1987 Jean Slater to Amy Mitchell: Sean loved 'The Fraggles' when he was your age [three], singing with those red things, Doozers. Tina Carter: Ever since I’ve been old enough, I’ve always bought Mick some [souvenir] Churchill tat for his birthday. Stupid, I know, but it’s just our thing. Alice Branning on her father Derek: When I was a kid, my mum told me that every year on his birthday, he’d come downstairs with this routine. He’d sing this rhyme and then he’d open up the pickled herring. He’d never have a birthday without it. My mum told me that to do him down, but I thought it was sweet. Max Branning on Derek: “Another year quicker, another year smarter” — a little rhyme he used to come out with [on his birthday]. Proper wind up, he was. Max, quoting Derek's rhyme: “Another year quicker, another year smarter. Another year better looking ...” Alice: “... and that’s just for starters.” Jack: “Inside or out, there’ll be plenty more ...” Alice: “I’ll be singing this song till I’m two hundred and four.” I never got that line — “inside or out”? Jack: He was talking about prison. Derek Branning on his son Joey: I was there when he was born. Janine Butcher to Joey: You really weren’t at the front of the queue when they dished out the brains, were you? Derek: The night you were born, I downed two bottles of top drawer single malt. I was so so proud that night, so happy. Joey Branning: And when did that wear off — next day, with the hangover? Derek: No. It never wore off. It’s just life took over. Joey: Got banged up. Derek: Got distracted. Max on Derek: He was little more than a kid when he had you, Joey. Derek: If things had’ve been different, I could have been a very good dad. Denise Fox: When I was eighteen, I had a one year old daughter. Denise to Dexter Hartman: At your age [eighteen], I had three albums and a handful of cassettes. Masood Ahmed on turning twenty-nine: Things started coming together for me round about then — my career, my marriage. Lorraine Wicks to her son Joe: When you were little, I used to come into the bedroom and you'd be hiding under the covers. Joe Wicks to Karen: Remember as kids in the old flat, we had the bunk beds, didn't we? And I used to read "Desperate Dan" out loud with a torch underneath the bedclothes. You used to make me do all those funny voices, remember? Only you could do them better than me. You still made me do them, though. Remember that time you said there were pixies in the patterns of the wallpaper? I said, "Don't be daft. There are no pixies in the wallpaper — but there's a monster who lives in the wardrobe." And you got really scared, so scared that I got scared. It was a really windy night and there was noise coming down the chimney. You said it was the monster. By then I'd started to believe it too. You started crying so I started crying. We called out for Mum and Dad because we were too scared to get out of bed. We called and called, but no-one ever came. In the end, I got out of my bed and into yours and we just cuddled all night. The next morning, you said, "How daft. There were never any monsters." Joe to David and Lorraine: You weren't there for us, neither of you. We called and called and you never came. Little Mo: Dreams was ever so real, weren't they? I heard the lion in the airing cupboard, but it weren't really there, was it? Charlie Slater to Little Mo: You used to come with me to get fish and chips. Lynne Slater: Do you remember when Mum started those fish and chip nights? It didn't last long because she used to say, "No TV!" and we'd sneak off all the time wouldn't we, eh? Pam Coker: Do you remember the swimming club? We had to pick up Laurie late every Tuesday so we got fish and chips and ate them in the park. Les Coker: Yes, it was a good summer. Pam: And he always asked for extra vinegar. His chips were drowning. Charlie: It always was the only time I got any quiet — fish and chips night. Kat Slater to Zoe: You was only a baby. You used to sit on my lap to eat yours. Kat to Zoe: I remember one day, you couldn't have been more than three, we was making daisy chains and you wanted to play a game where I pretended to be the mum. You even called me Mummy. I don't think I've ever been that happy. Lynne to Zoe: It used to break [Kat's] heart whenever she saw you unhappy. All she ever wanted to do was to put her arms round you and cuddle you. Zoe Slater: She was so cold sometimes. Lynne: That's just her way, isn't it? Don't let anyone in. That way she can't get hurt. Zoe: Except blokes. Lynne: No. All she ever did was what people expected of her. I watched her over the years. The more people disapproved, the shorter her skirts got. She was like, "OK, if that's what you think I am, that's what I'll be." But I tell you something, Zoe. She was always there for you whether you knew it or not. Zoe to Kat: You were staying out all night at [seventeen], getting up to all sorts. Big Mo, speaking in 2006: As if I ain’t going notice a seventeen year old stopping out all night. Where were you? Stacey Slater: At a mate’s house. Big Mo: That’s what Kat always used to say. Max to his son Bradley: I remember when your mum was pregnant. I had no help. We went round the houses — what to do — keep you, get rid of you. In the end, we went down the abortion clinic, the two of us, but we couldn’t go through with it. Do you know what I did? I went out and I brought this scruffy brown bear from the garage and stuck it on the mantlepiece. Your first toy, that was — brown bear. Do you remember? Bradley: Yeah. Max: Well, now you know where it came from — the love of a father. Hadn’t even met you met. Bradley: The baby that ruined your life. Nancy Carter: You grew your own weed? Babe Smith: I had two hungry mouths to feed. How else did I pay for [Mick’s] football boots, [Tina’s] dancing lessons? Babe Smith on the Carters: I gave my life for this family. Charlie Cotton, Jr: I grew up with nothing. Sonia Jackson on being raised by a single mother: I know what it's like — never having any money and everything always being messed up and different blokes for a dad. I had nothing. Robbie Jackson on Carol: She was a single parent. She managed. Sonia: No — she struggled. Robbie to Sonia: We got dealt a lousy hand, didn't we, sis? Bianca Jackson to Sonia: You’re the spoilt one, always got everything you ever wanted. Carol to Bianca and Sonia: You’ve done this ever since you were kids — tear chunks out of each other over the most stupidest of things. Sonia: None of our dads ever stuck around for long. Funny thing is, I always thought the next one would be different. I used to get really angry with my mum. I'd sit there and I'd think, "What are you doing wrong? What are you doing to make them all leave?" Sonia: When did you ever put us first? You were always too busy chasing after the next bloke. Carol: That’s not true. Sonia: Isn’t it? We never knew who was round that dinner table — our “new dad”. Sonia: "Because why's got a long tail." Me mum used to say it when she used to run out of answers. Garry Hobbs: My mum always used to say, “Working nine to five, what a way to earn a living. Barely getting by, it’s all take and no giving.” Tanya Branning: My nan always said, “Give a child confidence. If they’re confident, they can do anything.” Cora Cross to Tanya: You were a stupid little girl. You were always a self-centred madam, always wanting more. Never satisfied. Cora to Tanya: Must have been a terrible burden for you, having me as a mother. Cora to Tanya: I didn’t give you cuddles. I didn’t pat you on the head and tell you you were a good little girl. Cora to Tanya: The time you and Rainie broke my mother’s vase — you set up a pretend salon in the back garden to distract me. Poor Rainie was upstairs trying to glue it together. Problem was, Rainie could always get away with it. That girl could lie her way out of anything, but you — it’s written all over your face. Lauren, Tanya’s daughter, looking at old photos: Look at your hair! Tanya: I’ll have you know crimping was very fashionable back then. Lauren: That hairstyle was never fashionable. Is that your dad? Tanya: Yeah, that was my twelfth birthday, that was. Lauren: Was he ill by then? Tanya: No, it was just before. Lauren: He looks really kind. Tanya: Yeah, he was. He had his moments. Cora on her husband William: I never loved anyone like I loved him and he did love me. He loved me for exactly who I was. Never any criticism. You couldn’t make him up, your dad. He never said a cruel word. Garry: You used to call me ... Theresa: Hobb Nob. I haven't seen you since ... Garry: February 14th 1987, St Valentine's Day. Carol Jackson on herself and Alan: February 14th is the day that we met. Charlie Slater: My Viv always used to say that it don’t matter what you do on Valentine’s Day as long as you spend it with the one you love. Theresa: We were teenagers. Garry: You dumped me. I still want to know why. Theresa: I met someone else. Garry: You were always different. You always used to say money don't mean nothing. I remember you telling me you'd be dead of a drugs overdose by the time you was thirty. Theresa: What a pretentious little madam I was! I must have still been going through my Janis Joplin phase. Garry: Yeah, but I was impressed. There was never anyone like you. Theresa: You didn't know me. I was a confused, screwed up teenager making up different versions of myself. I didn't even know who I was. Garry: That's what I liked. Theresa: I don't really think we've got much in common. Garry: That's what you said [then]. Carol: Did you think I was pretty when you first met me? Alan: Course I did. Carol: Do you remember when we first met? Alan: I plumbed your sink in. Carol: You came round to mend that burst pipe. Alan: It wasn't a burst pipe. I unblocked your loo. Carol: And halfway through you caught my eye and you said to me — Alan: "What's a girl like you doing in a nice place like this?" Carol: I thought that was dead funny. It was cheeky, but it was funny. Alan: That was one of my stock chat-up lines. You were the first one it worked on. Carol to Alan: I just knew you were the best-looking odd-job man I'd ever seen. Alan: I've always thought of myself as a one-woman man. Carol: You took me to a party on our first date. Alan: Yeah, you couldn't keep your hands off me. Carol: Me? You weren't doing so badly yourself! Alan: Do you remember that time ...? Carol: Crumbs in the bed! Alan: I was twenty when I first met Carol. It was great. At least I thought it was. Carol: If you'd had people badmouthing you all your life like I have ... Alan: I've had my share. Carol: Yeah, I know you have. Derek Branning on Carol seeing a black man: You always liked a bit of that, didn’t you? Lenny Wallace: You know what a Bounty Bar is? That's what my mates called me. I was sixteen. I made the mistake of falling for a white girl. To my mates, that made me a Bounty Bar — black on the outside, white on the inside. Have you any idea what that does to a kid who's just getting into girls? It was [tough]. I mean, she was gorgeous. Really bright as well. Loads of guys fancied her, I mean loads of guys, but she chose me. She was really special. Tony Hills: So what happened? Lenny: I just made life hell till she gave up on me. Tony: Why? Lenny: Couldn't handle it, could I? Not all that stuff from my mates. It was crazy, but for some reason their approval was more important to me. I was young and stupid. I gave her a hard time because of their attitude. She must have been so hurt. I've never met anybody like her since. If only I hadn't listened. Alan: When I first started seeing Carol, someone came up to me and called me a traitor. I'm British, mate. I was born here, I'll die here. I couldn't quite figure out who I was being a traitor to. Carol on Derek: He always hated Alan. Alan on the Branning family: They never liked me. Carol on her family: Don't you remember all the things they said when we first got together? Sonia: The amount of grief you gave Mum and Alan when they first got together. Jim Branning: Oh well, she was my little girl, weren’t she? Carol on Jim: He wouldn’t speak to Alan. Carol to Jim: We all know how you felt about Alan. You couldn’t even shake his hand. Alan on Carol: I didn't mind that she had three kids. It didn't bother me. Bianca Jackson on Alan: He only wanted me mum. We just all came along as part of the deal. Blossom Jackson to Bianca: When he started going out with your mum, Alan used to come and see me and tell me all about her, but he would talk about the three kids as much as he would about the girl. Alan: I've always lived with someone — me mum and dad, then Carol. Heather Trott on ‘Respectable’ by Mel & Kim: Do you remember this? 1987, you and me down the Hippodrome. Shirley Carter: I can still remember the moves. Dean Wicks, Shirley’s son: So who’s my dad then? Shirley: I can’t remember. I don’t know his name. I was in the pub. We were hammered and I never saw him again. Dean: And that’s how I came into the world. Buster Briggs, speaking about Dean in 2014: You sure he’s mine? Shirley: Yeah. Buster: When? Shirley: Well, he’s twenty-six. You do the maths. Dean on Buster: He’s really great, bunking up with a woman when she’s got a husband and kids at home. That’s nice. How could you do that to Dad? Shirley: When you fall for someone, all sense — it just goes out the window. Dean: So you loved him then? Shirley: Yeah. Buster to Shirley: What kind of dad would I have been, eh? The odd Christmas card, supervised visit. You were protecting [Dean by not telling him the truth]. Dean: I didn’t need protecting. Buster: If you knew me, you’d know that wasn’t true. Carol: Have you ever been on the poverty line, Zainab, so hard up you don’t know how you’re going to feed your kids? Zainab Masood: As a matter of fact, Carol, I have. When my Shabnam was a baby, we were cooped up in a tiny little flat above the shop that we stayed at. She was teething all night, crying, Syed in the cot next to her coughing away because of the damp in that place, and Masood holding down three jobs in order to make sure we had some food on the table. Zainab: Before Tamwar was born, we lived in a flat above Uncle Inzamam’s shop. He used one of the rooms as a kind of storeroom. Shabnam, she opened a sack of rice and she poured all this rice into the bathtub because she wanted to cook like Mummy. We ended up with a bathroom full of basmati. Syed: I don’t remember a shop. Zainab: You were still very young. Shabnam wasn’t much older than Kamil is now [thirteen months]. She was the adventurous one. You, on the other hand, would not leave my side for one second. You would fall asleep while I would stroke your hair, and then if you woke up and your father was carrying you to bed, you would kick up such a fuss, screaming for me. Syed: Do you still sing that song to Kamil, the one you used to sing to me when I was little? Zainab: [sings] “Ni ni Papa ni ni, macan roti gee ...” Zainab and Syed: [singing in unison] “Macan roti hokya. Meyun Papa sokya.” Zainab to Syed: “Javaan aadamee aur saanp” ["The Young Man and the Snake”]. This was your favourite story when you were little. I had to read it to you every night or you wouldn’t go to sleep, and if I missed even the tiniest bit, you would make me start all over again. Zainab to Syed: When you were little, I would love to watch you fall asleep and then I would pray that you would always be happy and that you would get married, have children. Janine Butcher on Ronnie: What was she like as a kid? Billy Mitchell: Evil, to me anyway. And Roxy used to bully me something chronic. Ronnie Mitchell: You, practising your snogging on me. Roxy Mitchell: I was nine. Ronnie: Going on nineteen. Roxy: I used to have a boyfriend called Matthew. He was nice. Actually, he was lovely. Archie Mitchell on Roxy: There was never going to be a fella in the world good enough for her. Billy on Archie and Ronnie: Him and her have been fighting all their lives. Ronnie: People used to say that me and my dad were like peas in a pod. I hated that. Roxy on Archie’s snow globe: He used to shake it and then make us hide. Then he’d come and get us. We’d both get a treat. There were good times, Ron. There were. Archie’s voice on a home video recording: "Veronica, come here. Veronica, come on, I won’t bite. Veronica, stop messing around now, come to Daddy. You come to Daddy.” Roxy watching the tape: Look at Ronnie, she looks so cute! Ronnie on the home video: Did you see my knobbly knees? Roxy: Did you see mine? Ronnie: At least you were cute. I’ve hated Dad for so long, I’ve forgotten how much I loved him. I really did love him back then, I really did. Roxy: And he loved you. He did. Ronnie: When I was younger, a teenager, all I ever wanted was for my dad to give me a big hug like he did with my sister. Archie to Ronnie: Putting my arm around you, feeling your head on my shoulder, smelling your hair — how old were you when I last did that? Twelve, thirteen? Ronnie speaking to her cousin Ben in 2008: When I was your age [twelve], I let my dad walk all over me and there’s not a day goes by when I don’t regret it. Ronnie: My dad’s tried to control me my whole life. Roxy to Ronnie: You’ve always been the same. You don’t talk about your feelings. Growing up — boys, all that stuff, you never spoke about any of that. Archie: I’m not saying I didn’t make mistakes, but I always did what I thought was right at the time. Archie: What I did in the past, I did for the best — or what I thought was the best. Archie: As soon as you hit thirteen, everything changed. One minute I’ve got a daughter I adore, I dote on, who dotes on me. Next thing, she’s answering me back, lying, turning against the one person who tried to do everything for her. Ronnie: Just because I wasn’t doing exactly what you said for the first time in my life. Archie: Do you know what it’s like being a parent, eh? You put all your love, all your hope into this little thing, you’d do anything for them, and then to watch this child, this little person who felt like a part of yourself, become something separate and then, without the slightest regard for your feelings, shine that light on somebody else. Ronnie: That’s normal, isn’t it? Isn’t that normal? That’s growing up. Archie: Selfish, callous indifference, undermining me at every turn — it’s not normal! Ronnie: We may not have been the happiest family in the world, but it wasn’t that bad. It was normal. Glenda Mitchell: Normal — the way your father was with me? The way you girls were with me? Do you remember how you both used to speak to me, Veronica? You hardly bothered speaking to me at all. Ronnie: That’s not true. That was Roxy. Glenda: I was a speck of dirt on your shoe. You both saw how your father treated me and you copied him. Ronnie: We were just kids. Archie on his watch: You and Roxy gave me this for my birthday, do you remember? Ronnie: Yeah, of course I remember. You used to leave it in the hall on the table as a sign. Archie: What do you mean — a sign? Ronnie: That I was in trouble. Then you’d make me wait a day, maybe two, sometimes for as long as a week, and then I’d get it. My punishment. You’d refuse to do something, take me somewhere, somewhere that I really, really wanted to go. Archie: It’s not easy being a parent, Veronica. Ronnie: You were cruel. Archie: I was under a lot of pressure — the business, your mother. You think I’d have had an affair if she’d have been there for me? The woman was cold. Heather Trott: ‘I Want Your Sex’ [by George Michael] released June fifteenth 1987, reached number three in the charts. Ronnie: Everybody tells lies. You don’t admit you’ve told a lie because then you’re lying — even good girls, especially good girls. It’s like a habit. It’s like second nature. It comes with learning to swim. The South of France is lovely though, isn’t it? You see, you don’t make a scene. "You don’t make a fuss. Good daughter. And if it hurts, it hurts. You get on with it, for God’s sake. You find a way and you stop making it worse.” That’s the general idea. You see, lies, they pile up on top of lies and they build up on top of each other and then you get a lie and another lie and then you’ve got a wall that builds up and there’s no windows but the trick is you mustn’t panic, don’t panic, you mustn’t panic, and I ... I always ... “You let yourself down!” Ronnie to Roxy: Something happened when we were in France. Do you remember that holiday? I was thirteen, you were ten. Something terrible. Ronnie: Swimming lessons. Dad taught me to swim that year. Glenda: You had to learn to swim sometime, Veronica. Ronnie: I didn’t like it and I said I didn’t like it. Glenda: No you didn’t. You just clammed up and stomped about. Your age, your father said. Ronnie: I begged you to take me shopping with Roxy. Glenda: You were grounded. Ronnie: We were on holiday. I think you could have persuaded Dad to let me go. Glenda: You’d been mouthing off at me. You didn’t deserve a treat. Ronnie: I didn’t deserve what happened to me while you were away. Glenda: It was your dad. He was the one made you stay at the villa, not me. Ronnie: But you went along with it though, didn’t you? You did exactly what he wanted. Glenda: He was a monster, Ronnie. He messed me up too with his games. Ronnie: Games? Games? Is that what it was? You were my mother. You were supposed to protect me. Glenda: I was as scared of that man as you were. Ronnie: I was thirteen years old. Ronnie on Archie’s abuse: That’s when it first started to happen — when he was teaching me how to swim. He started touching me and then when we went back to the house. Glenda: Where was I? Why wasn’t I there? Ronnie: Because you called me and you told me to tell Dad that you were going to stay out with friends. Ronnie to Roxy: I remember you were invited to a sleepover party. So was I. I really wanted to go. I couldn’t wait to go. I remember Dad phoned them up and he said that I had a cold, that I couldn’t go because he wanted me to stay with him. I was absolutely terrified, Roxy, and I remember he bought me some sweets and we sat on the sofa and we watched rubbish on the telly and then he took me upstairs and he kissed me good-night and then he got into my bed. If I’d gone to the party, none of this would have happened. If I’d gone to the party, he wouldn’t have kissed me. He raped me, Roxy, and I couldn’t stop him. Ronnie on Archie: He told me he loved me. He told me that he loved me the most, that I was his special girl. He said that nobody else would understand, that they’d be cross, they’d be jealous. He said it happened because I let it. Roxy: Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you just speak up? Ronnie: Would you? I thought it was my fault. He made me feel ... Roxy: Did you tell anyone? Ronnie: No. Peggy: Whatever happened, darling, it was not your fault. Ronnie: Well I didn’t stop it, did I? When you [Glenda] came back the next morning I tried to hug you, but you started shouting about the mess on the living room floor. I tried to tell you, but you were screaming about the sweet papers. Dad made me get in the car to come and pick you [Roxy] up from the party and we were waiting outside and he whispered in my ear that if I told you or if I told Mum that they were going to take me away and I would never see any of you again. And then you came out of the door, do you remember? You came out of the door and you were holding a red balloon. Do you remember the red balloon? Ronnie: Do you remember when I gave you that scar? Roxy: Well, your sister smashing a glass into your chin tends to stick in the memory, yeah. Roxy to Ronnie: Even when we were kids, one minute you’re nice as pie, the next minute this [points to the scar on her chin]. Jase Dyer, looking at the scar on Roxy’s chin: Where did you get that? Roxy: I fell out of my fairy princess carriage. Roxy: Some little sisters, they get lip-gloss, they get glittery eyeshadow — not me. No, I get a lump of glass in my chin. Ronnie: And I’ve been paying you back for it ever since. Ronnie to Roxy: It was the night after the party, the night ... I did not want to be left in the house alone [with Archie] again so I hurt you to stop him hurting me, but he didn’t stop. It carried on for the rest of the week. In fact anytime we were in the house by ourselves together, he would come and find me. Ronnie on Archie: He came into my room every night for a week after we got back from France and it was always at the same time, always when Mum went out. Ronnie: The only thing that kept me going, the only thing I had to hold onto was the thought that maybe, just maybe, one day you’d come back home early, you’d open the door and you’d rescue me. Glenda: I would have. I would have if I’d known. Ronnie: And then one night he just ... he suddenly turned on me, he started shouting at me. He called me a little whore and then he said that it was my fault, that I was seducing him, I was flaunting myself in front of him, tempting him, and he said that if I told anyone he would kill me. Not that anyone would have believed me. And so I never told anyone. But I did make a promise to myself — I thought he may have got to me, but I was never ever going to let him get to you [Roxy]. So do you remember? That’s why I used to come into your room every night. I used to come into your bed and I would lie behind you and I would put my arms around you and I told you that I was always going to protect you because I was never, ever going to let him get to you. Roxy: My whole life, Ronnie’s been there for me and where was I, huh? Where was I when she needed me? Where was I when my dad used to sneak into her room at night? And if she hadn’t been there, it would have been my door next. Peggy on Ronnie: All those years of carrying that and none of us catching on. How does that happen? Glenda: It was different back then. Kids didn’t speak out about things, not like they do now. Peggy: Even so — all that happening under your roof and you not knowing. Glenda: She was scared, she covered for him. Peggy: Scared? She was terrified. Glenda, you must have seen something. Glenda: She was a teenager. Sometimes she didn’t even come out of her room because she’d got a spot on her face. How was I supposed to pick up on Archie doing that? Peggy: Maybe you didn’t want to see. Glenda: I knew nothing about this because I swear to God, if I had, I would have killed him. Roxy to Glenda: If it’s true, you’d have known about it. You’re our mum. You’d have seen stuff. You’d have noticed things. She would not have been able to hide something like this from you. Peggy: You knew. You knew all along what Archie was doing to Ronnie and you did nothing to stop him. You stood by and let that monster maul her. Glenda: I didn’t see anything. Peggy: You could have stopped him. You could have protected her. Ronnie: Mum knew. She knew the whole time. She knew what Dad was doing to me and she never stopped him. Ronnie: You knew. You knew all right because all the signs were there. I just never connected the dots. I could see it in your eyes. I could see that something changed because you were sharper with me and you stopped cuddling me. In fact you couldn’t bring yourself to touch me. It’s like I was contaminated. And I used to sit there and I used to watch you messing about with Roxy. You’d be cuddling her and you’d be playing with her hair and I’d be standing there wishing, wishing it was me. I wanted you to take me in your arms and tell me that it was all going to be all right, that you were going to make him stop. Glenda: How could I know? How could I? You were my firstborn. I couldn’t let myself think something like that. Ronnie: You couldn’t let yourself? Glenda: OK, maybe I noticed that something had changed between you and your dad, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. But the signs were there, I see that now. Glenda on Archie and Ronnie: I knew something was different between them but I honestly didn’t know what it was. I just had an uneasy feeling. I messed up. I should have known. I had a sixth sense. We just know when something isn’t right, don’t we? You know, don’t you? And every instinct in your body is to make it better. Ronnie to Glenda: You could have talked to me about it. If you had just asked me, I would have told you everything in a heartbeat, Instead you walked out and you left me alone with him.