Spoiler warning for the EastEnders episode airing on Wednesday 30th August 2023, which was released on BBC iPlayer at 6am.
Cindy Beale's (Michelle Collins) iconic return to EastEnders has brought a lot of nostalgia for fans, as her eventful backstory is revisited.
One character getting several mentions is her eldest child, the late Steven Beale. But with Steven now long dead, some are wondering exactly what happened to him; and there are plenty of dramatic moments to delve into.
In the episode on Wednesday 30th August 2023, Cindy was seen telling daughters Anna (Molly Rainford) and Gina Knight (Francesca Henry) about their half siblings, including the late Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater), and Steven who passed away a few years after Lucy.
So if you're keen for a reminder of Steven's story, RadioTimes.com is here to fill in all the gaps.
What happened to Steven Beale in EastEnders?
Steven was the first-born child of Cindy, fathered by Simon Wicks (Nick Berry). But at the time, Cindy was married to Ian, who believed that Steven was his son until Cindy revealed the truth. Ian raised Steven as his own, but when the Beale marriage turned sour, Cindy hired a hitman on Ian and fled the country with Steven and younger son Peter.
When Cindy was captured and sent to prison, Ian later heard that she had died in childbirth, and in the years before her bombshell resurrection, Steven grew into a troubled teen, memorably played by Edward Savage.
Feeling abandoned by a series of stepmothers, and neglected by Ian, Steven rebelled and wrote several poison pen letters. Ian told Steven that he wasn't his real father, and a distressed and angry Steven left Walford to meet biological father Simon in 2002, staying with him in New Zealand for the next five years.
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In 2007, Steven was back, played now by Aaron Sidwell. Steven began stalking Ian, haunting him by pretending to be Cindy. He lured Ian to some flats, taking him hostage. But upon reuniting with siblings Lucy and Peter, and grandmother Pat Evans (Pam St Clements), Steven realised that Ian had always loved him, and he showed Lucy what he had done to Ian.
Steven and Ian had a confrontation, where Steven's resentment was finally laid bare as he admitted that living with Simon had not been a happy time. Steven tried to take his own life with a gun, but during the struggle to stop him, Ian's wife Jane (Laurie Brett) was shot, and her life-saving operation left her unable to have children of her own.
Ian took Steven to a psychiatric hospital, but upon release he chose not to take his medication. Rejected by the Beales, Steven made another attempt on his life by pouring petrol over himself, but was stopped from setting himself on fire by Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner). Steven's fragile state of mind led Ian to reconcile with him, but Steven was humiliated again when Jane's brother Christian Clarke (John Partridge) exposed him as a liar, when Steven claimed he had slept with Stacey.
After a showdown, Steven tried to kiss Christian, but insisted he was straight when questioned and framed Christian for trying to seduce him. Ian eventually discovered that Lucy, who he thought had run away, had actually been hidden away by Steven. Steven wanted to send Lucy to France so he could have more of Ian's attention, but when Pat discovered this, Steven tried to smother Pat with a pillow, stopped by Ian.
Ian found Lucy, and told Steven to leave and never return, or Ian would kill him. Steven returned to New Zealand in 2008, but headed back to Walford in 2016 with Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) and her son by Peter, Louie.
Steven claimed to have changed, and wanted to make amends and help repair the family amid Bobby's confession of Lucy's murder. Ian accepted this, but later learned that Lauren and Steven were an item.
Steven became the manager of Ian's restaurant, only to stage a burglary to pay some debts and commit a series of thefts. Jane discovered Steven's actions, and he claimed that he was trying to help a troubled Peter. But when Lauren was charmed by another man, Steven sabotaged their contraception to get her pregnant, and Lauren had a secret abortion.
Lauren's sister Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald) told Steven, and the pair had a fling. The affair was ongoing, but Steven kept his grasp on Lauren and lied to her that he had a terminal brain tumour so she would stay with him.
Lauren and Abi's father Max Branning (Jake Wood) blackmailed Steven after finding out, ordering him to set fire to a flat for him. But Jane was soon in the know about Steven's lies too, and she revealed that Abi was pregnant.
Steven didn't believe her, and he set fire to the restaurant, leaving Jane for dead. Steven and Max thought Lauren was trapped inside and ran into the flames. Max urged Steven to kill Jane, but he refused; so Max attacked Steven, who was rushed to hospital and died after a cardiac arrest. Steven's daughter Abi Junior was born in 2018, with mother Abi dying from a fall from The Queen Vic roof soon after.
Abi Junior was last seen leaving to stay with grandfather Max abroad, having previously been cared for by her great-aunt Rainie Highway (Tanya Franks).
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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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