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EastEnders Wiki
EastEnders Wiki

Lydia Simmonds made her first appearance 5 April 2011. She was the maternal grandmother of Clare Butcher, Ricky Butcher, Diane Butcher and Janine Butcher. She is portrayed by Margaret Tyzack , and later Heather Chasen.


Lydia Simmons (unknown maiden name) was born in about 1924 in Walford. She married young and had her first child June in about 1941 followed by Norman in 1943. Lydia never wanted a son, Norman Simmonds, and doted on her daughter June. Although Lydia loved June, she hated the man her daughter was married to, Frank Butcher. When June died of cancer in 1987, Lydia grew old alone and lived a life of solitude.


Lydia is first seen when Janine visits her in hospital and realises that Lydia needs somewhere to stay. Lydia says she will sell her house and go into care, then sends Janine to her house to take photos, knowing that Janine will see how valuable the house is. Janine then invites Lydia to stay with her, and Lydia refuses, so Janine says that it is what Janine's mother and Lydia's daughter, June, would have wanted, so Lydia agrees. Although Janine believes she has manipulated Lydia, Lydia reveals to her nurse that she had in fact manipulated Janine.

Lydia moves in and receives a letter that Janine tries to look at. Lydia tells Janine that she knows she is only interested in her money and wants her dead, but says Janine will have a long wait. On the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton she attends Dot Branning's street party but insults her great-granddaughter Tiffany Butcher so Dot wheels her to The Queen Victoria where she watches the wedding. She is seated in front of the television, blocking everyone's view, so Winston wheels her out of the way, pulling the cable out of the television, which causes it to lose picture.

Lydia then manages to sell her house and so moves her belongings into Janine's flat and removes a canvas picture of Frank from Janine's living room. Janine disapproves but is forced to let her stay permanently. Later, Lydia patronises everyone including Pat Evans, Frank's mistress when he was still married to June. After moving in some furniture, Lydia struggles to stand, insisting she does not need help from Janine and slaps her when she tries to.

While Janine is out, Lydia tries to reach her pills but falls out of her wheelchair. Janine is shocked to find her on the floor when she returns, and then helps her up. Lydia is unable to have an operation and is just put on stronger medicine. Lydia tells Janine that she will be fine, but Janine finds out from doctor Yusef Khan that she is worse than she says. Lydia bonds with Tiffany whilst she and Janine are looking after her. Janine tells Lydia that she likes having her around and wants her to stay. However, she wakes up one night saying she has seen June.

She talks to Janine about her funeral and will, but Janine says she would rather have Lydia's photos of June than her money. Lydia asks to see the sun rise and hear the dawn chorus, and Janine opens the window for her. After this, Lydia quietly dies in her wheelchair and Janine is left in a state of shock. It's later revealed that Lydia altered her will before her death and left her entire estate to Janine. Lydia's son Norman Simmonds later warns that he is going to contest Lydia's will but later decides not to.

Memorable info[]

The name of Lydia's late husband was never revealed in the show. Only mention of him was when Lydia said she was giving birth to June under the table during an air raid and after the birth, the midwife said "You have a lovely new baby girl Mrs Simmonds". This implies her husband was away at war.


On 13 April 2011, it was announced that for personal reasons Margaret Tyzack had departed EastEnders and that her role had been recast to Heather Chasen as a result of the nature of the large storyline needing to continue.

List of appearances[]

Margaret Tyzack[]

  1. 5 April 2011
  2. 7 April 2011
  3. 14 April 2011

Heather Chasen[]

  1. 21 April 2011
  2. 25 April 2011
  3. 29 April 2011
  4. 5 May 2011
  5. 26 May 2011
  6. 27 May 2011
  7. 7 June 2011
  8. 9 June 2011
  9. 10 June 2011
  10. 13 June 2011
  11. 14 June 2011 (voice, uncredited)
  12. 28 June 2011 (voice, uncredited)