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Francis Aloysius "Frank" Butcher was the son of George 'Chike' and Mo Butcher. He was the father of Ricky, Janine, Diane, Clare and Danny, and the grandfather of Liam, Natasha, Tiffany, Jacques and Scarlett.

Backstory[]

Francis Aloysius Butcher was born on the 27th March 1940 to George Butcher and Mo Butcher (unknown maiden surname). George was known as "Chike". Frank grew up in the East End and as a young man started out as a used-car salesman.

He met fellow Londoner Pat Harris at Butlins in Clacton in 1958 and, despite being on holiday with his girlfriend June Simmonds, he was attracted to Pat. They had an affair but June became pregnant, so he married her and broke Pat's heart. Frank and Pat met up from time to time and on each occasion the affair was rekindled, but Frank wouldn't leave June.

Frank and June had four children: Clare Butcher in 1959Ricky Butcher in 1973Diane Butcher in 1974, and Janine Butcher in 1983. June had one other pregnancy in 1972 that ended in miscarriage at 12 weeks. June died of cancer in 1987, leaving Frank widowed and their children motherless.

Storylines[]

1987-1992: Arrival and marriage to Pat Butcher[]

In September 1987, Frank contacts Pat and they meet in Greenwich. Frank wants to reignite their romance and asks her to be the mother of his children but she refuses. Frank propositions Pat again in January 1988. Pat is still resistant but when Frank reappears in March, he finally convinces her to reunite. They take over tenancy at The Queen Victoria public house soon afterwards, and the following year Frank also opens a car lot on the Square. Frank and Pat marry in June 1989 in true cockney style with Pat becoming stepmother to Ricky, Diane and 5-year-old Janine, who hates her.

Troubled by family upsets, Frank is devastated in 1990 when his mother Mo Butcher develops dementia. Her deterioration is rapid. In a lucid moment, she writes Frank a letter asking him not to let her end up like her grandmother, who had gone senile, saying she would rather die than suffer the same fate. Frank is torn, but attempts to adhere to his mother's wish by almost smothering her with a pillow while she sleeps. However, he cannot go through with it and instead sends Mo to live with his sister Joan Garwood in Colchester.

In 1992, Frank helped Pete Beale, Ian Beale, and Big Ron into banishing rapist James Willmott-Brown from the area. Later In the year, he receives a huge tax demand, swiftly followed by a large VAT bill. This forces him to sell his B&B and the adjoining house and move his family into a small flat. Pat establishes her own cab firm, PatCabs, which starts making them some money. However, on Christmas Eve that year, Pat runs over and kills a teenage girl and is later sentenced to six months in prison.

1993-1998: Divorce from Pat and relationship with Peggy Mitchell[]

Frank struggles alone and the Butchers end 1993 in financial ruin. In desperation, Frank asks Phil Mitchell to set fire to his car lot so he can claim on insurance in March 1994. The car lot catches fire as agreed, but unknown to Phil and Frank, a homeless man is sleeping in one of the cars and burns to death. Frank is arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, but is later released due to lack of evidence. However, doubts remain as to whether he conspired to defraud his insurance company and an investigation takes place. Frank tries covering his tracks by claiming his accounts have burnt but Pat gives the business's books to the investigating agent. The pressure becomes too much for Frank, who is suffering severe guilt over the death of the homeless man. He becomes so depressed and despondent, no one can get through to him. Unable to cope, Frank leaves Walford and his family without warning in April 1994, and does not contact them to say where he is.

With no news of Frank, Pat is forced to get on with her life. She begins a romance with another car dealer, Roy Evans, in 1995 and by November, they are living together. When Pat receives a letter from a psychiatric hospital saying that Frank has recovered from a breakdown and wants to reunite, she tears up the letter.

On Christmas Day 1995, Frank arrives unannounced and is furious to discover that Pat is living with Roy. Frank declares he wants his house, business, and children back and refuses to leave Walford. Pat's son David Wicks contacts his lawyers and is relieved to discover that Frank has no claim on the car lot, however, Ricky gives his share of the business to Frank who then threatens to sell Pat's house. Roy tries scaring Frank away via various underhanded tricks. In a moment of remorse, Frank threatens to confess his involvement in the arson attack to the police. Pat attempts to make him reconsider and this leads to them having sex. Pat regrets her actions but Frank takes great pleasure in telling Roy. Furious, Roy threatens to leave Pat. To stop him, she claims that Frank is lying. She convinces Frank that she doesn't love him. Defeated, he leaves Walford in March 1996 and moves to Manchester.

He returns briefly in April 1997 for Ricky's wedding to Bianca Jackson and again in December to console Ricky following the loss of his child. On another visit in May 1998, he becomes attracted to landlady Peggy Mitchell and they soon begin a relationship. Peggy asks Frank to move in with her at the Vic and they soon announce their engagement. Roy remains jealous of Frank, believing Pat has feelings for her ex-husband. When Pat turns to Frank following an argument with Roy and is seen leaving his flat, Roy and Peggy believe that Frank and Pat are having an affair. Peggy calls off her engagement and Roy speeds off in his car on a suicide bid but Frank manages to convince him that his relationship with Pat is now platonic. He and Roy bond, leading Frank to admit he got a young woman called Gemma pregnant after first moving to Manchester, and had a young son, Danny Butcher, who was born in 1995.

1999-2002: Marrying Peggy and faking his death[]

Peggy marries Frank in April 1999, despite opposition from her son Grant Mitchell, who cannot forgive Frank for accidentally hitting and killing his wife Tiffany Mitchell in a motor accident months earlier. Frank runs the Vic with Peggy but in 2000 he starts to realise he is unhappy as he still loves Pat. While the two couples holiday in Spain that summer, Pat and Frank have sex. Their affair continues for several months and they eventually decide to elope to Manchester. They are due to leave on Bonfire Night but Pat has second thoughts. It is too late however, as Peggy has already got Frank's letter of confession. Peggy shames Frank and Pat by reading the letter aloud in public, ending by slapping both Frank and Pat and then ejecting Frank. When Frank leaves Walford, Pat chases after him, shouting his name, but he doesn't hear and drives away, leaving her sobbing in the rain.

In January 2002, Peggy receives news Frank has died in a car crash in Spain and travels there for his funeral, where she's stunned to see him in attendance. Several irate conversations reveal that Frank has faked his death to con expatriates in a property scam with his new girlfriend, Krystal Cummings. Krystal in turn cons Frank, running off with his money. Despite his past actions, Peggy takes pity and gives Frank money but turns down the opportunity of resuming a relationship with him.

2005-2008: Reunion with Pat, death and funeral[]

In December 2005, when Pat is due to give evidence at the trial of Janine, who has been wrongly accused of murdering Laura Beale, Frank tries to get Pat to change her testimony. Pat and Frank have sex but she is angry when she realises that Frank is using their relationship to manipulate her. Nevertheless, after some contemplation, Pat changes her testimony. She and Frank say an emotional farewell with Frank commenting that he will always love her. Frank tries to reunite with Janine outside the court but is saddened to discover she had already fled without him and was only using him to secure her release.

On 31 March 2008, Diane and Ricky reveal that Frank has died at Diane's home in France of throat cancer. His body is brought to Walford to be cremated. Following the funeral, Frank's ashes are scattered in Albert Square's flowerbeds. A heartbroken Pat orders a commemorative plaque dedicated to Frank and has it mounted in Albert Square, it reads "Frank Butcher 1940-2008, Husband, Father, Pilchard".

Kill count[]

Murders/manslaughter victims[]

  1. Alan Hall (8 March 1994) (unintentionally instigated) - While he never killed the car lot vagrant, He played a part in his death. He paid Phil Mitchell to set fire the car lot as part of an insurance claim. Phil finally relented and torched the car lot, Naturally not expecting a vagrant to be asleep in one of the cars. Phil and Frank were very grief stricken.
  2. Tiffany Mitchell (31 December 1998) (manslaughter) - Accidentally ran her over whist driving his car.

Background information[]

  • Frank remains one of EastEnders best-loved characters and many associate him with a 'golden era of the square'.
  • The character of Frank was introduced to the series in September 1987, when he met up with former girlfriend Pat Wicks (Pam St. Clement). Although it couldn't have been predicted at the time, Frank was perhaps the most important introduction to the series that year, as the popularity of his appearance led to him playing a far greater role the following year. Frank was played by Mike Reid, who was already an established comedian and well known to the British audience. The casting of a comedian in a dramatic role was highly controversial at the time, but over the years the wisdom of that decision was proved, as Frank became one of the show's most popular and iconic characters. His successful casting set a precedent in British soap, and subsequently, many established comedians and comic actors have gone on to play substantial roles in several notable soap operas, including Barbara Windsor, Bradley Walsh, Shane RichieBobby Davro and Les Dennis, among others.
  • Following Anita Dobson's (Angie) and Leslie Grantham's (Den) decisions to quit the show in 1988, Frank was reintroduced as a full-time character and installed as the new landlord of The Queen Vic, which he ran with his future wife, Pat, before opening a used car-lot on the Square. Although extremely different from their predecessors, Frank and Pat were also a live-wire couple whose relationship proved popular with the audience. Their wedding in 1989 is deemed as one of the year's highlights. Penned by new EastEnders writer Tony Jordan, Frank and Pat celebrated their big day in true East End style with a street party organised by Frank's mother, Mo (Edna Doré). Although planned for a summer's day, the lot material filmed on Albert Square was recorded in the middle of gale-force winds. The episode was scripted to portray a strong sense of community spirit and a feel-good theme, as up until that year EastEnders had come under attack by critics who suggested the show had become too depressing. Some 11.9 million viewers tuned in to see Frank and Pat finally tie the knot.

See also[]

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