Unexpected flashback scenes to 2014 were aired during today's episode of EastEnders.


As had been long-teased by executive producer Chris Clenshaw and actress Michelle Collins, gaps in the history of Cindy Beale's unexpected survival and return have been filled in.

This week's set of special episodes has seen Cindy return to Albert Square and share some tense reunions, including an explosive face-off with former mother-in-law Kathy Cotton (Gillian Taylforth) before coming face-to-face with her estranged husband George Knight (Colin Salmon).

In Tuesday's episode (29th August 2023), Cindy went with George to the barrel store of the Queen Vic pub where he admonished her for her vanishing act on him and their daughters Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna (Molly Rainford) nine years earlier.

However, Cindy defended her behaviour and explained she was exactly who he thought she was and she only left them behind for her own good.

George was not so trustful, however, and told Cindy to leave his life and those of their girls, who he maintained were not in Walford.

Then, in flashback scenes, a black title card with white text confirmed that we were seeing scenes in Marbella, Spain, in 2014.

After an exterior shot of a sunny villa, we see Cindy living her life as "Rose Knight" with George while their daughters go out and he prepares to work at the bar, but a bitter and drinking Cindy accuses him of infidelity with his bar staff.

Colin Salmon as George Knight in a flashback to 2014 in EastEnders.
Colin Salmon as George Knight in a flashback to 2014 in EastEnders. BBC

Sat at home alone as she watched the news, Cindy received a call informing her that her eldest daughter Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) had been killed.

Abruptly, Cindy began to pack her things to flee, with George interrupting her and accusing her of running away while denying he had never cheated but had faced ample opportunities too.

While Cindy wouldn't explain her actions, she did go to leave and promised to return, but George told her that if she left then she could not return this time.

Departing, the action then cut to Walford as we saw Cindy hiding behind the railings of the Albert Square gardens at night as she saw her ex-husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) emerge from the back exit of his house and head to the Queen Vic pub.

Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale behind metal railings and in a shawl in EastEnders in 2014.
Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale behind metal railings and in a shawl in EastEnders in 2014. BBC

Intercut with scenes from the episode confirming Lucy's death in 2014, fans will be aware of shots seeing Ian head to the pub to tell his son Peter Beale (then played by Ben Hardy) what had happened.

Yet, Cindy's vigil was interrupted by her witness protection handler DCI Mary Nicholls (Penny Layden) who warned her that she had to come with her to protect her family.

A street away, the pair sat in the police officer's car as she confirmed they had no idea what had happened to Lucy but Cindy's return to London had potentially blown her cover and if she returned to Marbella then she put the Knight family there at risk from reprisals from Jackie Ford - the gangster who Cindy had informed on.

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The pair were briefly interrupted by a surprise cameo from Arthur "Fatboy" Chubb (Ricky Norwood) before it became clear to Cindy that she could neither comfort Peter nor return to her other family in Spain, as they would all be in danger.

Ricky Norwood as Arthur "Fatboy" Chubb in EastEnders in a flashback to 2014.
Ricky Norwood as Arthur "Fatboy" Chubb in EastEnders in a flashback to 2014. BBC

Outside the car, the cries of Peter after Ian informed him of Lucy's death could be heard.

In the present day, Cindy made clear that Lucy's death had had nothing to do with Jackie Ford and instead had been the result of an accident - with fans aware a burst of violence from a young Bobby Beale had been to blame.

Despite this, George made clear that he was broken following Cindy's disappearance but he cared for his girls, and they in turn cared for him.

Cindy made clear that she never stopped loving George but their moment was interrupted by his future daughter-in-law Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) who feared he was cheating on her mother Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe).

Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale in EastEnders.
Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale in EastEnders. BBC

During the discussion, it became clear to Cindy that Gina and Anna were in Walford and she burst through to the main pub as daughter Anna prepared to blow the candles out of her 21st birthday cake and make a wish.

As the entire room was shocked by the abrupt appearance of Cindy - including the few who knew her and thought her dead - Anna then opened her eyes and - shocked - exclaimed in disbelief: "Mum?"

The episode ended there and tomorrow will see the fallout of Cindy and Ian's return to Walford played out now her survival is public knowledge.

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EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and from 6am on BBC iPlayer. Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


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