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Shirley Carter was being pushed around in EastEnders





By Jim Shelley for MailOnline

Published: 18:06 EDT, 17 March 2017 | Updated: 21:37 EDT, 17 March 2017

EastEnders commendably continued to address the important, decidedly contemporary, issue of bullying.

We’d become accustomed to Albert Square’s schoolchildren or innocent victims of gay-bashing being persecuted. But now this blight on our society was so bad, and brutal, even Shirley Carter was being bullied. A pretty terrifying conclusion in anyone’s book...Even more terrifying than Shirley herself.

The ongoing abuse being endured by Rebecca Fowler in the lawless hellhole that was Walford High School was unpleasant enough. But at least it was impressively/ horribly convincingly portrayed – ‘standard’ probably for any schoolchildren, parents, and teachers watching.

Scary times: We’d become accustomed to Albert Square’s schoolchildren or innocent victims of gay-bashing being persecuted. But now this blight on our society was so bad, and brutal, even Shirley Carter was being bullied Scary times: We’d become accustomed to Albert Square’s schoolchildren or innocent victims of gay-bashing being persecuted. But now this blight on our society was so bad, and brutal, even Shirley Carter was being bullied

Scary times: We’d become accustomed to Albert Square’s schoolchildren or innocent victims of gay-bashing being persecuted. But now this blight on our society was so bad, and brutal, even Shirley Carter was being bullied

Shirley Carter’s ordeal was another matter. Shirl was currently ‘away’, ‘inside’, or ‘doing bird’ as they say in The Vic – or ‘in prison’ to put it more simply.

Billy Mitchell and his missus ‘Unny weren’t the only ones to express surprise that Shirley’s three-month sentence for Perverting The Course of Justice and Impersonating A Terrahawk was apparently her first stretch. 

Like the rest of us they could have sworn they had seen her running the wing in Bad Girls, plus they had seen her in action – or Shirley’s version of ‘action’, habitually snarling at even the few people she liked, usually in between glugs of vodka, glaring with a face that looked like a Cockney peroxide Medusa chipped out of a concrete breeze block.

‘I’ve been to worse ‘oliday camps than this,’ she had insisted to her son (Danny Dyer) during his visit in Tuesday’s episode. She pointed out that being in prison provided her with showers, a telly, and ‘three decent meals a day’, which was more than she used to get at home with Aunt Babe’s cooking.

Shrugging it off:  ‘I’ve been to worse ‘oliday camps than this,’ she had insisted to her son (Danny Dyer) during his visit in Tuesday’s episode Shrugging it off:  ‘I’ve been to worse ‘oliday camps than this,’ she had insisted to her son (Danny Dyer) during his visit in Tuesday’s episode

Shrugging it off:  ‘I’ve been to worse ‘oliday camps than this,’ she had insisted to her son (Danny Dyer) during his visit in Tuesday’s episode

Oblivious: Shirley’s cell-mate - a young, evidently unhinged, veteran of being banged up (as it were) named Debbie – seemed bizarrely oblivious to how scary Shirley was Oblivious: Shirley’s cell-mate - a young, evidently unhinged, veteran of being banged up (as it were) named Debbie – seemed bizarrely oblivious to how scary Shirley was

Oblivious: Shirley’s cell-mate - a young, evidently unhinged, veteran of being banged up (as it were) named Debbie – seemed bizarrely oblivious to how scary Shirley was

The reality, we were asked to believe, was different, albeit not very realistic/believable.

Shirley’s cell-mate - a young, evidently unhinged, veteran of being banged up (as it were) named Debbie – seemed bizarrely oblivious to how scary Shirley was.

‘Bit toytown isn’t it?’ Debbie mocked when she discovered Shirley was in jail for selling alcohol outside the Licensing Laws (i.e. for breakfast). ‘There’s me thinking you’re some kind of hard nut. It turns out I’m sharing a cell with Minnie Mouse!’

No one had ever called Shirley that before. Not even Phil when he was on crack.

Confrontation: Things didn’t go well for Bex this week either, even when the teenager did what everyone always tells people in her (unfortunate, unhappy) position to do – namely stand up to the bullies and identify them Confrontation: Things didn’t go well for Bex this week either, even when the teenager did what everyone always tells people in her (unfortunate, unhappy) position to do – namely stand up to the bullies and identify them

Confrontation: Things didn’t go well for Bex this week either, even when the teenager did what everyone always tells people in her (unfortunate, unhappy) position to do – namely stand up to the bullies and identify them

Campaign of hate: Viewers saw the character attacked by fellow students Alexandra and Madison in the school toilets  Campaign of hate: Viewers saw the character attacked by fellow students Alexandra and Madison in the school toilets 

Campaign of hate: Viewers saw the character attacked by fellow students Alexandra and Madison in the school toilets 

Cowards: Her bullies daubed the word ‘DIRTY’ on her forehead in marker pen Cowards: Her bullies daubed the word ‘DIRTY’ on her forehead in marker pen

Cowards: Her bullies daubed the word ‘DIRTY’ on her forehead in marker pen

‘I don’t want to make any enemies,’ she told Debbie, uncharacteristically meekly.

‘It’s a bit late for that!’ her tormentor sang.

Things didn’t go well for Bex this week either, even when the teenager did what everyone always tells people in her (unfortunate, unhappy) position to do – namely stand up to the bullies and identify them (i.e. grass).

‘You feel no one’s on your side but we all are,’ her father Martin assured her. ‘Your family are and your mates are.’

Terrified: Bex was left cowering in the corner of a toilet cubicle following her ordeal  Terrified: Bex was left cowering in the corner of a toilet cubicle following her ordeal 

Terrified: Bex was left cowering in the corner of a toilet cubicle following her ordeal 

In fact Rebecca only had one mate (Louise Mitchell) and she wasn’t on her side. On the contrary…Louise had been complicit with the campaign of teasing, intimidation, and sick cyber-bullying against Bex orchestrated by their fellow students Alexandra and Madison.

Now Louise did nothing as they beat Bex up - standing outside the Girls toilets listening to her screams as the bullies daubed the word ‘DIRTY’ on her forehead in marker pen.

‘If what we’re being told is true you are mixing with some seriously nasty individuals,’ the head teacher Mrs Lund warned Louise the day after. ‘Girls who could be leading you down a very dangerous path.’

Some friend: Bex only had one mate (Louise Mitchell) and she wasn’t on her side. On the contrary…Louise had been complicit with the campaign of teasing, intimidation, and sick cyber-bullying against her Some friend: Bex only had one mate (Louise Mitchell) and she wasn’t on her side. On the contrary…Louise had been complicit with the campaign of teasing, intimidation, and sick cyber-bullying against her

Some friend: Bex only had one mate (Louise Mitchell) and she wasn’t on her side. On the contrary…Louise had been complicit with the campaign of teasing, intimidation, and sick cyber-bullying against her

Keeping her distance: Louise did nothing as they beat Bex up - standing outside the Girls toilets listening to her screams Keeping her distance: Louise did nothing as they beat Bex up - standing outside the Girls toilets listening to her screams

Keeping her distance: Louise did nothing as they beat Bex up - standing outside the Girls toilets listening to her screams

If this speech was supposed to encourage Louise to inform on the bullies, unsurprisingly it reminded her precisely why she shouldn’t.

‘They’re cowards and they won’t win,’ the head told Bex, even though they had won when she questioned them and failed to force them to confess. ‘Maybe now that they know the school is on to them, maybe this is what they needed. Maybe this is a wake up call. Maybe now they’ll back off.’

As Rebecca said: 'It sounds like a lot of maybes.’

Elsewhere the long-awaited appearance of Linda Carter back at The Vic served as a reminder of EastEnders’ previous bullying storyline – about her son Lee.

Friendly advice: ‘If what we’re being told is true you are mixing with some seriously nasty individuals,’ the head teacher Mrs Lund warned Louise the day after. ‘Girls who could be leading you down a very dangerous path' Friendly advice: ‘If what we’re being told is true you are mixing with some seriously nasty individuals,’ the head teacher Mrs Lund warned Louise the day after. ‘Girls who could be leading you down a very dangerous path'

Friendly advice: ‘If what we’re being told is true you are mixing with some seriously nasty individuals,’ the head teacher Mrs Lund warned Louise the day after. ‘Girls who could be leading you down a very dangerous path'

Not helpful: If this speech was supposed to encourage Louise to inform on the bullies, unsurprisingly it reminded her precisely why she shouldn’t Not helpful: If this speech was supposed to encourage Louise to inform on the bullies, unsurprisingly it reminded her precisely why she shouldn’t

Not helpful: If this speech was supposed to encourage Louise to inform on the bullies, unsurprisingly it reminded her precisely why she shouldn’t

After several weeks encompassing various disasters Linda had finally been phoned and informed about them by Jane Beale.

‘I think you better come home,’ she told L. ‘It’s Danny Dyer. He’s cracking up.’

He was too. He was lying on the marital bed, hugging a pillow, crying like a baby. No way for a proper geezer to behave at all.

‘What were you thinking?!’ Linda demanded when she found out about all the problems he’d kept from her – a question we’d been asking ourselves for weeks. She’d only been living in Watford. 

The list was quite a long one: Lee’s lies about his job, Lee’s debts, Lee arranging the robbery, Lee hitting Whitney, Lee leaving to live in Dover with a bloke called Beanbag, the family taking on his debts, being nicked trying to re-pay them, Shirley going to prison as a result.

Here we go: There was still more bullying too, of a kind. The way the Carters treated Sylvie (who was suffering from alternate attacks of Alzheimer’s and over-acting) was criminal, probably literally Here we go: There was still more bullying too, of a kind. The way the Carters treated Sylvie (who was suffering from alternate attacks of Alzheimer’s and over-acting) was criminal, probably literally

Here we go: There was still more bullying too, of a kind. The way the Carters treated Sylvie (who was suffering from alternate attacks of Alzheimer’s and over-acting) was criminal, probably literally

Thank God: When Tina belatedly phoned about putting Sylvie in a care home thankfully a happy ending was in sight – for her and for us Thank God: When Tina belatedly phoned about putting Sylvie in a care home thankfully a happy ending was in sight – for her and for us

Thank God: When Tina belatedly phoned about putting Sylvie in a care home thankfully a happy ending was in sight – for her and for us

And for some reason there was still a hole in the roof. Linda didn’t ask why, if they were in such financial trouble, her husband hadn’t sold his jeep.

Instead, sensibly, she legged it back to Watford.

There was still more bullying too, of a kind. The way the Carters treated Sylvie (who was suffering from alternate attacks of Alzheimer’s and over-acting) was criminal, probably literally.

Shirley had dosed her muvver up on sleeping pills and Tina left the old girl on her own all day so that she could do her shifts in the caff making fry-ups. Even when Sylvie had a crisis or attacked someone, taking her to the doctors seemed out of the question.

So much for the sacred ancient East End tradition of ‘faaaaamily.’

Light relief: At least the final sub—plot to do with bullying was relatively harmless. This involved Sharon’s monstrous son Denny using Michelle Fowler’s affair with Preston to blackmail her to procure trainers, days off school, and pizza Light relief: At least the final sub—plot to do with bullying was relatively harmless. This involved Sharon’s monstrous son Denny using Michelle Fowler’s affair with Preston to blackmail her to procure trainers, days off school, and pizza

Light relief: At least the final sub—plot to do with bullying was relatively harmless. This involved Sharon’s monstrous son Denny using Michelle Fowler’s affair with Preston to blackmail her to procure trainers, days off school, and pizza

When Tina belatedly phoned about putting her in a care home thankfully a happy ending was in sight – for her and for us.

At least the final sub—plot to do with bullying was relatively harmless. This involved Sharon’s monstrous son Denny using Michelle Fowler’s affair with Preston to blackmail her to procure trainers, days off school, and pizza.

Choosing who we wanted to win most (or least) between Denny and Michelle wasn’t easy.

Denny has always been a nasty little brat and since she returned to the Square/the series having had a head transplant Michelle had been almost impressively unlikable.

If nothing else the notion of Michelle the paedophile (in the state of Florida anyway) being bullied by a child was enjoyably ironic. 

Fitting: If nothing else the notion of Michelle the paedophile (in the state of Florida anyway) being bullied by a child was enjoyably ironic Fitting: If nothing else the notion of Michelle the paedophile (in the state of Florida anyway) being bullied by a child was enjoyably ironic

Fitting: If nothing else the notion of Michelle the paedophile (in the state of Florida anyway) being bullied by a child was enjoyably ironic

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
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