Shirley Carter returns to EastEnders at last as major character exposes Dean’s evil plot to her?

As Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) spirals out of control again in EastEnders, could this storyline spark the return of iconic character Shirley Carter (Linda Henry)?

Shirley was last seen in 2022. She chose to leave Walford after police told the Carter family Mick (Danny Dyer) had more than likely died after being swept out to sea.

At the start of last year, we were given an update on Shirley when Linda (Kellie Bright) discovered she had been spending time with not only her daughter Carly, but her rapist son Dean.

In October, when Dean returned to Albert Square, he revealed to Linda that Shirley had struggled with her mental health in the wake of Mick’s death.

Apart from the update a few months ago, we currently don’t know what Shirley is doing or where she’s living, but could that all change if Jean (Gillian Wright) gets in touch with her?

In the last few months, Jean has befriended Jade (Elizabeth Green). The young woman is the daughter of Shabnam and Dean, lives with cystic fibrosis, and is also Shirley’s granddaughter.

After learning that Jade planned to move to Pakistan with mum Shabnam once she had recovered from her chest infection, Dean began tampering with her antibiotics, leaving the pill cases empty so that they had no affect.

In more recent scenes, Dean accompanied Jade to her fundraiser in the Queen Vic, much to the horror of Linda, and confided in her that he wanted her to stay with him longer.

However, Jade was determined to move to make the move to Pakistan, and made it clear that nothing Dean said could make her stay with him.

Dean and Jean comfort Jade in the Vic in EastEnders
Will Jean work out what Dean is doing?  

Furious at being defied, Dean disconnected the tube from Jade’s oxygen tank, leaving her completely vulnerable. It didn’t take long for Jade to grow breathless, and Dean was instantly there to support her.

However, after a conversation with Linda, Jean decided it would be best if Dean left, and soon he was being wrestled out of the building by Johnny Carter and George Knight (Charlie Suff and Colin Salmon), despite his insistence that he needed to be there to care for his ailing daughter.

As Jade stood up to deliver her speech, Dean was forced to listen from outside, and he grew concerned as it became clear that Jade was struggling to breathe.

Things took a shocking turn when Jade collapsed, sending the crowd into a panic, with Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) rushing to find Dean.

As Dean came to Jade’s aid, he placed the blame for her condition on an upset Jean.

With Jean spending a lot of time with Jade, could she pick up on what Dean is doing and tell Shirl?

Regardless of whether she works out what Dean is up to, there’s every possibility she could contact his mum to highlight her concerns.

But will Shirley make her way back to Walford over the next few months?

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