|Portrayed by||Luisa Bradshaw-White|
|First appearance||Episode 4747
18 November 2013
|Created by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
|Introduced by||Lorraine Newman|
Tina Carter is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, portrayed by Luisa Bradshaw-White. She first appeared on 18 November 2013, and was introduced as the sister of established character Shirley Carter (Linda Henry). She was the first of a set of new characters that expanded the Carter family in 2013, headed by executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins. Tina and Bradshaw-White's casting were announced on 19 September 2013. The character was previously mentioned on-screen due to her daughter, Zsa Zsa (Emer Kenny) appearing on the show in 2010. Tina's storylines have mostly revolved around her relationship with her sister Shirley and a lesbian relationship with Fiona "Tosh" Mackintosh, played by Rebecca Scroggs respectively, in which she suffers abuse.
Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) tracks his ex-girlfriend Shirley (Linda Henry) to Tina's rundown flat, after she has been forced out of Walford by criminal Carl White (Daniel Coonan). Shirley agrees to return with Phil, and gives Tina money to escape her abusive girlfriend. She does this, and joins Shirley in Walford. They struggle to find somewhere to live as Tina and Phil do not get on, and end up sleeping on Billy Mitchell's (Perry Fenwick) floor. Billy develops a crush on Tina, which leads her to reject his advances as she is a lesbian, despite having been married to a man in the past and having a teenage daughter, Zsa Zsa (Emer Kenny), who previously lived with Shirley in Walford.
Tina encourages Shirley to get back in touch with their estranged younger brother Mick (Danny Dyer). They visit his pub in Watford, but his wife Linda (Kellie Bright) is cold towards them so Tina steals money from a bingo competition going on. Shirley returns the money and reconciles with Mick, who then moves his family to Walford by buying the local pub, The Queen Victoria. Tina and Shirley move in with the family and help run the pub, although Tina gets a job at the local café soon after. Tina befriends her colleague Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy). Tina sleeps with Billy when drunk, but tells him that she does not have feelings for him and they agree to be just friends. She is delighted when her father Stan (Timothy West), who the rest of the family are estranged from, makes amends with his children and moves into The Vic with them.
Tina realises she is still in love with her abusive ex-girlfriend, Fiona "Tosh" Mackintosh (Rebecca Scroggs), and reconciles with her. She brings her to a family dinner, but Tosh and Shirley argue and after Shirley tries to stop Tina from seeing Tosh. Tina rebels and starts a full relationship with Tosh again, with them eventually moving into a flat nearby with Aleks Shirovs (Kristian Kiehling) and Jake Stone (Jamie Lomas). Tina supports Sonia with marital issues, and passes up a night out with Tosh to be with her. They share a passionate kiss, but afterwards decide to just be friends. Tosh demands that Tina and Sonia end their friendship when she finds out, and accidentally causes Tina to hit her head on a door frame in a rage. They reconcile and Tosh tells Tina she wants to have a baby. Tina is reserved at first due to her bad parentage of Zsa Zsa, but eventually agrees and supports Tosh when she is inseminated. This is expensive and Tina begins dealing drugs from the café with the help of her aunt, Babe Smith (Annette Badland), but they are forced to stop when Mick and Shirley find out. Tosh is upset when Tina's colleague Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) tells her about the drug dealing, and convinces Tina to raise the money by working extra shifts instead.
Tosh becomes pregnant through the insemination and they announce this at Stan's birthday party, although she loses the baby soon after. Depressed at this, Tosh accepts Tina's nephew Dean Wicks' (Matt Di Angelo) offer of being a sperm donor, without Tina's knowledge or consent. Tina is angry when she finds out, but forgives Tosh and supports her when she discovers she is not pregnant again. They fall out when Tosh accuses her of not wanting a baby, and Tosh punches her after taunting her. Tina again forgives her and decides to try and reconcile Tosh with her family by arranging a lunch for them. Her mother Judy (Jo Martin) comes, but her father makes an excuse, uncomfortable with Tosh's sexuality due to his Christian faith. Judy storms out when Tina tells her about their attempts to have a baby, upsetting Tosh further. Tina is devastated when Stan reveals that he is dying from prostate cancer, and is even more upset when she learns that Stan knew about his illness 3 years prior to him telling the family. She and Tosh urge Stan to see a private doctor, however he reveals that Stan's cancer is too aggressive to be cured, which leaves Tina distraught. Tina supports Sonia when she falls ill, and she confides in her that she spent the money from the charity calendar she organised on a gastric band in Bulgaria, to impress her husband Martin (James Bye). Tosh returns home while Sonia is hiding in Tina's room, but she manages to sneak out before Tosh realises. When Martin fails to turn up to the Christmas party for Sonia's group "Fat Blasters", Sonia decides to announce her actions but Tina urges her not to; however, before she can, she collapses. When the paramedics arrive, Tina reveals Sonia has had an operation to fit a gastric band, which shocks Carol and Martin. Babe leads Tosh to believe that Tina is having an affair with Sonia and when Tina denies this, Tosh viciously beats her. The next day, Tina decides that she cannot forgive Tosh for what she has done and thinks it best to move back to The Vic, while Tosh leaves Walford when Tina breaks up with her. Mick stops Tina assisting Stan's requested suicide. Tina is devastated by Stan's death and delivers the eulogy. Tina and Sonia become partners, splitting up briefly when Tina finds out Sonia cheated with her estranged husband Martin. They reconcile when Sonia helps Linda after she goes into premature labour.
Creation and development
Casting and introduction
Tina was introduced as the sister of established regular character Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), who has appeared on the show since 2006. Tina's daughter Zsa Zsa Carter previously appeared in 2010, played by Emer Kenny, and mentioned her mother as living in Spain with her new husband. Two days before the character's arrival was announced, Treadwell-Collins posted a photo to Twitter of a bomber jacket with the name Tina on the back, sparking speculation that Shirley's sister had been cast. The casting of Luisa Bradshaw-White was announced on 19 September 2013, around two months before her first on-screen appearance.
Tina is described as 'loud, brash, cheeky and full of energy', with the potential to lead Shirley astray. Bradshaw-White expressed her excitement over the role, commenting that she was particularly excited as 'the energy between Tina and Shirley is explosive'. The role was changed for Bradshaw-White; Tina was initially described as 'an overweight 50-year-old who's past it'. Tina first appeared when Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) tracked her sister Shirley to her rundown flat, after she had been forced out of Walford by bad boy Carl White (Daniel Coonan). He convinced Shirley to return with him, and Tina followed soon after, escaping an abusive ex-girlfriend, Tosh; Rebecca Scroggs was introduced in this role in February of the following year.
Tina was introduced as the first of a new set of Carters, the family of Shirley, and therefore has a large amount of on-screen interaction with her family. Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins compared Tina to her sister Shirley, saying that she was 'loud and brash' like her. She also seems to be a liability like Shirley, having parented Zsa Zsa badly and letting her fly of the handle at times. Despite this, Tina is more forgiving than her sister; for example, she forgives their father Stan Carter, played by Timothy West, for his bad parenting and alcoholism when they were children, whereas Shirley still holds a grudge against him. She has a good relationship with her nephew Mick (Danny Dyer) and his family, and shares a flat at one time with Shirley's son Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo).
Tina became friends with Sonia Fowler, played by Natalie Cassidy, when she returned to the soap. Sonia, who was experiencing troubles in her marriage, received counsel from kindly Sonia and they shared a kiss, as Sonia is bisexual. However, due to her relationship with Tosh Mackintosh, the kiss went no further. Bradshaw-White revealed that fans wanted her character and Sonia to become a couple, due to their equally kindly nature. However, their friendship ended when Tosh found out about the kiss and ordered them to cut ties.
Fiona "Tosh" Mackintosh and domestic violence
Tina's past relationship with an abusive ex-girlfriend was hinted at when she was introduced. On 9 February 2014, it was announced Rebecca Scroggs would play Fiona "Tosh" Mackintosh, her firefighter ex who she would reconcile with. Tina tracked down Tosh after realising she still loved her. About their relationship, Scroggs said that 'there's something about Tina that Tosh is really drawn to', but Tina's family 'put pressure' on their relationship. Shirley was Tosh's main advisory and locked Tina in the lounge of the Vic to try and stop her seeing Tosh after a memorable showdown in which Tosh sprayed Shirley to the ground with her fireman's hose. Despite turbulence in their relationship, Scroggs insisted that 'the love between Tina and Tosh is very real'. Bradshaw-White admitted that both her and Scroggs struggled to find the chemistry with Tina and Tosh, due to their drawn out fictional history.
Several months into their relationship, Tosh was seen pushing to Tina to have a baby. Bradshaw-White said that Tosh pressures Tina into having a baby, telling her 'either they start a family - or she goes'. Tina was a bad mother to her daughter Zsa Zsa due to being addicted to drugs at the time, but Tosh insisted that Tina would be a better mother now as she 'really mothers everyone in the family'. It was reported that Tosh would become pregnant, but she was seen to lose the baby soon afterwards. This caused Tosh to become violent towards Tina again, hitting her on two separate occasions. Of the latter, more extreme attack, Jo Harvey Barringer of the Broken Rainbow UK commented that 'the violent punch Tosh (dealt) was calculated to put Tina in her place and to punish Tina for challenging Tosh's dominance in the relationship; a reminder that Tosh was in control and held all the power'.
In a poll from Digital Spy soon after Tina's introduction, Tina was voted the fourth favourite new Carter, behind Mick (Dyer), Johnny (Sam Strike) and Nancy (Maddy Hill). EastEnders and Bradshaw-White have been praised for the Tina and Tosh domestic violence story by the charity Broken Rainbow UK, who said that the story helped "portray the very real experiences our service users tell us about" in the LGBT community. The relationship between Tina and Sonia has also been praised by fans, who prefer Sonia to Tosh.
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- Flint, Hanna. "Luisa Bradshaw-White claims fans want Tina and Sonia to be together". Daily Mail. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Dainty, Sophie. "Tina faces the music over Sonia kiss". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Rigby, Sam. "Rebecca Scroggs cast as Tosh Mackintosh". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
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- Dainty, Sophie. "Tosh' violence to Tina a cause for concern". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Love, Ryan. "LGBT domestic violence plot praised". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- Dainty, Sophie. "Which of the new Carters is your favourite?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 November 2014.