Penny The Bay and Carol in EastEnders
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Lindsey Coulson as Penny in The Bay: How did Carol Jackson leave EastEnders?

She is famous for playing the Walford matriarch for 22 years

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Former EastEnders actress Lindsey Coulson who played Carol Jackson is back in The Bay is as put-upon Penny.

How did the actress’s character Carol depart Walford and why?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Lindsey Coulson plays Penny Armstrong in ITV1's The Bay
Actress Lindsey Coulson plays Penny Armstrong in The Bay and also starred in EastEnders as Carol Jackson (Credit: ITV)

Read more: The Bay returns with series 2: What’s it about and who is back?

Who is Lindsey Coulson?

Lindsey is a TV and stage actress with more than 30 years of experience.

Her most notable performance was as feisty Carol Jackson in the BBC soap EastEnders.

She won the 2000 British Soap Award for Best Dramatic Performance for the role.

Did you know? Lindsey was actually a hairdresser for six years, before studying acting at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Who does she play in The Bay?

Lindsey currently plays Penny, the mother of Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong in ITV drama The Bay.

She felt overburdened by how much Lisa relied on her for childcare in series one.

But, in series two, the dynamic has shifted the other way.

Lisa makes it clear she is not a fan of Lisa’s ex-husband, Andy, who arrives on the scene in series two.

Lindsey Coulson (Credit: EastEnders YouTube)
How did Carol Jackson leave EastEnders? (Credit: BBC One/YouTube)

Read more: EastEnders: Bernadette Taylor needs a romance storyline, say fans

How old is Lindsey?

Lindsey was born in June 1960 in Edmonton, London.

She is currently 60 years old.

Is she married?

Lindsey is married to second husband Harry Harris – the brother of Patsy Palmer, who plays her daughter Bianca in EastEnders.

They wed in 2002.

Her first husband was the showbusiness agent Philip Chard, who she married in 1989.

They divorced seven years later in 1996.

Lindsey Coulson and daughter Molly
Lindsey and daughter Molly attend the National Film Awards 2019 at Porchester Hall in London (Credit: Splash)

Does she have children?

Lindsey has daughter Molly from her marriage to Philip Chard.

She also has a younger daughter Grace from her marriage to Harry Harris.

How did Carol Jackson leave EastEnders?

Lindsey played Carol Jackson in EastEnders on and off between 1993 and 2015.

In June 2015, Lindsey announced her plans to leave the soap.

She said: “I’ve had a fantastic time playing the formidable Carol Jackson and although I’ll miss everything about EastEnders, I feel the time is right for me to move on.”

Her character left Walford in October 2015.

Viewers saw her making the decision to leave Walford after hearing that her brother Max would be in jail for 20 years after being convicted for the murder of Lucy Beale.

At first, it looked as though the Jackson matriarch was going to leave with Robbie and live in Milton Keynes with Bianca.

However, in true soap style, Carol shocked her family when they saw her dressed in leather and on a motorbike.

Her exit aired on October 2 2015, with Julia’s Theme being played as she rode on Jim’s motorbike down the market.

Carol was the tough mum of four kids – Bianca, Robbie, Sonia and Billie.

Some of her most memorable storylines included her breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, discovering her daughter Bianca’s affair with her partner Dan Sullivan, and the death of her youngest son Billie by alcohol poisoning.

Lisa Armstrong and her mum Penny in The Bay
Lisa Armstrong and her mum Penny in The Bay (Credit: ITV)

Will Carol Jackson return to EastEnders?

Sadly Lindsey has no wish to make a soap comeback.

Although she will always be grateful for the opportunities such a high profile part has afforded her, she intends to keep looking forward with her career.

She told the Daily Star: “If it wasn’t for that character I wouldn’t be doing anything else particularly.

“I had a wonderful time there and it’s a wonderful show.

“But people and time move on.

“As an actor, you want to keep going and playing different characters.”

Lindsey continued: “Carol had her time and there were some great storylines. But I don’t want to go back.”

What else has Lindsey been in?

Lindsey has appeared in many TV dramas including Clocking Off, Doctor Who, Casualty, Judge John Deed, Paradise Heights and New Tricks – among others.

She later starred in the 2004 TV film She’s Gone opposite Ray Winstone, and the 2005 TV film The Stepfather opposite Philip Glenister.

In 2006, Lindsey played Ann Peterson in the Jimmy McGovern drama The Street.

The Bay returns to ITV on Wednesday January 20 at 9pm. All episodes will be available on ITV hub and Britbox afterwards.

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