Bobby Beale (EastEnders)
Eliot Carrington as Bobby Beale
24 July 2003
19 October 2017
Bobby Beale is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, who made his first appearance on 24 July 2003. The character was originally played by Kevin Curran as an infant. Prior to his introduction, Bobby's paternity is at the centre of a storyline and is resolved when Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) is revealed as Bobby's father. His mother, Laura Beale (Hannah Waterman), is killed off in 2004 and Bobby's stepmother, Jane Beale (Laurie Brett), later adopts Bobby. Curran was replaced by Alex Francis in May 2007. Following Jane's departure, Bobby finds a mother figure in Mandy Salter (Nicola Stapleton) and is upset when she leaves.
When Francis decided to concentrate on his schooling, the character was recast again, with Rory Stroud now in the role. Bobby departed in May 2014, following Jane's return and the murder of Bobby's sister, Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater). The character was reintroduced alongside Jane in November 2014, with Eliot Carrington now in the role. A new storyline began for Bobby in February 2015 when he was revealed to be Lucy's murderer; storylines subsequently saw Bobby discover the truth and confess to his crimes after attacking Jane. Bobby made his final appearance in episode 5303, broadcast in the United Kingdom on 17 June 2016. Bobby made an unannounced cameo on 17 October 2017 as part of Jane's exit from the show.
When Laura Beale (Hannah Waterman) gives birth to Bobby, her estranged husband Ian (Adam Woodyatt) refuses to acknowledge the possibility of being Bobby's father because he had a vasectomy prior to Bobby's conception; also, Laura had been unfaithful to him with Garry Hobbs (Ricky Groves). When Bobby (Kevin Curran) needs a blood transfusion, Ian is proven to be Bobby's biological father, and when Laura registers his birth, she lists Ian as his father. Ian does not learn the truth until Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) finds the birth certificate after Laura's sudden death. Afterwards, Ian brings Bobby to live with him and his older half-siblings, Peter Beale (Joseph Shade/James Martin/Thomas Law/Ben Hardy) and Lucy Beale (Casey Anne Rothery/Melissa Suffield/Hetti Bywater). Ian's partner Jane Collins (Laurie Brett), joins the household; she becomes Bobby's stepmother and values him as her own child, increasingly so following an emergency hysterectomy.
Ian enters Bobby (now Alex Francis) into a talent contest but cheats by enlisting another child to sing while Bobby mimes. When Ian's deceit is revealed, Bobby is left exposed and upset. Jane leaves temporarily and Bobby becomes troubled. When Ian catches Bobby bullying his cousin Tiffany Butcher (Maisie Smith) and confronts him, Bobby shouts that he wants his mum. He disappears from school to look for Jane, and it is Jane who finds him. She formally adopts him. Bobby and Ian plan a surprise 40th-birthday party for her, but when they see her kissing a man named Martin (Alisdair Harvey), Ian's reaction leads Jane to divorce him, leaving Walford to protect Bobby from their acrimonious arguments. In August, Bobby is misinformed of Jane's death after Ian starts telling people he is a widower. Bobby is upset so Ian tells him that he was only joking and calls Jane to prove that she is alive. When Mandy Salter (Nicola Stapleton) moves in with them, she and Bobby start to bond but Bobby still visits Jane, and she briefly returns to Walford prior to accepting a catering job in Wales. When Mandy dumps Ian, he suffers a nervous breakdown and goes missing, leaving Bobby in Lucy's care. Several weeks later Ian returns after having been living homeless, scaring Bobby with his unkempt appearance.
Bobby and Ian visit family in America. Soon after returning, Bobby (now Rory Stroud) takes a romantic interest in Tiffany. When Tiffany's mother Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer) trashes Ian's new restaurant, Ian agrees not to go to the police in exchange for Bobby and Tiffany not seeing each other anymore. Tiffany and Bobby then start meeting in secret. When Bobby participates in a school spelling competition competing against Tiffany, it is revealed that they have broken up. Bobby is delighted when Jane returns to Walford and plans to buy into Ian's restaurant.
The Beale family are distraught when Lucy is killed. After Jane breaks down in Ian's arms, they sleep together and Ian hopes they will reconcile. He tells Bobby they are getting back together, but Jane is annoyed and shouts at Ian. When Bobby tries to intervene, an angry Ian tells him he will never be as good as Lucy. Jane decides to leave Walford with Bobby. They depart abruptly, briefly returning for Lucy's funeral in May. In November Jane returns to report that Bobby has gone missing. When found in Walford, Bobby (now Eliot Carington) says that he wants to move back to Albert Square. Jane agrees, but later she's concerned when she finds a casefile which Bobby has compiled with the intention of solving Lucy's murder.
On the night of Jane and Ian's remarriage, it is revealed in a flashback episode that Bobby had accidentally killed Lucy ten months before, after attacking her with a jewellery box out of frustration at her actions. Jane tells a heartbroken Ian, Peter, and Cindy that she killed Lucy, but Ian realises that she is lying and that Bobby is the culprit. Jane admits that she had moved Lucy's body, and convinced Bobby that he had not caused Lucy's death. The Beale family (with the exception of a disgusted Peter) then agree to keep the circumstances of Lucy's death a secret from Bobby, the police, and the residents of Walford. Peter later makes peace with Bobby before emigrating to New Zealand.
Afterwards, Bobby continuously walks in between Ian and Jane's conversations about him killing Lucy, where they nervously shake it off and tell him they were discussing something else. When Bobby's uncle Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) is arrested for Lucy's murder, Jane reveals to Ian that she kept the phone and purse that Ben stole from her. Bobby soon finds them and takes them to the police station, but is stopped by Ben's father Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) who sees the objects and takes Bobby back home. Phil demands of Jane where she got the objects, and as he threatens her, Bobby brandishes a golf club and threatens Phil. Ian rushes in and takes the club from Bobby. Ben is soon released when Lucy's former love interest Max Branning (Jake Wood) is arrested for the killing. Now convinced that Max killed Lucy, Bobby tries to smash his car with a brick, but is stopped by Cindy and taken home, where she berates him as nothing more than a "stupid little boy". Bobby loses his temper and pushes Cindy as Jane walks in, causing Cindy to graze her head and land where Lucy died. Cindy snaps at Ian when Bobby leaves the room, and her words convince Jane to confess to Carol the truth of Lucy's death. Left alone, Cindy then tells Liam that Bobby had killed Lucy. Bobby is increasingly confused by Jane's behaviour but the revealing video message Cindy sends him is opened by Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) and deleted by Ian.
Bobby is furious when his grandmother Kathy Sullivan (Gillian Taylforth) returns to Walford and Ian and Jane decide to move her into Bobby's bedroom and move Bobby into Lucy's old bedroom. Jane catches Bobby trying to swap the rooms back in secret, and a physical scuffle ensues, which results in Bobby pushing Jane down the stairs. After she regains consciousness, Kathy arrives and Jane lies that she tripped and fell when helping Bobby move the last items from his bedroom. However, after hearing Kathy and Jane talking later, Bobby accidentally reveals to Kathy that he pushed Jane down the stairs, leaving Kathy shocked at his violent streak. Bobby starts a feud with Sharon's son, Dennis Rickman Jnr (Bleu Landau), which escalates when Bobby cruelly kills Dennis 's pet spider. Sharon tells Kathy that Bobby is evil and needs help, and Kathy tells Sharon that Bobby pushed Jane down the stairs, so Sharon decides she will report Bobby to the police about Lucy's killing but agrees to wait until after Christmas. Dennis tells Bobby that he killed Lucy, having overheard it from Sharon and Phil. Ian and Jane soon realise that Bobby knows the truth, and Ian does a deal with Phil to stop Sharon going to the police. Bobby then tells Ian what he knows and Ian confirms it is true. Jane then decides they should go to the police, as they are no longer protecting Bobby from the truth, but Ian comes up with another plan to help Bobby's anger issues and the family agree to send him to boarding school. He leaves late in January, after Ian bribes the school to take him early.
Bobby returns home from school for the holidays, happy having won a hockey award. Ian decides against selling the family restaurant when he comes under pressure from the market traders, which means they cannot afford to continue paying Bobby's school fees. Bobby overhears Jane talking about this, so he angrily smashes her car wing mirror with his hockey stick. The next day, Jane catches Bobby packing a bag, and he says he knows what Jane has done and is returning to the school. She stops him leaving and when she goes to call Ian on the phone, Bobby strikes the back of her head with his hockey stick; she falls and he hits her twice more, leaving her critically injured. He then goes to The Queen Victoria pub and tells Ian that he killed Jane as he killed Lucy, in earshot of everyone in the pub. Ian attempts to get him away but Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) stops him, and Ian accompanies Jane in the ambulance, denying Bobby access. He is later arrested by PC Julian Walsh (Luke Williams) after confessing to attacking Jane. He later confesses to DS Howard South (Paul Stocker) that he killed Lucy and reveals to DI Samantha Keeble (Alison Newman) that he has the murder weapon in his school locker. He is released pending charge for Lucy's murder. Ian rebukes him sharply but Bobby seems genuinely upset about Jane and says that by confessing, he is seeking help. Bobby is later charged with unlawful killing and denied bail by the Youth Court judge. He is kept in a youth detention centre until a preliminary hearing in Crown Court the following week. In court, Bobby pleads guilty to causing grievous bodily harm upon Jane with intent, and unlawfully killing Lucy. He is given a custodial sentence of three years for killing Lucy and one year for the attack on Jane, with both sentences to run concurrently. He feels confident he can be released when Ritchie informs him of potential to appeal, but following Jane's wishes, Ian convinces Bobby to avoid doing so, saying that he needs to accept what he did and carry out his punishment like he deserves. When Jane wants to visit Bobby, Ian tells her that Bobby does not want to see them.
Ian visits Bobby off screen to inform him of Steven's death and Jane being injured in a fire. When Ian returns from the visit he informs Kathy that he is disappointed that Bobby did not seem to respond to the news the way he expected and he walked out the visiting room without saying a word. The following month, Max threatens Jane into leaving Walford. However, James Willmott-Brown (William Boyde), the man that raped Kathy 29 years earlier forces Max to ensure that Jane leaves without Ian. Therefore, Max shows Jane a video of Bobby being harassed by someone he does not recognise in his cell, and threatens to harm Bobby if Jane does not leave Walford alone.
Creation and development
|“||Bobby has overcome a complicated start in life — Garry thought he was his father until a blood test proved it was Ian. Not to mention enduring the revolving door of his father's love life...Bobby's biological mum, Laura, died in dubious circumstances. Jane was the closest thing to a mum he had, but she left, unable to endure another minute as Mrs Beale. Mandy took over the unlikely role of 'mum' for a while until she too left The Square.||”|
|— A reporter from the EastEnders website on Bobby (2013)|
In December 2003, Neil Wilkes of Digital Spy revealed an upcoming "baby bombshell" storyline involving Garry Hobbs (Ricky Groves) torn between Laura Beale (Hannah Waterman) and Lynne Hobbs (Elaine Lordan). Garry mistakenly believes that Laura's unborn child is his but it is in fact Ian Beale's (Adam Woodyatt) who is oblivious to this information. It was then confirmed that Laura was to be killed in an "explosive exit" after she comes clean with both Garry and Ian. An EastEnders insider said in May 2004 "Garry's grown to love Bobby despite all the trouble caused by his night of passion with Ian's wife Laura". In July 2007, Laurie Brett who plays Jane Collins said that Bobby will start becoming "a bit of a handful". In December 2009. a writer for the Sunday Mail said that when Bobby went missing, it made viewers feel sorry for Ian for a change. In February 2010, Woodyatt said that Bobby's character was a fail-safe option if the live episode of EastEnders went wrong saying "We've all got our little strategies in case it goes wrong. I'm going upstairs to check on Bobby. Steve Mac is going to say, 'I've had enough of this' and just walk out." When Nicola Stapleton reprises her role as Mandy Salter, she said that there a part of Mandy that wants to be maternal as she gets on well with Bobby, who becomes her "little mate". In January 2013, after leaving EastEnders, Laurie Brett said "I would never say never to going back, as I loved playing Jane. She's Bobby's mum and it will always be that way."
Digital Spy revealed on 31 January 2013 that Alex Francis departed from EastEnders to "concentrate more on school commitments". EastEnders Executive Producer Lorraine Newman said of Francis' departure "Alex has been a highly valued member of the EastEnders cast and we wish him the best for the future." The role of Bobby was recast to Rory Stroud and started appearing as Bobby from 1 March 2013. In April 2013, when Ben Hardy is recast as Bobby's brother Peter Beale, he said "Ian's wonderful relationship with Denise and the inclusion of Lucy, Peter and Bobby in the household will reinvigorate the clan with vibrancy and energy. I am really looking forward to seeing them all together on screen." Additionally, in June 2013, upon the announcement that Bobby's stepsister was to return to the program, new actress Mimi Keene said "with Peter, Lucy, Bobby and Cindy to contend with, it'll be a lively household".
Third recast and Lucy's death
Bobby was recast for the third time, this time being played by Eliot Carrington who made his first appearance in the episode broadcast on 25 November 2014. Bobby was revealed to be the killer of his sister Lucy Beale on 19 February 2015 in a special flashback episode. Treadwell-Collins mentioned that the killer reveal would be different to the show's earlier whodunnit. “With Archie, it was a one-line reveal, but with this one it’s more complicated: there are a few conversations.” Following the reveal, the executive producer said that the storyline is the "start of a bigger story". He also mentioned that the original killer was Jane Beale and then Cindy Williams, but stated his reason for the change: "There was one other suspect for about a day, but then it didn't feel right. We always said that this story had to come from the heart, and with this, it's the start of a whole big new story for the Beales." Bobby being the culprit was originally suggested by series producer Alex Lamb.
Rory Stroud was nominated as "Best Young Actor" at the 2013 Inside Soap Awards. A reporter from the EastEnders website said "We feel for cute-as-a-button Bobby Beale, whose home life is about as stable as Kim Fox (Tameka Empson) in stilettoes after ladies' night at R&R." Meanwhile, Eliot Carrington was nominated for 'Best Bad Boy' and 'Best Young Actor' at the 2015 Inside Soap Awards.
In September 2013, Stuart Heritage of The Guardian newspaper said that the character should be axed because Stroud "can actually act. He can speak in full sentences and walk around and stuff. That's not who Bobby Beale is. Bobby Beale should be mute and confused by everything, just like he was when Alex Francis played him."
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