EastEnders have hinted the Linda Carter is set to return imminently as husband Mick struggles to cope with financial ruin.
She’s been away from the Square since Christmas, having dashed off before the celebrations began when her mum, Elaine, had a stroke in Spain.
Medical bills, flights, not to mention son Lee Carter’s mounting debts, have all put serious strain on the family’s finances.
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Then the roof sprung a leak or three, and Aunt Babe got caught selling alcohol at breakfast time, resulting in a £10,000 fine.
Unable to pay it, Shirley Carter has ended up serving time to allow her family some breathing space.
But it doesn’t seem to be working. A birthday party booking that Mick thought would help him get back in the black was poached by Beales restaurant, and Mick’s St Patrick’s Day poster spelling mistake made him a laughing stock with the locals.
Fed up and at the end of his tether, Mick lost his temper when the till broke, picked it up and threw it over the bar.
Stunned punters didn’t know what to do, but in a rare moment of compassion Ian Beale followed his mate upstairs and told him he knew how he was feeling. He even offered to lend Mick his spare till. Generous (though even more generous would have been to give him back the birthday party booking – just saying.)
Mick wasn’t really interested in Ian’s words of wisdom, and when Mr Beale went home and told wife Jane what had happened, she realised something needed to be done.
Picking up her phone, she called Linda.
We heard L’s voice at the end of the line exclaiming: “This is a surprise!”
At which point Jane said: “I think you’d better come home. It’s Mick.”
The camera cut to a sobbing Mick, unable to cope with any more pressure.
Will Linda realise the severity of the situation, drop everything and return?
Linda’s absence is to cover for the fact actress Kellie Bright is on maternity leave after she gave birth to her second son, Gene, last year. She’s only been away from the show for a few months though.
With Danny Dyer due to head off for an extended break, will she just pop back to collect her man and leave the pub to Johnny and Whitney to run?
Or might she be making a full-time return and switch places with Mick – he goes to care for Elaine, while Linda sorts out the mess he’s made back home?
One way or another, Mick definitely needs someone to help him before it’s too late.