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EastEnders' Michelle Collins recalls surprise over Cindy being killed off

michelle collins, lorraine
EastEnders star reveals shock over Cindy deathKen McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

EastEnders star Michelle Collins has revealed she was shocked to hear her character Cindy Beale had been killed off years ago.

Michelle was originally on the BBC One soap on and off between 1988 and 1998, before Cindy was killed off-screen while giving birth to her daughter Cindy Jr in prison.

The actress was under the impression Cindy would be left alive while filming her then-final scenes, only to be told after the fact by an EastEnders legend that Cindy had died.

"She [Cindy] died off screen," Michelle told Lorraine on Thursday (February 8).

"I was sunning myself filming Sunburn and I think it was Barbara Windsor that told me she’d been to the funeral and I was like, ‘Cindy’s funeral? I didn’t even know she’d died'."

michelle collins, lorraine
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Related: 11 huge EastEnders spoilers for next week

While Michelle felt she'd "never, ever go back" to EastEnders for many years, she had a change of heart in 2023 when a massive storyline for Cindy's return was pitched.

"It was a big decision for me to go back, but where are those roles for older women and where is that visibility for women of a certain age?" she pointed out. "We’ve still got a lot more to give as women and as an actor. I’m having some great storylines."

The actress reflected on how the show has changed over the years: "I was in my early 30s and now I’m 61. I’m a very different person these days. There are only four original cast members left. There are some people, crew that are still there and it’s lovely.

"It’s changed, huge cast, 56, when I was there, there was 25. We do four a week whereas in those days it was two a week. There are still some people I haven’t done any scenes with.”

The soap revealed Cindy was alive last year as part of a bombshell story for her return to Albert Square with long-time love Ian Beale.

ian beale, cindy beale, eastenders
BBC

Related: EastEnders confirms special episode for George Knight story

It was discovered that she'd married barman George Knight while living in witness protection and they'd had two daughters, Anna and Gina.

Unbeknownst to Cindy, George later became the new co-owner of the Queen Vic alongside partner Elaine Peacock — leading to an awkward reunion and a shocking kiss when Cindy and George were reunited in Walford.

Lorraine airs weekdays from 9am on ITV1 and ITVX.

EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer, where most episodes drop early at 6am ahead of their TV broadcast.

Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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