EastEnders sparks mystery for absent character in BBC iPlayer release
Spoiler warning for the episode on 31st October 2023.
The legendary character has not appeared in the BBC One soap since she walked out of Walford in December 2022 after losing her son Mick Carter (Danny Dyer).
In February, Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) saw an image on social media that confirmed a reunion between Shirley and her evil rapist son Dean - despite Shirley having finally been convinced that he had raped Linda.
Now in Tuesday’s instalment (31st October), a showdown between a returned Dean and a terrified Linda saw him claim that Shirley had had a mental breakdown following the loss of Mick and her sister Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White) and had been placed in a psychiatric institution and was unable to speak.
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Dean also blamed Shirley’s decline on Linda cutting off contact with her and said her breakdown saw Dean’s sister Carly Wicks (Kellie Shirley) cut off Shirley too.
A worried Linda asks Dean if Shirley is coming back to Walford and he claims that now she knows the truth about Linda, Shirley won’t go in a hundred miles of her.
Linda refused to believe that Shirley would turn against her unless Dean had been dripping poison in her ear.
A furious Dean claimed that his life was ruined by Linda and he promised to talk to whoever and live wherever he wants as he “doesn’t need her consent”.
After Linda brandished a butcher knife and they were interrupted by her mother Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe), Dean left but Linda was left worrying about Shirley.
Linda fears what the truth is behind Dean’s behaviour - uncertain whether he is truly back to be closer to his ill daughter Jade Green as he claimed.
Elaine and her fiancé George Knight (Colin Salmon) encouraged Linda to phone Shirley herself but the call couldn’t connect to her.
What has happened to Shirley and when will we see her again?
"But you know, when she walked off with Lady Di last year, in the wake of Mick’s disappearance, it won't have been the last you see of her. I can say that for sure."
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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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