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Cindy Beale (née Williams, also Rose Knight and Sawyer) is the ex-wife of Ian Beale and George Knight, mother of Steven, Peter, Lucy, Cindy, Gina and Anna, as well as the grandmother of Beth, Louie and Abi.


1988-1989: Making her mark in Walford[]

Twenty year old Cindy arrives in Albert Square in May 1988, working on her mother's market stall selling hats. She dates barman Simon Wicks, who is also seeing Donna Ludlow, leading Cindy and Donna to fight for Simon's attention. However, Cindy grows tired of Simon's womanising, and despite his feelings for her, Cindy moves on to Ian Beale, who is becoming a successful entrepreneur. Initially, she only wants to make Simon jealous but she and Ian start dating, and by February 1989, they announce their engagement.

Meanwhile, Simon retaliates by reconciling with Sharon Watts. However, while working together late one night at The Queen Victoria public house, Cindy and Simon have sex and Cindy becomes pregnant. She suggests leaving Ian for Simon, but he refuses, not wanting to be tied down or upset his family, so Cindy marries Ian, letting him think he is the baby's father, giving birth to Steven in December 1989.

1990-1998: Lies catch up with Cindy[]

Simon decides he wants to be a father to his son and convinces Cindy to leave Ian, devastating him with the news that Steven is not his son and a feud erupts when he realises Simon is the father. Ian's behaviour grows erratic; after attempting suicide and failing, he chooses to ruin Simon's life instead, so Simon decides to leave Walford with Cindy and Steven, leaving Ian heartbroken.

In 1992, Ian discovers that Simon has abandoned Cindy and Steven. Ian persuades her to return to Walford so he can help her bring Steven up. They reunite, and Cindy gets pregnant in 1993. Richard Cole is romantically interested in Cindy but she rejects him, so Richard tells people that he is the father of her twins. Everyone believes him, and Ian and Cindy almost separate, but the truth emerges, just before Lucy and Peter are born in December. Married life and motherhood take its toll on Cindy, and she has two affairs, first with Matt, a lifeguard, in 1994, and then with Simon's half-brother, David Wicks, also Ian's half-brother, in 1995. Cindy and David meet secretly for a year, and she falls in love with David, growing less and less tolerant of Ian. Suspecting Cindy is cheating, Ian hires a private investigator, who films Cindy and David in a clinch. Ian vows to take Cindy to court for custody of their children. David loses interest in Cindy, so she takes drastic action, and in October 1996, she hires a hitman to kill Ian. Although Cindy changes her mind, it is too late, and Ian is shot, collapsing in a pool of blood in front of Cindy. The police suspect Cindy is involved, and when David is called in for questioning, Cindy knows she will soon be under arrest, so decides to flee with her children. Assisted by David and Barry Evans, she collects her sons, but is unable to get Lucy, and is forced to leave without her. David also stays behind, promising Cindy that he will try and get Lucy and join her later, but he never does. Ian's private investigator tracked Cindy to Italy in 1997. Ian, Phil Mitchell and Grant Mitchell find her, and Phil and Grant abduct Steven and Peter while Ian claims he still loves Cindy and will forgive her. Desperate to get her daughter back, Cindy goes along with him but grows suspicious and calls the police, but it is too late. Despite a police chase, Ian brings his sons back to Walford. Cindy soon follows Ian back to Walford with her new boyfriend, Nick Holland. She takes Ian to court for custody of the children and wins. However, moments after the verdict, Cindy is arrested for attempted murder when Ian's associates persuade the hitman to tell the police about Cindy's involvement, so she loses and Ian wins full custody of the children and Cindy is charged and held on remand while she is pregnant by Nick. After realising Cindy is guilty, Nick leaves her in prison without any money for a lawyer. On the 5th November 1998, Ian receives news that Cindy has died in childbirth. Her daughter survives and is named Cindy by Ian, in her mother's honour. Gina, Cindy's sister, gains custody.

2007: Cindy's impersonation[]

In September 2007, Cindy's daughter Lucy started claiming that that she was in contact with Cindy over the internet and was planning to meet up with her. After hearing the news from Peter, Ian went to Lucy's supposed meeting place and Ian told her that Cindy was definitely dead. Ian went onto Lucy's blog and discovered the messages from someone calling themselves 'Cindy Beale' and he attempted to email the sender himself but the reply was "Nice try". Ian then began to think he could smell Cindy's perfume in the house, and found writing on a mirror saying "Ian I'm back", but after arriving back with Jane to show her, the writing was gone. After looking through some old photos Ian came to the conclusion Cindy's sister Gina was behind the haunting. A bottle of Cindy's old perfume appeared on the doorstep and another message came through online saying "Can you smell me now?". Ian was sent a photo of Cindy looking older than when she had died, holding a newspaper showing a headline about the attack on Patrick Trueman that happened in 2007. While investigating the possible identity of the person pretending to be Cindy, Ian called back a number from which he had received a text message apparently from Cindy. Hearing a phone ringing in the house, he traced the sound to a phone in his then wife Jane's wardrobe. He also discovered a book about insomnia on his pillow, and a receipt in Jane's pocket for a coffin that was delivered. Ian began to suspect Jane was posing as Cindy due to an obsession and was responsible for all the recent events including delivery of flowers, animal hearts and the coffin. However, when confronting Jane, her reaction convinced him that she was not responsible. It was later revealed that it was Cindy's son Steven.

2023 to present: Return with Ian[]

Cindy is seen sitting by a swimming pool on 21 June 2023 and is ignoring a call from her ex-husband, George Knight after Phil told him that Rose Knight didn't exist and she was conning him.

On 22 June 2023 it is revealed that Cindy, along with her ex-husband and partner, Ian Beale are running a baguette stand in France. Ian finds a picture of George and the girls, Gina and Anna, in Cindy's bag and asks her about it. She reveals that George called her and that she misses the girls. Lauren Branning, finds out that Cindy is alive and confronts Peter about it. This is after Cindy indirectly causes Ian a heart attack from arguing with him after he wanted to go back to Walford. She is seen doting over the image of George, Gina and Anna by the swimming pool again. DCI Mary Nicholls comes to the baguette stand and tells Ian and Cindy that Cindy's cellmate, Jackie Ford, had died. This means Cindy was no longer under witness protection and didn't have to use the fake name, Rose Knight.

On 26 June 2023, George books a flight to Marbella, to try and find out who Rose Knight actually is but is later convinced out of it by Anna, Gina, and his fiancé, Elaine Peacock. The day after, on 27 June 2023, Anna, after finding out her mother wasn't actually called Rose Knight, tells Gina that she needs to know something about their mother but Gina doesn't want to know.

Gina finally decides she wants to know and Anna tells her that Rose Knight doesn't exist. Anna finds a locket with the date of the 9th December 1993 on it and her and Gina joke that it could be the day their mum landed on the moon. In reality, it is the date of Peter and Lucy's birth.

Anna hires private investigator, Gabriel Chang, to track down Cindy and he suggests that the locket has the date of a birth, marriage, or death. He also revealed that a bank account in the name of Rose Knight had been recently closed down in Spain. Anna meets with Gabriel again, despite her family telling her not to and he gives her a phone number. He says that it has been recently active in France.

Anna tells George, Gina and Elaine that she has her mum's phone number and she says she's going to ring it, however, George takes it off of her. After a while, they have a talk and George gives Anna his blessing to ring Cindy. Anna ring but it goes straight to voicemail. She leaves a message and also texts her mum. Peter picks these up in France and decides to meet his sisters, going against Ian's wishes.

The next day, Ian tells Cindy that Peter has gone to Walford and Cindy is worried, despite being unaware that the Knights are there. Later in the episode, Ian gets back from picking up a delivery at the baguette stand and Cindy has gone. It turned out, she had caught the Eurostar to London.

Cindy makes an explosive return to the Square on 28th August 2023. Firstly, she goes to visit Lucy’s gravestone, where Peter finds her and tries to convince her to go back to France. However, this doesn’t work and Peter turns his back for a second and Cindy uses this chance to go to Walford. She gets off of the tube and Freddie Slater gives her a Beale's Plaice sample. She turns up at the Beale household where she is greeted by Kathy who has an argument with her which eventually ends with them slapping with each other and smashing the frame which contained a picture of Lucy. Kathy and Cindy eventually somewhat make up and Kathy tells Cindy to take the food to Anna’s twenty first birthday party after Peter walks in and Kathy wants to talk to him. When Cindy walks out the gate, Ian shows up and tries to stop her from going into the Vic and seeing George, Gina and Anna. However, George walks outside, resulting in the ex-lovers seeing each other and Cindy dropping the food.

George and Cindy talk in the Barrell Store, where we are shown a flashback from 2014, revealing that the reason she walked out on the Knights was because of Lucy’s death. She had gone back to Albert Square where she was found by Mary. Mary tells her that she can’t go back to Marbella because Jackie Ford’s people might find her, so Cindy goes to France. Back in the present, the talk is interrupted by Linda Carter, coming to get some prosecco for the party. George had lied and said that Gina and Anna were still in Spain, however Linda gives away that they are in the Vic. Cindy tries to go to see them but George stops her. However, she eventually pushes past him, making her way into the Vic and seeing Gina and Anna for the first time in nine years, as well as Sharon Watts, Phil Mitchell and Sonia Fowler for the first time in twenty-eight and twenty-five years, respectively.

Anna and Gina take Cindy upstairs with George and Elaine to explain. Meanwhile, downstairs, the younger residents of the Square, including Freddie Slater, Bernadette Taylor and Felix Baker gossip about how she is still alive. Cindy explains about her witness protection but George tells Anna that she is not there to see them. Cindy somewhat makes up with Gina, however, her efforts are forgotten after Anna tells her this, Gina and Anna go to Peggy's and Anna ends up sleeping with Freddie, Bobby's best friend. Cindy and George walk into Peggy's to find Gina on the floor.

Gina is taken into hospital and George and Cindy come to visit her. George forbids Cindy from seeing Gina and when Anna arrives, Cindy makes up with her. Cindy is later furious with Ian when she finds out that Ian knew George and the girls were in Walford, Cindy tells Ian that if he wants to make it up to her then they need to stay in Walford and not go back to France. Ian agrees and later tells Kathy that he will be taking his businesses back from her and that he will be moving back into his house with Cindy and that if Kathy doesn't like it then she needs to move out. When George gets back to the Square, Cindy and George have an argument and George calls her Rose. She tells him that 'it's not Rose, it's Cindy'.

Cindy is furious when Ian tells her Bobby is moving back in with them, Cindy still blames Bobby for Lucy's death and throws wine at him. Ian then tells Cindy that if she can't forgive Bobby then they are over, Cindy later apologises to Bobby and tells him she wont stand on his way if he wants to move back in. Cindy later comes up with the idea to sell mash and pies, Ian and Cindy once again pitch their idea to the Panesar's inviting them around for lunch but the meeting gets off to a bad start when Ian and Cindy discovers the Panesar's are vegetarian and they have only prepared meat pies. Despite this Nish Panesar likes the idea and invites Ian and Cindy to the Vic to sign a contract, however before the Panesar's sign the contract Ravi Gulati turns up and tells Nish that his grandson Davinder Gulati has gone missing. Despite this news Cindy and Ian still try to persuade Nish to sign the contract, leading to a furious argument between Cindy and Nish.

Cindy later finds out from Anna that George is selling their bar in Marbella, Cindy tells Ian that she plans to demand half of the money from the sale from George. When Cindy tells George that she wants half the money he reluctantly agrees, Cindy later kisses George but he pulls away but both are seen by Gina who believes they both kissed. Gina later tells Elaine about George and Cindy's kiss but George tells Elaine that Cindy kissed him, Elaine forgives him but tells him to prove that he doesn't still love Cindy, George later tells Cindy that he will not be giving her half of the Marbella bar. Cindy declares war on the Knights and they tell her to bring it on.

In order to avoid buying a deposit for a flat Tom attempts to get Kathy and Ian to make up so they can move back in with Ian, Tom invites Ian and Cindy to lunch at Sonia's house. Kathy and Cindy continue to argue and eventually Kathy, Ian and Cindy realise it is a set up from Tom and Ian and Cindy leave.

When Elaine and Cindy have another row Elaine agrees to go for lunch with Cindy for the girls, Elaine and Cindy sort out their differences and agree to be civil with eachother. On 30 October 2023 Cindy and Ian find out that their new business partner at the pie and mash shop is Dean Wicks, Ian knows Dean from when he raped Linda in 2014. The two confront Dean when they see him in person but they've already signed contracts so have to work together. Linda and other residents are furious with Ian and Cindy but Ian and Cindy defends themselves and say they didn't know their partner was going to be Dean and insists they can't get out of it as they've signed contracts.

When Peter is hospitalised after a fire at the café, Ian and Cindy go to hospital to check on Peter, Ian checks on Bobby and he is awake but Peter has lung damage and is on life support. Cindy is later furious when Kathy admits that she knew the electricity in the café was dodgy, Ian defends Kathy which angers Cindy. George speaks to Cindy, George tells Cindy to forget about Kathy and support Peter. When Cindy sees an officer investing the fire she tells them about what Kathy had told her and the police later arrest Kathy. Ian later discovers it was Cindy that phoned the police on Kathy after Cindy admits it while ranting at Bobby, where she once again has a go at Bobby for killing Lucy. Ian overhears this and begins to question his and Cidny's relationship.

When Dean continues to harass Linda she and Alfie begin to put fliers around the square, Dean threatens to sue Linda if she doesn't take them down. Elaine later convinces Linda to take them down to avoid being sued however Gina later spray paints 'rapist' on the pie and mash shop (now named Beale's Eels). When Dean, Cindy and Ian later confronts Linda she denies being behind the spray painting. Gina then admits that she was behind the spray painting, Linda thanks Gina for having her back. Dean later tries to talk to Linda however George and Cindy see him, when Dean tells George to mind his own business and accuses Linda and George of sleeping with eachother George hits Dean, causing Dean to fall down the stairs knocking him out. Cindy initially agrees not to say anything to the police but is later persuaded by Ian not to lie to the police, Linda visits Dean in hospital and begs him not to tell the police what George did. Dean agrees not to speak to the police as long as Linda tells everyone that he didn't rape her.

Cindy and Ian go to the Vic on New Year's Day, George's adoptive parents Eddie and Gloria Knight arrive in Watford and Cindy flees when she sees Eddie, George later discovers that Gloria and Eddie were paid to adopt him by his birth parents. George is devastated and seeks out Cindy to talk and Cindy helps George do some research into his background, Cindy discovers articles of white British families in the 1960's that would buy African children. George then realises that he is likely African and not Jamacian as he had always thought. On 17 January 2024 Anna and Bobby (who have rekindled their friendship since he found out about Anna and Freddie) go out for a meal with Cindy, Ian and Peter believing it's a date. During the meal Anna and Bobby order Lobster but Anna freaks out when she finds out that the Lobsters are boiled alive, Bobby then helps Anna take the Lobsters. Cindy, Ian and Peter laugh at the two but ultimately agree to help them free the Lobsters back into the wild, they put the Lobsters in the bath and later free them into the sea of Southend. Anna and Bobby plan to go on another date, Cindy doesn't approve and tells Bobby that it is nothing personal but that he isn't good enough for Anna and that they won't last but Bobby wins her around by comparing himself to Steve Rodgers (superman). Anna tells Elaine that Bobby is kind and that she likes him, Elaine jokingly tells Anna to marry him. Ian books the two a table at Walford East and at the end of the date Bobby and Anna kiss in front of their families.

Dean enters the Vic with flowers and kisses Gina infront of Elaine, George and Linda. Dean reveals he and Gina are in a relationship leaving the three furious. Cindy offers Dean £60,000 to leave Walford and Gina but Dean turns the offer down. Gina later goes to Dean's House for a date but when the two argue Gina tries to leave, Dean grabs Gina's arm and in retaliation Gina punches Dean in the face.

Later on, Cindy decides she needs to reunite with Cindy Jr, so flies out to Germany to do so. Whilst away, George struggles with his heritage and family issues and calls Cindy for support. She arrives quickly and he explains how Eddie killed George’s biological father, Henry Asare. Cindy encourages George to tell the girls about this revelation although George struggles due to uncertainty. As time progresses, George’s mentality decreases and he starts being aggressive towards Cindy - her ultimate goal is for George to be honest to the girls although he’s having none of it.

When Gloria passes from a heart attack and Eddie goes to prison, Cindy is there to support George through his grief, which irritates Elaine. George decides to start doing bare knuckle fighting to suppress the grief, Cindy and Phil are there and try to stop him from doing it but they can’t, and George ends up injured. This carries on until 16 April 2024, Cindy and George have a deep conversation in The Boxing Den which ends with a kiss between the two.

Cindy gets even closer to George and is around him all the time, Elaine starts to notice and tells Cindy to back off. Though, George is keeping a secret from his family about the fighting, so Cindy has to stick around for that. George holds a ceremony for Gloria’s life but collapses and is told by a doctor that one more blow could be fatal - this is when the girls find out about his fighting. She then overhears George signing up for another fight, and threatens to tell Elaine about their kiss if George doesn’t step down - Elaine overhears.

The following week, George goes ahead with his fight and Cindy is shocked to see that his rival is Junior Knight, George’s son. Realising the situation has become dangerous, Cindy informs them to both leave. Some time later, Cindy starts making digs at Lauren for sleeping with Zack Hudson, which causes a mini-feud between the two. On the other hand, George struggles at the bar after a fall out with Elaine, so Cindy goes behind the bar to help him out and they reminisce about the bar in Marbella. Ian acts funny with Cindy and she later learns that he knows about her and George’s kiss. Cindy speaks to Ian about this and he says that it’s fine if it was just a kiss. However, Kathy finds out and slaps Cindy in the streets, humiliating her in public - This damages Cindy’s bond with Gina and Anna. Junior steps up and supports Cindy and arranges a drink between her and the girls to make things right, however this doesn’t end well.

The following week, Ian and Cindy clash. after Anna is mugged - Cindy uses this to her advantage to get close to George. They have a fun night reminiscing at Phil’s and they start complimenting each other romantically. George calls Cindy gorgeous and she wishes it was just them again - this almost leads to another kiss between the two until George steps back and makes the right choice. Later on, she visits him again however George isn’t having it. Cindy confesses her ultimate love for him and how she wants him, and only him - stating that she doesn’t care about Ian. She tries to win him over though George forces her to stop and makes her leave. Junior supports an emotional Cindy and they later sleep together. They eventually meet up and agree it was a mistake, though Cindy labels Junior as a cheat and George overhears.

Junior splits up with his wife, Monique Knight, as a result of this and loses access to his son. Cindy and him rule their one night stand as a one-off which won’t happen again, though Cindy has a devious look on her face. Over the next coming weeks, she becomes suspicious when Ian is constantly ‘busy’ and ‘unavailable’ and constantly at meetings for the council - Cindy and Peter do some digging and discover that Ian is lying and covering for something. Cindy is then determined to discover the truth. That next week, Ian goes on his trip however Cindy confronts him over having an affair, Ian denies it and still leaves. Cindy is dissatisfied and drives to the location with George by her side, she storms in after confirming her suspicions and is surprisingly greeted by Jane Beale. Cindy is furious to meet Jane and goes against Ian, Jane reveals that the meet-ups were linked to Bobby’s 21st but Cindy remains agitated and storms out. Later on, Cindy, Ian and Jane begin to argue over the past, when Jane defends herself, Cindy aggressively slaps and insults her, branding her as ‘not normal’. When Jane reveals that Steven made her interfile, Cindy calms down and takes a moment to think. After, Cindy and Jane talk calmly but it later escalates when Jane expresses that she thinks Ian is lonely, Cindy takes offence to this and demands to leave. Unexpectedly, Ian refuses to take her and says he’s had enough of her.

The next morning, Cindy plans on leaving Ian behind. However, she speaks to Junior and he reminds her that her whole family is her and it'd be pointless to leave. Therefore, Cindy and Ian make up - despite Ian revealing he'd kissed Jane. Following up on this, Cindy is concerned for Peter when Junior chats with Lauren, so Cindy warns Junior to stay away. Later on, Ian prepares a big dinner for the Beale’s, but he later reveals that he’s got a synced calendar for him and Cindy so they both know where they are - Cindy disapproves of this and runs away, meeting up with Junior to drive away with him.

Kill count[]

Attempted murder victims[]

  1. Ian Beale (7 October 1996) (by proxy) - Hires a hitman called John Valecue to kill Ian, John shoots Ian but Ian survives.


To Nick Holland (when she gets arrested after being betrayed by Nick; final line in 1998): "The size of your wallet’s the only good thing you’ve got going for you, first thing I was gonna do was dump you, you know that?! No!" (10 April 1998)

To Louie Beale (when squirting Ian Beale with a water gun; first line returning after 25 years): "Well done!" (22 June 2023)

To Peter Beale (when discussing Peter’s injury; first line - permanent return): “Was it a warning from Jackie Ford’s people?!” (28 August 2023)

See also[]