There is a lot left for EastEnders fans to digest after Thursday's extended episode.


The episode, set entirely in France, followed the stunning Wednesday night (21st June 2023) cliffhanger which revealed that Cindy Beale was actually the true identity of the mysterious Rose Knight.

Fans finally discovered that Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) did not actually die in 1998 and instead went into witness protection to save her and her loved ones from her old cellmate, gangster Jackie Ford.

During her time in hiding, Cindy forged a new identity and ended up becoming Rose Knight, wife of George Knight (Colin Salmon) and a mother to their daughters Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna (Molly Rainford).

However, nine years ago, Cindy abandoned her new family and cut off all ties with them.

More like this

A year ago, Cindy reunited with her first husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and the pair now reside in France and are living a new life – later being joined by their eldest son, Peter Beale (once again played by Thomas Law) and his son Louie Beale (Freddie Harrington).

Thursday's episode also saw Louie's mother Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) visit and discover the truth about Cindy, prompting her to leave with Louie in disgust.

Ian suffered a heart attack in the episode after a row with Cindy about returning to Walford now her witness protection is over.

However, Ian survived and changed his mind about returning to Walford after secretly discovering that George and his daughters are now living in Walford.

This was a lot for fans to take in, and we still have a heap of questions about Cindy and Ian's return, so let's dive in!

15 EastEnders questions we still have after Cindy and Ian Beale's return

1. When will Cindy and Ian Beale return to Walford?

At present, we know that Cindy and Ian Beale will return to Walford later this year.

Considering that both Michelle Collins and Adam Woodyatt are back filming on the set of Albert Square, we can expect their full-time return to air in the late summer.

Read More

2. Why did Cindy Beale leave the Knights nine years ago?

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

This is still one of the remaining questions as Cindy crafted a new life for herself as Rose Knight with her husband George and their two daughters, Gina and Anna.

So, what triggered her to leave them behind in 2014?

Well, that year was the same year that her eldest daughter Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) was murdered. Did the much-publicised loss of her daughter prompt Cindy to leave behind her new family out of guilt and grief?

3. Why did Cindy leave her newborn daughter Cindy Williams Jr behind in 1998?

Mimi Keene as Cindy Williams in EastEnders
Mimi Keene as Cindy Williams in EastEnders. BBC

So, we are aware that Cindy went into witness protection in 1998 to escape her vengeful cellmate, but why did she give birth to her daughter Cindy Jr and then leave her behind?

We can't imagine her eldest daughter would be pleased to learn she was left behind by Cindy as an infant. Will we see Cindy Jr's reaction to her mother's return?

4. How and why did Ian Beale reunite with Cindy?

Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale speaking with Adam Woodyatt as Ian Beale in EastEnders.
Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale speaking with Adam Woodyatt as Ian Beale in EastEnders. BBC

We learned that Cindy reunited with Ian Beale a year before the episode set in France.

What brought the pair of them back together and how did Ian initially react to the news that Cindy was alive?

Either way, Ian already seems head over heels again for his first wife – despite the small fact that she once tried to have him killed.

5. When did Peter Beale discover Cindy was alive and how did he react?

Thomas Law as Peter Beale in EastEnders, wearing jeans and a red shirt
Thomas Law as Peter Beale in EastEnders. BBC

We saw that Peter Beale had been reunited with his mother off-screen despite thinking she was dead for most of his life but his discovery of her survival sounds very recent indeed.

Did Peter react similarly to his former partner Lauren Branning when he found out?

Either way, we are sure there are some further issues left to bubble to the surface.

6. When did Cindy find out that Lucy Beale had been murdered?

Hetti Bywater as Lucy Beale in EastEnders in 2014.
Hetti Bywater as Lucy Beale in EastEnders in 2014. YouTube/BBC

While we know that the murder of Lucy Beale was huge news in the UK and, of course, in Walford, when did Cindy discover that her beloved daughter had been murdered?

Lucy really was a chip off the old block when it came to her mother, but the pair barely ever had a relationship.

As Cindy did leave the Knights behind the same year Lucy Beale died, we are sure it is not a coincidence.

7. When did Cindy find out that Steven Beale had been killed?

Aaron Sidwell as Steven Beale in EastEnders in 2017.
Aaron Sidwell as Steven Beale in EastEnders in 2017. YouTube/BBC

Of course, Lucy is not the only child that Cindy has lost since she faked her own death.

Cindy's unhinged eldest child, Steven Beale (Aaron Sidwell), died during a confrontation with Max Branning (Jake Wood) amid a restaurant fire.

While Steven would learn he had sired his mother a granddaughter in Abi Branning Jr, Steven died in hospital from his wounds.

So, who broke the tragic news to Cindy of her eldest son's death?

8. Will Cindy Beale try to steal George Knight from Elaine Peacock?

Harriet Thorpe as Elaine Peacock and Colin Salmon as George Knight in EastEnders.
Harriet Thorpe as Elaine Peacock and Colin Salmon as George Knight in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Of course, when Cindy does return to Walford, she will immediately be an obstacle for George Knight and his new fiancée Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe).

It is clear that George still holds a torch for "Rose" and vice-versa, despite Cindy now being with Ian too.

Cindy was known for chasing other men while with Ian - including his step and half-brothers Simon Wicks (Nick Berry) and David Wicks (Michael French). Will Cindy soon be pursuing George as well?

If Cindy does make a move for George,

9. Did Cindy's sister Gina Williams know she was alive and will she return?

Nicola Cowper as Gina Williams in EastEnders in 2014.
Nicola Cowper as Gina Williams in EastEnders in 2014. BBC

Cindy's sister Gina Williams (Nicola Cowper) raised Cindy Jr after Cindy's "death" but was shown in 2007 to appear rather unhinged, claiming to be communing with Cindy in a confrontation with Ian.

However, could obsessive Gina have actually known that her sister was alive all along?

Gina was last seen in 2014 when she came to collect a teenage Cindy Jr (Mimi Keene) from Ian after it was revealed she was pregnant. However, Cindy Jr later left her aunt behind as she planned to adopt her unborn child.

10. How will Kathy Beale react to Cindy's return and reunion with Ian?

Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale in EastEnders.
Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale in EastEnders. BBC/Kieron McCarron/Matt Burlem/Amy Sharp

Of course, one of the showdowns we are all waiting for is between Cindy and her former mother-in-law Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth).

There was no love lost between Kathy and her former daughter-in-law, as they regularly clashed over Cindy's treatment of Ian. Kathy detested her especially after Cindy plotted to have Ian killed.

However, Kathy now has something to relate to with Cindy – both faked their own deaths and neither really had much say in the matter, being forced to be away from their children for so long.

Could this be what brings the two ladies together?

Somehow, now that Ian is back with Cindy, we doubt it.

11. How will Cindy treat Bobby Beale when she returns?

Clay Milner Russell as Bobby Beale in EastEnders.
Clay Milner Russell as Bobby Beale in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

The other complication from Cindy's time away and her reunion with Ian is that his youngest child, Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell), is the person who killed Cindy's daughter Lucy.

Bobby was a child, of course, and killed Lucy by accident, going on to serve time in prison for his crime.

Since he has been released, Bobby has been shown to be a sensitive and kind individual but has already faced issues in his relationships with his father Ian and brother Peter.

We can't imagine Cindy will be keen on him – especially if a romance does bloom between Bobby and her daughter Anna.

Could Cindy act out in a nasty way once more?

12. Will Gina and Anna Knight welcome Cindy Beale home?

Molly Rainford as Anna Knight and Francesca Henry as Gina Knight in EastEnders.
Molly Rainford as Anna Knight and Francesca Henry as Gina Knight in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

It's one thing for a mother to leave their children but for them to learn that she was never who they thought she was is a totally different ball game.

We imagine that fiery Gina will react badly to seeing her mother again after all these years and the truth is revealed, but Anna is a much more sensitive and sweet soul.

Time will tell if the Knights welcome Cindy home.

13. Will Peter Beale and Lauren Branning get back together?

Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning in EastEnders
Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Of course, aside from Ian and Cindy's reunion was seeing Peter Beale back on-screen with his long-time love Lauren Branning and their son Louie Beale.

As Lauren has heard of Peter's endless womanising, clashing with his family and now the horrifying truth that Cindy was alive all this time and that he has hidden this from her for a while, it seems she is not keen on a romantic reunion with Peter after all.

Yet, as Peter is due to return to Albert Square full-time, we can't imagine we've seen the last of Lauren and Louie.

14. When will Cindy find out that Ian Beale knew about the Knights being in Walford?

The other fly in the ointment has to be that Ian is very much aware that George Knight and his daughters with Cindy are now in Walford and sharing oxygen with his own family – prompting him to avoid a return to his home.

Will Cindy discover that Ian has been keeping this secret from her due to his insecurities? Of course she will, but when?

15. Is Cindy the mother of George Knight's son?

Colin Salmon as George Knight in EastEnders.
Colin Salmon as George Knight in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

We also learned recently that George Knight has a son who is living in Dubai and with whom he has a difficult relationship.

However, he has not been mentioned at all by Cindy or in relation to Rose Knight.

Does this mean that this unseen son is not related to Cindy at all? Time will tell.

Read more:

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.

Take part in the Screen Test, a project from Radio Times and the Universities of Sussex and Brighton, to explore the role of television and audio in our lives.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 12 issues for only £1 with delivery to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.