Sue Osman was one of the serial's original characters, appearing in its first episode on 19 February 1985 and departing on-screen in May 1989.
Created by Tony Holland and Julia Smith, Sue was portrayed as argumentative, insecure and tragic. A pivotal storyline in the character's narrative is the cot-death of her son, which was one of the show's first controversial plots.
During her four years on-screen, the character contends with a phantom pregnancy, marital breakdown and finally insanity.
Sue was portrayed as argumentative, insecure and tragic. A pivotal storyline in the character's narrative is the cot-death of her son, which was one of the show's first controversial plots. During her four years on-screen, the character contends with a phantom pregnancy, marital breakdown and finally insanity.
Born in about 1950, Sue was born to parents who had her reasonably late in life. She married in 1982 to Turkish Cypriot Ali Osman.
By February 1985, Sue is around 35 years of age and has been wed to Ali for 3 years. Sue is shown to be a woman who does not shy away from speaking her mind. She has various altercations, particularly with dowager Lou Beale, who accuses Sue of having no community spirit. Sue's suspicious, insecure nature also provokes arguments between her and Ali, whom she often accuses of cheating. She has rows with other female residents, including Kathy Beale, Angie Watts, Debbie Wilkins, Mary Smith and Michelle Fowler, whom she suspects are trying to seduce her husband, although in truth, all that ever occurs is flirtation.
In June 1985, tragedy strikes for the Osmans when Sue awakes to discover baby Hassan laying motionless in his cot. Sue and Ali rush his lifeless body to the local nurse, Andy O'Brien, but Hassan is already dead. A postmortem reveals no definitive causes for his death, so it is concluded that he died during his sleep from cot death.
Sue discovers Hassan dead and goes into a trance like state. Straight after discovering Hassan's body, Sue goes into shock. She remains in a trance like state for weeks, refusing to eat, sleep, cry or acknowledge her own grief. She later begins blaming herself unfairly for her son's sudden and unexplainable death. Her mental health continues to deteriorate and she becomes despondent towards Ali; their marriage disintegrates in a welter of depression. Sue eventually manages to come to terms with Hassan's death with the help of Dr Legg, who takes the desperate measure of placing Mary's baby, Annie, in her lap, allowing her, finally, to acknowledge her pent-up sadness.
Sue obsesses with the idea of having another child to replace Hassan, but no matter how hard she and Ali try, they cannot conceive. A phantom pregnancy in May 1986 leaves her heartbroken and she later tries to convince Michelle to relinquish care of her daughter Vicki to her, with Sue even accusing Michelle of being an unfit mother, thus culminating in Michelle slapping Sue.
In September 1986 Sue begins toying with the idea of adopting a Turkish child from Cyprus, which is met with indignation from Ali's family. She and Ali then decide to apply to adopt in the UK instead. They meet a social worker to assess their suitability; however, their application is eventually rejected because it is felt they are applying too quickly after the death of their child. Sue agonises over this and in 1987 she faces more turmoil after finding a lump on her breast; she fears she has breast cancer. After much worrying she is eventually persuaded to get the lump checked out and is subsequently given the all-clear.
Later in the year Sue grows attached to Ali's nephews and niece when they come to live with her in Walford, and is saddened when they move back home several months later. Still unable to conceive, Sue begins to crave a baby more than ever and Ali tires of her eternal broodiness. Sue decides she wants to move to the Isle of Dogs, thinking that the milder climate may increase her chances of conceiving. Ali refuses and in a fury Sue packs a suitcase and disappears without word. Ali believes she has left him, but Sue is only visiting an old school friend and she returns in October 1987 to announce that she is expecting another baby — having fallen pregnant before her departure.
In March 1988, she gives birth to another son, "Little Ali", who is delivered by Lofty Holloway and Pauline Fowler. Sue's desperation to be a good mother means that she often excludes her husband from parental duties. She becomes so obsessed with her baby's welfare that she has no time for Ali and during this time their relationship suffers. Feeling neglected and tired of his wife's nagging, Ali has sex with Donna Ludlow. However, Donna blackmails Ali, threatening to inform Sue about their tryst unless he provides her with regular monetary instalments. A fearful Ali pays, which manages to silence Donna for a while, but in March 1989 Sue argues with Donna, banning her from the café. In retaliation, Donna informs Sue about the affair. Upset, Sue turns to Ali's brother Mehmet for comfort and attempts to kiss an innocent Mehmet in front of Ali for revenge. Believing that Sue is having an affair with his brother, Ali assaults Mehmet then informs Mehmet's wife Guizin about the fabricated affair, causing the Osman family to fracture. Following threats from Ali, Sue takes their son and leaves Walford.
Ali spends months trying to track his estranged wife down. He eventually finds her visiting their dead son's grave. While she is distracted Ali snatches his son back and this ends up being the final straw for Sue's parlous emotional state. After Sue is separated from Little Ali, she has a mental breakdown. Despondent and unresponsive, she is sectioned and admitted to a psychiatric hospital's in-patient ward in May 1989. Later in the year, Kathy Beale visits Sue off-screen and brings news to Ali that Sue wants contact with their son, but he refuses to allow her access.
Sue was supposedly released from the psychiatric hospital and never returned to Albert Square, and has not been seen or heard from since Kathy visited her in late 1989.