CHARLIE Brooks first played EastEnders supervillain, Janine Butcher, way back in 1999.
With the actress returning to the BBC One soap as part of a “huge story” later in 2021, we’ve got the lowdown on Charlie, and on some of Janine’s most dastardly deeds…
Who is Charlie Brooks?
Charlie Brooks (real name Charlene) was born in Ware, Hertfordshire, in 1989, before moving to Wales.
She left home to move to London when she was 13 and attended the Ravenscourt Theatre School.
Early on in her career, she appeared in The Bill, London's Burning and Jonathan Creek.
Charlie took over the role of Janine in 1999, after Alexia Demetriou left the show. She then took a break in 2004.
During her time away from EastEnders, she played killer nurse Beverley Allitt as well as appearing on the stage in the West End.
In 2008, Janine returned to the Square before leaving in 2014.
In 2012, Charlie won I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, she also released a fitness DVD and narrates Botched Up Bodies on Channel 5.
Her portrayal of evil Janine has seen her win numerous awards, including those for Villain of the Year, Best Exit, Best Bitch and Best Femme Fatale.
Charlie has one child, Kiki Brookes-Truman, born in 2004 from her relationship with former partner Tony Truman.
What are Janine Butcher's biggest storylines?
Janine's many dramas have involved, murder, prostitution, drug addiction and four marriages to name but a few.
- When she first bounced back on to the Square as an adult, Janine was taken in by Terry Raymond (father of the late Tiffany Mitchell played by Martine McCutcheon) and she used him for money, ruined his relationships and tried to seduce him. She eventually started using cocaine and when Terry refused to fund her any longer, had sex with her drug dealer causing Terry to leave Walford.
- Desperate Janine then resorted to prostitution to pay off her drug debts. One of her clients was Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Janine took the opportunity to blackmail him. When Ian's wife Laura (Hannah Waterman) eventually found out, she threw a pan of boiling milk in Janine's face. Janine became agoraphobic and was coaxed out of it by kind-hearted Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick), only for her to try to ruin his life too when he didn't want a relationship with her.
- Janine got a job at Barry Evans' (Shaun Williamson) car lot and set out to fleece Barry of his inheritance with the help of Paul Truman (Gary Beadle). She seduced him and, thinking he had a heart murmur and wouldn't live long, accepted his proposal of marriage. After their wedding in 2003 in Scotland, on discovering that Barry wasn't about to die, Janine pushed him off a cliff, killing him and inheriting all his money.
- Barry's death and the speed of his cremation raised suspicion with his friends, and eventually Paul implicated Janine to the police. Janine thought she had talked her way out of it, but couldn't resist boasting that she had got away with murder to ex step-mum Pat Butcher (Pam St Clement). Pat was also friends with Janine's arch enemy Laura. When Laura ended up dead at the bottom of the stairs after a fight in the Queen Vic, Janine was accused of her murder. Even though Janine didn't push her, because she'd had the fight and her DNA was under Laura's nails, Janine stood trial until eventually Pat told the truth and saved her.
- After a four year break following the trial, Janine returned to the Square for her father Frank's (Mike Reid) funeral. She was discovered attempting to fraudulently marry an elderly Jewish man for his money and Pat and Janine's brother Ricky (Sid Owen) interrupted the wedding, causing her groom to drop dead – which left Janine homeless and back in Walford.
- After making a few more enemies along the way, Janine joined forces with evil Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb) and they made a plan to ruin the Mitchell family.
- Janine, while sleeping with Archie, was also sleeping with Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott), and so following their engagement announcement on Christmas Day in 2009 and realising that she intended to con him too, Archie threw her out on the street.
- By coincidence, Archie Mitchell was murdered later that day and so Janine became No1 suspect. She tried to blame anyone and everyone for the crime before being eventually cleared.
- Janine and Ryan's relationship went well for a while and they married – but after discovering he had fathered Stacey Slater's (Lacey Turner) daughter, she attempted to kill him. He escaped and a desperate Janine stabbed herself in front of Stacey to try to frame her, causing Stacey to go on the run.
- In 2011 Janine managed to inherit the fortune of her and Ricky's wealthy grandmother and she set herself up as a businesswoman.
- She met her match in Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd) and became pregnant, marrying Michael and eventually giving birth to a daughter, Scarlett.
- Being EastEnders, it was never going to be a happy marriage and Janine believed that Michael was out to con her. A prolonged period of them trying to get the better of each other, using their daughter and her nanny Alice (Jasmyn Banks) as weapons ensued. Eventually, Janine killed Michael during a physical fight that Alice had intervened in. She convinced Alice that she was responsible for the fatal stab wound. Janine was eventually trapped into a recorded confession by her former step-brother David Wicks (Michael French). At last she was arrested and sent to prison for the murder.
- In 2014, Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) visited Janine in prison and agreed to give a false witness testimony against Alice in return for Janine dropping her statement against Stacey (therefore allowing Stacey to return to the Square).
- However, in an unusually honest turn of events , Janine did the right thing at Alice's trial, and confessed that Alice hadn't killed Michael. Her good deed was rewarded when both she and Alice were found not guilty of Michael's murder.
- Janine returned to Walford to try to make amends, before leaving to join her daughter Scarlett in Paris.
Is Janine Butcher returning to EastEnders?
Janine is set to return to the BBC soap as part of a “huge story” later this year, The Sun recently revealed.
An EastEnders source told The Sun: “Bosses have a huge story planned for Charlie’s return.
“They are keeping tight-lipped about whether Janine will come back as a reformed character after all the chaos she has caused in the past.
“But she certainly has a lot of history in Albert Square so whether she will be welcomed back with open arms or not remains to be seen.
“One thing the viewers can be sure about is that it is bound to be explosive. Wherever Janine goes, drama is never far behind.”
The source added: “The potential for Janine is huge.
“She has enemies all around the Square who she’d gladly go to war with, and she’s shown before she isn’t afraid to kill to get her way.
“It could have huge repercussions for some of the big names in EastEnders.
"She’s not going to come back and play nice.”
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