and on the advice of his father, Max (Jake Wood), Bradley convinced Stacey to have an abortion. Scriptwriter Sarah Phelps has described Stacey's abortion as "a dagger in [her] heart ... Stacey thought that if this is what [Bradley] really wants ... 'OK I'll go through with it', but she really didn't want to. He broke her heart."
Although Stacey and Bradley split up at Christmas 2007 when her affair with Max is revealed, they get back together in December 2009 following Stacey's diagnosis with bipolar disorder (see below). Executive producer Diederick Santer commented on the storyline, saying "Bradley and Stacey are together – that's what I want, that's what the audience wants and that's what the characters want. Together, they're very strong and they can take on the world. She's good with him, she takes her medication and on the face of it, she's the Stacey Slater we've always known. As ever with Stacey, though, there's a lot hidden. There are a lot of vulnerabilities there but she and Bradley want to make a go of things."
After losing her friend Danielle Jones, Stacey began acting strangely in May 2009, and the character has to come to terms with the prospect that, like her mother, she also suffers from bipolar disorder. The storyline was developed as of the BBC's Headroom campaign, which aims to encourage people to look after their mental wellbeing. Series Consultant Simon Ashdown had been developing the storyline for about a year. To accurately reflect the issue, EastEnders worked closely with various charities such as Mind and MDF The BiPolar Organisation, medical practitioners and bipolar sufferers when researching the storyline. The story was moulded around what Stacey would do in that situation and what the research led the team to believe was the most truthful way events would develop. Executive producer Diederick Santer said that the initial buildup of the storyline was an extension of how the character has always been, "a character of highs and lows, of great passions and dark moods," but these highs and lows would become more contrasted, and viewers would realise that Stacey's mood is more complex than just being upset over her losses, adding, "It's the beginning of us getting to really know and understand who Stacey is and what makes her behave the way she does." Turner hoped that she could do the storyline justice, saying that she believed it was great that EastEnders continued to raise awareness of the issue.
The first signs of Stacey's odd behaviour were subtle, eventually building up into more extreme acts. One of the earliest indicators was her paranoia over a poster for a fictitious video game, Deprivation, featuring two large eyes on a black background. Ashdown got the idea for this from his research notes, saying, "There were similar sorts of images described by bipolar sufferers when they were experiencing extreme paranoia."
Mind's Chief Executive, Paul Farmer, commented on the storyline, "It's fantastic that a high-profile soap like EastEnders has been prepared to tackle the challenge of exploring a mental health issue through the experience of Stacey — who is such a well-loved and popular character. The degree of research and consultancy they have undertaken to ensure an accurate and honest portrayal of how mental distress affects not only the individual but also family and friends is to be commended. ... We hope ... to dispel the myths about mental health problems and help the public to be more informed about this issue."
Pregnancy, Archie's murder and Bradley's death
On 25 December 2009, storylines showed the character of Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb) murdered by an unseen person when the bronze bust of Queen Victoria was pushed from the bar of The Queen Victoria public house onto his head. Prior to this, Stacey had told Bradley that Archie raped her when she was suffering from bipolar disorder and she was pregnant with his child. A live episode broadcast on 19 February 2010 revealed Stacey as the killer, moments after Bradley fell to his death after becoming the prime suspect. Following this, a two-hander episode was announced for Stacey and Max, who became the only person to know Stacey was the killer. Santer promised "fascinating" stories for Stacey and Max, saying that the two-hander will explore Stacey's motives for killing Archie, and will be a test for Max as the murder led to his son's death. Santer explained that the murder was not a function of Stacey's bipolar disorder as she was lucid at the time, and she had several sound reasons to be angry with him – he took advantage of her, ruined her second chance with Bradley, caused a chain of events leading to the death of Stacey's best friend Danielle and drove her brother Sean out of Walford. The two-hander also explored the question of whether Stacey really meant to kill Archie. In an interview with magazine Soaplife, Turner said that the baby gives Stacey a reason to live following Bradley's death. However, she predicted in an interview on the official EastEnders website that Bradley's death would lead to a permanent change in Stacey's character, saying that Stacey would struggle with motherhood.
On 29 April 2010, Turner's decision to leave the show was announced after she expressed a desire to pursue other roles. She said of her departure: "I've had the most fantastic time at EastEnders. Stacey has been such a brilliant role for me to play, as has been part of the feisty Slater family. I'm so lucky to have had such challenging storylines, from the affair with Max and being diagnosed with bipolar to the complete shock of being revealed as Archie's killer during the live 25th Anniversary episode. I'll miss Stacey and everyone in Albert Square very much but the time has come to try something different." Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood added: "We'll be very sad to see Lacey Turner leave the show. Lacey is one of the best young actresses on TV at the moment and the fact that she's won 28 awards in the last five years is testament to this. It's only right that someone as talented and versatile as Lacey should pursue new challenges and we wish her the very best of luck. In the meantime, viewers can look forward to a typically dramatic Slater family exit when she leaves and the door will be left open for Stacey Branning to return to Albert Square in the future." During an interview on This Morning, Kirkwood revealed that Stacey will take centre stage at Christmas and will depart in a "dramatic plotline" and said "Christmas will be all about [Stacey]" and explained the storyline would be "a suitably dramatic and fitting departure for one of the all-time greats". Stacey departed on Christmas Day 2010.
On 6 December 2013, it was announced that Turner would return to the soap to reprise her role as Stacey, and would begin filming in January 2014. Turner was quoted as saying: "I may have left EastEnders over three years ago but the show has always been in my heart, as has Stacey, and she has never really left my side. I am so excited about returning and seeing what the future holds for her. It's been a while since I set foot in Albert Square and I am looking forward to coming home." Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins added: "Stacey is one of EastEnders best-loved characters, played by one of television's finest actors, and I am tremendously excited that Lacey has decided to return home to Walford. Stacey's last time on the Square was iconic. But that was just the first act. There is so much more to come for Stacey—and her return will send ripples of drama through the Square." Stacey confesses to the murder of Archie Mitchell. Lacey Turner took a break to film the new series of Our Girl. It was confirmed that Stacey will return to EastEnders once filming has finished.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2016)
On 7 December 2015, it was announced that Stacey would give birth at Christmas 2015 and would suffer from postpartum psychosis, a storyline that would continue into "the beginning of 2016 as we explore Stacey's bipolar disorder and its effects on her and those closest to her." The storyline ran from December 2015 to February 2016. Executive Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins described the storyline as an opportunity to "look at what we are doing as a country to help mothers experiencing this" and also an opportunity to allow Turner to get "her teeth into a really intense storyline." The show worked with charities Bipolar UK and Mind to develop the storyline.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2008)
Stacey has been proven very popular with fans and has been well received by critics. Kris Green from entertainment website Digital Spy responded to Shelley's 2009 article by saying "With hereditary connections and strong environmental conditions linked to the advancement of bipolar disorder, it's not surprising that Stacey, the daughter of Jean Slater (Gillian Wright) — a long-suffering manic depressive — has developed the same disorder. [...] Granted, the 21-year-old shoulders a fair whack of the programme, but this material is pushing her acting abilities to unseen levels. Lacey's one of the BBC soap's finest actresses and to be handed a story with scenes as powerful as those in last Tuesday's episode must be nothing short of a privilege. The subject matter, however, may be difficult and the portrayal of the condition quite probably more so. It's a given that Stacey's a superb specimen and one of the best female characters in soapland, but quite how the plot is doing the actress a disservice, I'll never know." According to MDF The BiPolar Organisation, calls made by young people to their helplines doubled in six months since the on-screen onset of Stacey's illness. The Bipolar Disorder Research Network also announced an increase in visitors to its website.
Between her introduction to the series in 2004 and the announcement of her departure on 29 April 2010, Turner won a total of 28 awards for her portrayal of Stacey. In 2005, she won best newcomer at the TV Quick Awards, and in 2006 she was awarded best actress at the British Soap Awards. Virgin Media named Stacey and Bradley as one of "Soaps' sexiest couples". In February 2011, the love triangle storyline between Stacey, Ryan and Janine was nominated in the "Best Love Triangle" category at the All About Soap Bubble Awards. Stacey's departure was nominated for 'Best Exit' at the 2011 British Soap Awards. In August 2017, Turner was longlisted for Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards. She did not progress to the viewer-voted shortlist.
Turner's portrayal of Stacey during the postpartum psychosis storyline earned her much praise from viewers with many commenting that Turner's acting was 'Oscar-worthy.' Turner's acting also won her multiple awards including 'Best Actress' and 'Best Female Dramatic Performance' at the 2016 British Soap Awards. At the same ceremony, Stacey's postpartum psychosis won the award for 'Best Storyline.' A reporter writing for the Inside Soap Yearbook 2017 (a review of the year 2016 in British soap) named Stacey's postpartum psychosis storyline as one of the "best bits of January".
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