Shirley Carter
Portrayed by Linda Henry
Introduced by Kate Harwood
Gender Female Female
First Appearance 5 December 2006
Duration 2006–
Address 23 Albert Square
Status Alive
Age 56
Date of Birth 17th June 1963
Occupation Landlady
Classification Present; regular
HusbandKevin Wicks (1980–89)
RomancesPhil Mitchell
Buster Briggs
SonsMick Carter
Jimbo Wicks
Dean Wicks
DaughtersCarly Wicks
FatherStan Carter
MotherSylvie Carter
GrandsonsLee Carter
Johnny Carter
Jimmy Wicks
Ollie Carter
GranddaughtersNancy Carter
Jade Green
SistersTina Carter
AuntsBabe Smith
NiecesZsa Zsa Carter

Shirley's tough. She lacks social graces, and if a fight kicks off, you want her on your side.


  • Likes: Drinking alcohol, socialising, Indian food and Heather
  • Dislikes: Dog racing and reading books
  • Music tastes: 80s
  • Weaknesses: Has bad cooking skills


When Shirley was six, Sylvie sent her down to the corner shop to get her cigarettes during the night. Sylvie gave Shirley a pat on the head and a penny to get some sweets. When Shirley came home, Sylvie left her sitting on the front doorstep in the pouring rain for 20 minutes, while she finished her bath.

When Shirley moved to Billingsgate, she met Buster Briggs who worked with her father (Stan Carter). "Buster was a laugh, he used to do wheelies up and down the street and share his chips with me".

When Shirley and Buster were first dating, they tried to keep it a secret. They thought they were doing a good job but Shirley's father Stan Carter knew. Buster went to see Shirley one night at her home, throwing some stones up at her window. When it opened, Stan popped his head out, then he threw out a bucket of fish guts and it landed all over Buster. Buster didn't give up after that, as he was in love with Shirley. "We started hanging around together and doing stuff, Shirley though she was putting on weight, my clothes were getting too tight".

Her mother Sylvie Carter barged into Shirley's bedroom and saw her stomach, she was four months pregnant and didn't even know. Sylvie later pushed her down the stairs to try and abort the baby. When this did not work, Sylvie Carter and Babe Smith decided to pass the baby off as Shirley's brother.

While Shirley was in labour, there was no pain relief in the caravan, and she thought she was going to die. As thunder and lighting raged outside, Babe Smith was doing her best holding Shirley, trying to calm her down. All the time, Shirley was screaming for her mother.

Her mother was off, flirting with a bouncer from the Black Country. When Mick was born, Sylvie came back and Shirley was hoping for kind words or a cuddle. Shirley's mum told her to forget she ever had a son. After he was brought home, Mick was raised as Shirley and Tina's brother. At some point when Mick and Linda were young and in love, Shirley burnt down Linda's mother, Elaine Peacock’s pub.

Shirley did what her mum said and blanked it out. She then met Kevin Wicks, who made her laugh.

When Shirley gave birth to Jimbo Wicks, it was like a second chance, until he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. The doctors used to strap Jimbo to a board, almost upside down to try and clear his lungs. He'd be coughing, going red. It was like torture. Shirley went with him a couple of times, but just couldn't cope. Shirley blamed herself for Jimbo's condition.

After Kevin Wicks died, Shirley found a lump on her breast, she had a biopsy and she could not bring herself to go back for the result for a few months. She later went for the results and it turned out not to be cancer.


Shirley was the first Carter to come into EastEnders; she arrived with her friend Heather Trott, who was murdered by Phil Mitchell's son Ben Mitchell.

As Shirley and Andrew become obsessed with finding Heather's killer, Ben starts to become paranoid and so manipulates Phil into ending his relationship with Shirley. She decides to offer a cash reward for any information on Heather 's death, but is confronted by the leading investigator DS Luke Crisp, who tells her she is hindering the police investigation by creating false leads. Shirley then becomes drunk when Phil tells her that he never loved her, and passes out at the home of Phil 's enemy, Derek Branning . Derek implies for a time that they both had sex, but Shirley soon learns the truth that they did not. Shirley moves into the flat that Heather died in, and becomes a recluse, unable to move on from the death of her best friend. When she hears Phil drunkenly arguing with Ben , she talks to Phil in private and initially refuses to take Phil back but afterhe tells her that he loves her and will always put her first, she agrees to move back with him. Shirley discovers a birthday card Ben wrote to Heather and is reminded that it was Heather 's birthday.

Shirley walked out on Kevin, leaving him to rear the kids alone. Motherly love was something that didn't come naturally. But that doesn't mean she didn't care about her kids. It hurt her deeply when Deano and Carly rejected her and moved away. Luckily, Shirley had her best mate, Hev. She and Shirl were a Walford staple, and their rendition of Mel & Kim's Respectable at Hev's Hen Night has gone down in the Square's history. Unfortunately, Hev is history too. And Shirley is struggling without her best mate.

We'd say it's lucky that she had the support of her surrogate family, the Mitchells, if they didn't all have Heather 's blood on their hands (directly and indirectly). When Shirley found out about the Mitchells' betrayal, she was devastated - and Phil asking her to help cover up Ben 's dirty secret pushed her that bit too far. She left Phil and drank herself into a stupor, literally in the gutter. <p class="MsoNormal">A visit from estranged daughter Carly and her new grandson pulled Shirley back from the brink, and offered her a chance to escape The Square temporarily. But she came back, and after finding out that Phil has been secretly paying her rent because the council had cut her benefits, Shirley was furious and turned to blackmailing him. <p class="MsoNormal"> Phil 's money appeared to be just too tempting for Shirley again as she took the opportunity to steal it while Phil was in hospital following a car crash. But Shirley soon softened when seeing Phil in the hospital and vowed to help before jetting off to Greece. After a period when it appeared that Carl may have done away with Shirley for meddling in his affairs, it transpired that Carl had threatened Lola and Lexi - and Shirley scarpered to stay with her sister Tina to ensure that no harm would come to them. When Phil found out that Shirley had left to protect his family, he assured her that it was not safe to come back to Walford.

2014 looked set to be a good year for Shirley when she revealed on Boxing Day that it was actually her brother, Mick , who had purchased The Vic from Phil . However, when it was discovered that The Vic had a severe damp problem, the Carters’ stay looked to be a short one – unless they found a lot of money, and fast. <p class="MsoNormal">Knowing that they could borrow the money from their father, Mick , Tina and Shirley went to visit Stan in his flat. As Mick asked for the money, Stan spotted Shirley waiting by the car, and agreed to lend them the cash – but only if Shirley came and asked for it. Knowing she had to,Shirley entered the flat, and was soon haunted by past memories. Leaving with the cash, it was clear that Stan had hit a nerve with her. Returning to The Vic,Shirley revealed that Stan had given her the money – and if Mick and Linda wanted it, they would need to add her name above the door! Unexpectedly though, Linda agreed, leaving Shirley overjoyed!


After the Willmott-Brown's served the Carters with an eviction notice, Mick calls James in for a word in the Queen Victoria. The Carters tell him they want the money they paid Weyland&Co back. Johnny tells him he won't have a leg to stand on if it goes to court. James tells him his legal team have been working overtime to figure out why some of the signatures on the Weyland&Co documents differ, and says it suggests forgery.

A few weeks later, after Lauren and Abi Branning fell from the roof of the Queen Victoria, Karen, Sharon, Linda, Shirley and Tina can be seen in the stairwell laughing as Mick walks in. He appears angry, and asks if they heard the sirens. Mick tells them that he better make an announcement. He proclaims that there has been an accident, as the police and Keegan Baker walk in.


Kathy Beale | Sharon Mitchell | Ian Beale | Dot Branning | Martin Fowler | Phil Mitchell | Sonia Fowler | Robbie Jackson | Mel Owen | Billy Mitchell | Kat Moon | Mo Harris | Bex Fowler | Patrick Trueman | Louise Mitchell | Alfie Moon | Stacey Fowler | Jean Slater | Ruby Allen | Honey Mitchell | Denise Fox | Max Branning | Janet Mitchell | Shirley Carter | Jay Brown | Rainie Branning | Jack Branning | Will Mitchell | Whitney Dean | Tiffany Butcher | Amy Mitchell | Kim Fox-Hubbard | Lily Fowler | Ricky Mitchell | Tommy Moon | Dennis Rickman | Tina Carter | Linda Carter | Mick Carter | Bert Moon | Ernie Moon | Kush Kazemi | Pearl Fox-Hubbard | Ollie Carter | Arthur Fowler | Keegan Baker | Ted Murray | Karen Taylor | Keanu Taylor | Bernadette Taylor | Chatham Taylor | Riley Taylor | Hope Fowler | Abi Branning | Arshad Ahmed | Mariam Ahmed | Callum "Halfway" Highway | Hayley Slater | Mitch Baker | Stuart Highway | Adam Bateman | Cherry Slater | Evie Steele | Mica Fox-Hubbard | Bailey Baker | Habiba Ahmed | Iqra Ahmed
Helen | Jo | Marie Evans | Sarah | Shrimp | Tracey | Winston 
Characters (Selected)
Peggy Mitchell | Kat Moon | Alfie Moon | Sean Slater | Ryan Malloy | Jean Slater | Charlie Slater | Danny Pennant | Zainab Khan | Andrew Cotton | Yvonne Cotton | Glenda Mitchell | Carol Jackson | Charlie Cotton | Cindy Williams Jnr | Liam Butcher | Lola Pearce | Arthur Chubb (Fatboy) | Shabnam Kazemi | Cora Cross | Lee Carter | Babe Smith | Pam Coker | Les Coker | Claudette Hubbard | Preston Cooper
Characters (Selected)
Pat Evans | Stan Carter | Archie Mitchell | Nana Moon | Lou Beale | Tiffany Mitchell | Lucy Beale | Nick Cotton | Carl White | Bradley Branning | Pauline Fowler | Arthur Chubb (Fatboy) | Ronnie Mitchell  | Roxy Mitchell   | Sylvie Carter  | Paul Coker
Actors Danny Dyer | Shane Richie | Adam Woodyatt | Steve McFadden | Mike Reid | Thomas Law | Neil McDermott | Charlie Clements | John Bardon | John Altman | Peter Dean | Perry Fenwick
Actresses Barbara Windsor | Laurie Brett | Lacey Turner | Anita Dobson | Jacqueline Jossa | Rita Simons | Samantha Womack | Tameka Empson | Wendy Richard | Anna Karen
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