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"Bad move today, Abi. Very bad move!".
~ Babe Smith threatening Abi Branning.

Babe Smith, also known as Aunt Babe, is a fictional character and recurring antagonist from the BBC soap opera EastEnders. She is the maternal aunt of established characters Shirley Carter and her sister Tina Carter.

First appearing as a supporting character in 2014 and a relative of the established Carter family, Babe quickly became the show's central antagonist up until her departure in February 2017. Her storylines included causing trouble in the Carter's personal lives; conspiring with Shirley's son Dean Wicks to cover his mother's involvement in shooting her ex-fiancé Phil Mitchell on his wedding day to Sharon Watts; developed an antagonistic interaction with employed chef Abi Branning as well as encouraging her to fake a pregnancy during her relationship with Ben Mitchell; blackmailed Les Coker that ends up sparking a feud between her and Claudette Hubbard; made enemies with Abi's grandmother Cora Cross; and issued a rivalry with her sister Sylvia to the point of trying to kill her - which consequently resulted in Babe's ostracization in the square.

Biography

Babe arrives in Walford when the The Queen Victoria is holding a karaoke night. Her relationship with her niece, Tina, is very close, but she finds Shirley distant, and would like to spend more time with her. She tells Shirley that she has not made contact with her sister, Shirley and Tina's mother, Sylvie Carter, in months. However, she has missed three calls from her. She contacts her sister, but does not tell her where she is. Babe returns later helps the Carters prepare for a protest against the closure of Bridge Street Market, and reveals that when the children were young, she sold marijuana to help out financially. She later helps Tina, who is struggling for money, by giving her marijuana to sell. She gives Tina chocolate brownies cooked with the drug, but Liam Butcher takes them, mistaking them for normal brownies. Mick and Shirley discover this and Shirley burns the stash, leading Babe to threaten to reveal the secret that Shirley is Mick's mother. Tina later introduces Babe to her girlfriend, Tosh Mackintosh. Babe warns Tosh not to hurt or upset Tina otherwise Babe will deal with her severely.

It becomes apparent Sylvie lives with Babe, and Sylvie's ex-husband Stan Carter becomes suspicious when he sees Babe buying lillies, Sylvie's favourite flower. Shirley is upset when her flame, Phil Mitchell abandons his plan to leave his current fiance Sharon Rickman at the altar to be with her, and Babe becomes her confidant, and plants the seed in her mind that she should take revenge. Shirley shoots Phil, and flees Walford with Babe's help afterwards. Babe then lies to the Carters, telling them she has not seen Shirley. Babe discovers that Stan has terminal prostate cancer after following him to a hospital visit. She urges him to reveal his secret to the family, but he refuses, so Babe does it instead, personally upset by the news and feeling it is unfair not to tell the others. They are devastated and Stan is furious with her, and later takes her aside and demands to know where she is hiding Shirley. After Shirley returns, Tina is beaten up by Tosh when Babe shows Sonia Fowler's watch to her, leading Tosh to believe that they are having an affair. When Shirley and Mick go to Babe's house, intending to confront Babe, they find Sylvie who has Alzheimer's disease. Mick brings Sylvie to Walford for Christmas, later discovering the truth about his parentage on Christmas Day. Shirley and Stan initially clash, but when he apologises for the way he treated her in the past the two become close again, upsetting Babe, who admits she had loved Stan herself and always resented Sylvie for 'stealing' him. When Stan attempts to take Sylvie to the seaside she becomes confused and upset, and Babe tells the rest of the family she can no longer look after Sylvie alone. Despite Stan's protests, they agree to put Sylvie into a care home. However, at a goodbye party Sylvie and Shirley have an angry confrontation, with Sylvie blurting out that when Shirley 'fell' down the stairs whilst pregnant with Mick she'd actually pushed her. When an upset Shirley reveals it was Babe who came up with the idea to pass Mick off as Sylvie's child, Mick is furious and tells both Sylvie and Babe to leave for good.

Babe returns to The Vic a few weeks later offering to lend a hand at a busy wedding reception, but Mick's wife Linda Carter suggests it's best she leaves. However, when Stan loses use of his legs due to prostate cancer, Tina contacts Babe asking her to visit, having argued with him and hoping her aunt can talk sense into him. Stan acts annoyed but is secretly pleased to see her, and agrees to make up with Tina. Babe is upset when he proposes to Cora Cross, but encourages her to accept the proposal as Stan will never love her. After Stan's death, Babe excludes Cora from his funeral and encourages the rift between Mick and Shirley. After the funeral and wake, Babe visits Sylvie in the care home and reveals that Stan has died. Sylvie is furious as Babe never allowed her to attend, but every time Sylvie asks her why Babe changed the subject. After this an angry Babe tells Sylvie that she always has to take things from her and Sylvie calls her jealous and insults her.

Babe slaps Sylvie causing her to cry. As Babe leans in to hug her, Sylvie bites Babe's shoulder and threatens to tell the police about the criminal thing she and Queenie Trott had done several years earlier. Babe's attempts to continue the Carters' rift include holding a "make-up" lunch between Mick and Shirley and suggesting to Mick that he buy Shirley out of the pub while she is out of earshot after her son Jimbo's death is brought up, paying a teenager to throw a brick saying rapist through the window of Mick's brother Dean Wicks's salon and then offering the money to buy out Shirley's share. Shirley's boyfriend and Mick and Dean's father, Buster Briggs, recognizes the teenager who threw the brick, learns the truth from him and confronts Babe in front of the Carters. Angry, and realizing that she has made their family problems even worse than they already were, Mick and Shirley force Babe to leave Walford. She threatens Shirley before leaving, warning her to watch her back. When Abi tells Ben she is pregnant when in fact she is not Abi asks Babe what to do, Babe encourages her to get pregnant by with someone else because soon Ben will expect her to start showing. Abi is frightened at this but Babe tells her that if she does not have a baby she will lose Ben.

Babe hires Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald) to work as her kitchen assistant after Abi confides in Babe about her jealousy towards her sister, Lauren Branning, which she felt she could relate to. Babe notices Abi's boyfriend, Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid), flirting with Paul Coker (Jonny Labey), so helps Abi to take revenge. Abi later reveals to a busy pub, including Ben and Paul, that she is pregnant, however it transpires Babe encouraged Abi to fake her pregnancy until she becomes pregnant. However, Ben suspects he has caught an STI from having casual sex, so Babe suggests that Abi has sex with a stranger and she has sex with Babe's relative, Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard), but does not become pregnant. Babe later discovers that Les Coker (Roger Sloman) is a crossdresser. During an argument between Ben and his father, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), Babe pushes Abi into Ben and she falls so Babe rushes her out of The Queen Vic, claiming to be taking her to the hospital. When they return, Abi tells her friends and family that she has miscarried. After Abi and Babe fall out, Babe writes a letter to Ben explaining the truth, and although it is intercepted by Ben's half-sister, Louise Mitchell (Tilly Keeper), Abi still inadvertently reveals the truth to Ben, ending their relationship.

The following month, Babe begins blackmailing Les anonymously. Les' wife, Pam Coker (Lin Blakley), realises Babe is the blackmailer, but is too ashamed to report it so Babe continues to increase the blackmail amount. Babe later threatens to reveal photos of Les crossdressing, causing Pam to humiliate herself while the stress of the blackmail causes Les to suffer a heart attack. When Babe discovers that Abi and Lee had sex and that Abi has passed on an STI to Lee's pregnant girlfriend, Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty), Babe badly burns Abi's hand. After the fling is exposed, Abi informs the Carter family about Babe's involvement and the family subsequently disown her. At a low ebb, Babe begins blackmailing the Cokers again, despite the recent death of their grandson, Paul, as well as threatening Abi. Pam eventually confides in Claudette Hubbard (Ellen Thomas) about the blackmail and she threatens Babe to stop it.

Babe is invited to return to work by Linda and is pleased when Abi is sacked after making an error. Babe visits Sylvie, who now lives with Tina, and belittles her. Later in the evening, Babe is locked in The Queen Vic's kitchen freezer by an unknown assailant, although Linda and Whitney discover Babe and she makes a quick recovery. Linda accuses Claudette of being the culprit so Claudette exposes Babe's blackmailer secret to her. Mick and Linda are mortified, but forgive Babe. She later informs her family that Sylvie locked her in the freezer, but it transpires that Abi is the culprit and Babe realises this, but wants to readmit Sylvie into a care home. Linda later demands Babe return the money to the Cokers to avoid police interference, but Babe neglects the task so Mick warns her. She tries to earn the money by gambling and blackmailing Abi, but she mocks Babe's desperation. Linda issues Babe with a final warning so Babe decides to go to the bank, however she is delayed by Lee. Linda grows tired and evicts Babe, despite her returning all of the money. They later have a heart-to-heart where Babe explains that the money was placed into a bank account for Linda's infant son, Ollie Carter (Charlie) and says how she is cruel because it makes her feel better. Linda subsequently allows Babe to move back into the Vic.

Babe starts serving breakfasts in the pub, putting her in direct competition with the local café, which starts a feud with its owner, Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth). Babe tries to sabotage Kathy's business by poisoning her coffee machine, disgusting the Carter family. Babe creates a scheme to illegally serve alcohol with breakfast and unwittingly serves beer to a police detective who is working undercover. Days later, Babe, Mick and Shirley are arrested for breaching the licence laws, but Babe lies to the police that it was Mick's plan that she was following. Mick, Shirley and Babe are ordered to pay a fine. When Sylvie belittles Babe after telling her that she is the reason why Stan didn't love her, she leaves Sylvie by the canal in the rain, although Sylvie is found and Shirley realises that Babe left Sylvie to die and disowns her. When Shirley finds Babe stealing from The Queen Vic, she physically throws her out and explains to Mick. Babe pleads with him to let her stay, but Mick rejects her so she insults Linda. Mick ejects Babe from The Queen Vic and she curses the family, hoping they lose everything.

Quotes

Watch your back.
~ Babe to Abi.
LINDA, LINDA, LINDA! That's all that matters with you, isn't it? The minute she shank her claws into you, I knew I'd lost ya! Stuck-up little cow, Butter wouldn't melt!
~ Babe to an enraged Mick Carter.
I curse you! I curse the lot of ya. I hope you lose everything, and your precious pub. I CURSE YOU!
~ Babe's last words, cursing the Carter family.

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