Who is Bianca Jackson? The life, loves and storylines of an EastEnders icon

Get those ear defenders ready - Queen B is back!

EastEnders

As EastEnders welcomes home Walford icon Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer), here’s a rundown of her history on the Square plus hints at what you can expect to see from her comeback…

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Who is Bianca Jackson?

Loudmouthed Bianca remains one of EastEnders’ most memorable characters, with her silver puffa jacket, flame-red hair and “Rickaaaaaaay!” catchphrase (screamed at her henpecked one-time husband) having gone down in soap history. Fans will be pleased to know that, despite having been away for five years, she remains a short-fused scrapper with claws to match her lurid animal-print tracky tops.

Why is Bianca back in Walford?

Bianca is ostensibly returning for the wedding of adoptive daughter Whitney, whose nuptials are set to take place this week. But there is a secret attached to the character’s comeback that was teased recently by actress Patsy Palmer.

“Bianca’s got a lot of stuff going on that nobody knows about,” explained the star. “I don’t want to give anything away but viewers will learn in the coming weeks why she has been so quiet – it does give answers.”

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How long is Bianca back for?

With Patsy Palmer now living in Malibu, California, it’s safe to say that Bianca’s return won’t be permanent. Speaking to Radio Times, Palmer revealed how long her alter-ego will be back on screen: “EastEnders never usually ask people back for a short stint. So when they asked me, of course I said yes. EastEnders is always a wonderful experience. To go back for just a few weeks was a blessing.”

Who are Bianca’s children?

Bianca has one son with Ricky Butcher – Liam (born on Christmas Day 1998). Her younger son Morgan (born 24th June 2005) was fathered by Ray Dixon. Bianca’s eldest daughter with Ricky, named Natasha, was born prematurely after being diagnosed with spina bifida and died soon afterwards. Their second daughter Tiffany (born 6th February 2003) remains in Walford and is played by Maisie Smith. Bianca is also the adoptive mother of Whitney Dean (born December 1992), whose biological parents are Debra Dean and Nathan Dean (now deceased).

When did Bianca first appear on EastEnders?

Bianca was first seen in an episode that aired on 16th November 1993, her debut scenes finding her catching the eye of market-stall holder Sanjay, who tried to sell her a dress. Bianca’s no-nonsense mum Carol (Lindsey Coulson) also made her first appearance on EastEnders in the same instalment.

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How did Bianca leave EastEnders?

After reconciling with Terry Spraggan, Bianca and her cabbie boyfriend left in September 2014 for a new life in Milton Keynes, with young TJ and Rosie Spraggan, as well as her own kids Morgan and Tiffany, the latter returning to Walford in January 2018.

What are Bianca’s most memorable storylines?

Bianca is no stranger to drama and heartache, with her storylines taking in everything from affairs to bereavements, by way of slanging matches and brushes with the law. Prior to marrying her most notable screen partner Ricky, Bianca was seen flirting with handsome David Wicks, only to discover that he is actually her biological father.

Her early association with Ricky came to a premature end when she discovered that he’d been secretly sleeping with her childhood friend Natalie. But after she and Ricky reunited, it was Bianca who subsequently went on to cheat, first with Lenny Wallace and then later with her mum Carol’s then-boyfriend Dan Sullivan. An acclaimed plotline also saw Bianca and Ricky lose their baby daughter Natasha, who had been diagnosed wth spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

Patsy Palmer’s original stint on EastEnders came to an end in 1999 and – aside from a two-part 2002 Ricky & Bianca special – viewers would have to wait until 2008 before the character resurfaced. Another hard-hitting plotline saw Bianca discover that her current boyfriend Tony had groomed and abused her adoptive daughter Whitney. Subsequent drama would see Bianca remarry Ricky, lose her younger brother Billie to alcohol poisoning and spend some time in prison after getting herself into debt and stealing from a fellow market trader.

More recently, she was seen saving son Liam after he became embroiled with a local gang and supporting Carol after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After getting involved with taxi driver Terry Spraggan, Bianca ended up exiting with him in 2014.

And did you know…?

It’s now hard to imagine anyone other than Patsy Palmer in the role of Bianca, but the part was almost played by a pre-Spice Girls Emma Bunton. “When I was 17, I was up for the part. I loved the show and thought it was perfect for me. I got right down to the final auditions and then was rejected. It was really upsetting,” she commented.

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