BBC EastEnders’ Shirley Carter’s return ‘sealed’ 15 months after exit as Dean’s downfall ‘revealed’

EastEnders viewers are convinced they know how and when Shirley Carter will return to the BBC soap after 15 months offscreen, amid Dean Wicks’ possible downfall

EastEnders could be welcoming back fan favourite Shirley Carter, if a new theory is correct.

The character played by actress Linda Henry fled Walford in December 2022, after the presumed death of her son Mick Carter played by Danny Dyer. Since then Shirley has been offscreen, while she has been mentioned several times.

Her son Dean Wicks made a surprise return last autumn, months on from Mick’s wife Linda Carter finding out her rapist Dean was back in contact with his mum, her mother-in-law Shirley. The news left her devastated, so when Dean rocked up in Walford and started causing trouble last year she was horrified.

Dean claimed in scenes last year that Shirley was grief-stricken over Mick, and had suffered a breakdown. He claimed he was there to pick her back up and convinced his mother he was not a rapist, leaving Linda reeling.

At the time Dean didn’t go into full details about Shirley and what was going on with her, but he claimed she was vulnerable and needed help and that this was why she had stayed away, and had not made contact. Viewers were not convinced at the time, while Shirley has remained offscreen.

EastEnders viewers are convinced they know how and when Shirley Carter will return

EastEnders viewers are convinced they know how and when Shirley Carter will return

But following an exit twist with Shirley’s friend Jean Slater, fans are now predicting she will finally return and bring Dean’s downfall. In recent scenes viewers witnessed Dean sabotaging his daughter Jade’s medication following her lung transplant, as a means of keeping her with him.

Jade, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child, was meant to be moving to Pakistan to be with her mother Shabnam Masood, but she’s recently been unwell and even collapsed. Jean found out what Dean was up to and tried to help Jade, before confronting Dean.

But Dean turned on her, and claimed he was protecting Jean when she asked why he lied about Jade herself missing her pills. He suggested he had tried to rectify Jean’s mistake after she, not him, had been reducing the amount of pills given to Jade.

Jade walked in and heard Dean claim Jean had not been sorting her medication properly. Jean told Dean he was “twisting” the truth, but he suggested he would call the police and have them decide, also asking her if she was having a bipolar episode.

EastEnders fans were left disgusted over the latest episode of the BBC soap

Dean set up Jean

Jean then found pill casings in her bag and started to question reality. Speaking to her partner Harvey, she decided to flee Walford for some time away before giving a glaring look at Dean as if she was on to him.

Now viewers think Shirley’s return is on the cards and that Jean has gone to locate her, to expose and get rid of Dean for once and for all. Taking to social media, one fan posted: “I am wondering if Jean Slater is going to phone Shirley Carter instead of phoning Shabnam to come and sort Dean out.”

Another viewer said: “Has she gone to get Shirley. Hope he hasn’t got in her head,” as a third said: “Jeans gone to get Shirley.” A fourth fan posted: “I just want Shirley to come back and finish off drowning Dean.”

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