Michelle Collins has confirmed that flashbacks will be used to explain Cindy Beale's disappearance in EastEnders.


The actress reprised her iconic role as Cindy 25 years after the character was jailed and later died off-screen in 1998.

In June 2023, it was confirmed that Cindy was alive and had previously lived as Rose Knight, the wife of the new Queen Vic landlord George Knight (Colin Salmon).

Viewers later discovered that Cindy had informed on her gangster cellmate named Jackie Ford and was then placed in witness protection, with her loved ones being told she had died in prison.

Now Cindy will return to Walford full-time later this year alongside her first husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt).

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Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other publications at a recent press event, actress Michelle Collins confirmed that further scenes will depict Cindy's time away and also revealed what she has been through.

Collins said about Cindy’s return: "She’s had a lot of tragedies in her life as well. I mean, she's been through this whole witness protection, we're kind of laughing about it but it really is dramatic, and we've got a few kinds of flashbacks – can I say that?

"That kind of playing with time – if you're gonna play with time – and you know, Lucy's been murdered... who else is dead?"

A cheeky Adam Woodyatt answered: "Steven, your eldest."

An amused Michelle quickly added amid laughs: "See, she’s been through a lot. She’s had a breakdown and there are a lot of layers, which is great as an actor – that's what you want to do."

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Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale holding a photograph of the Knights in EastEnders.
Michelle Collins as Cindy Beale holding a photograph of the Knights in EastEnders. BBC

Could Lucy's murder in 2014 have triggered Cindy's breakdown and decision to leave the Knights behind?

Speaking about what scenes she is excited to portray, Collins added: "I'm kind of excited to see all these things played out. I've got stuff with my daughters, I've got to explain to them why I went away – it's difficult you know... Why did I leave them? Why wasn't I there?"

"I've got to explain to [Ian's] mum [Kathy]. What happened to me? Where did I go? I’m exhausted talking about it."

Collins hopes for some empathy towards Cindy considering the situation she has been through, but promises that the scheming character is still her old self.

The actress continued: "I hope people won't dismiss her straight away and just kind of understand what this woman has been through and try and have some kind of redemption, but obviously still want to have that edge to her which I think people want.

"If she came back and just kind of poured cups of tea in the cafe, I don't think people want that."

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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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