EastEnders explains how Cindy Beale is still alive and it checks out

When Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) returned from the dead in Wednesday’s (June 21) iconic episode of EastEnders, many were left with one question: How?

25 years ago, Walford got the news that she had died in prison while giving birth.

Life has carried on since then, with ex-husband Ian (Adam Woodyatt) getting married again, two of Cindy’s children – Lucy and Steven – dying, and plenty of residents coming and going.

It was the arrival of George Knight (Colin Salmon) that kicked this storyline off, as the name ‘Rose’ started to get mentioned a lot.

Rose Knight is Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna’s (Molly Rainford) mum and seemingly walked out on the family years ago, failing to contact them ever since.

Last night, however, George discovered from Phil (Steve McFadden) that Rose doesn’t exist – because she is actually Cindy.

Yes, we still can’t get over it.

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Thursday’s (June 22) instalment of the BBC One soap had us feeling all the feels. Ian and Cindy were back on screen together, and soon enough, we learnt what really happened to Cindy and why her life has now changed so much.

Over in France, Cindy and Ian had seemingly created quite the perfect set up.

Joined by a returning Peter (Thomas Law) and his son, Louie, Cindy was happy as she watched Ian attempt to sell baguettes at his new stall.

It was there where Cindy broke the news to Ian that George had been in contact, but they were interrupted by Mary – a police handler.

Mary revealed that criminal Jackie Ford was now dead, which meant Cindy’s witness protection programme was finally over – she could go back to being her and not Rose.

It makes complete sense, doesn’t it?

The massive news came as a shock to Ian and Cindy as they tried to work out what to do next. Mary told Cindy that there was no rush, and it was important to not make any rash decisions, but all Ian could think about was going back home.

As Cindy said, she has a lot of enemies in Walford and has the small matter of George and her children to deal with as well, she definitely didn’t want to go back there.

Thinking about the future was put on hold when Ian had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. This led to Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) learning about Cindy being alive and wondering why Peter didn’t tell her.

It’s a lot to deal with, we’ll give her that.

Ultimately though, this storyline will lead to Cindy and Ian heading back to Albert Square and for Executive Producer Chris Clenshaw, he’s thrilled that this plot twist has been created so perfectly.

‘When we decided to bring Cindy back it was imperative that we stuck to the facts that had played out on screen beforehand to ensure that the storyline was credible,’ he said.

‘Back in 1998 viewers were left to believe that jailed Cindy had died off screen while giving birth to her namesake daughter who was then left in the custody of her sister Gina. But crucially neither we nor Ian ever saw the body.’

‘It was always going around in the back of my mind, it was always there,’ he mused, addressing the idea of Cindy’s comeback.

‘It wasn’t until one of our writers had pitched a different story, but it was the return of Cindy Beale, and everyone kind of gasped and everyone was behind that idea, which made me go – well maybe there is something in this.

‘These things can take a while to get from idea to screen and it’s a lot to align. I don’t know if it was always part of my plan but it was definitely in the background somewhere.’

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