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Billy Mitchell is a fictional character and one of the central protagonists of the British soap opera EastEnders, having appeared from November 1998 onwards.

Originally, he started out as an antagonist who debuted as the estranged uncle and abusive legal guardian of Jamie Mitchell. Over the years, however, Billy has evolved from his initial antagonistic ways and has been involved in numerous high-prolfiled storylines that frequently revolve on his personal flaws in both romantic and family relationships.

The character is portrayed by Perry Fenwick.

Biography

Billy Mitchell first came to Albert Square in Walford, a fictional borough in East London, from November 1998 following the death of his brother Charlie. Since then Billy has become the legal guardian of his nephew and Charlie's son Jamie. However, their relationship has grown estranged to the point where Billy has ended up mistreating Jamie with physical abuse and threats of violence. This is soon discovered by Billy's cousin Phil Mitchell, who subsusquently confronts Billy for his actions before taking Jamie under his own wing.

In 1999, Billy returns to seek out Phil and his brother Grant Mitchell on a problem that affects them all - Billy owes money to a crew of notorious loan sharks led by their leader Kim Brooks, with whom the Mitchell Brothers have been planning to rip off at that stage. The brothers initially refuse to help Billy when they see him giving Jamie a hard time again, but eventually they relent after Brooks orders his crew to firebomb Phil and Grant's car lot. Billy later informs their sister Sam and her policeman boyfriend Beppe Di Marco about what Phil and Grant are doing. In the end, the brothers plunge their getaway car into a canal - both survive, though Grant is presumed dead after only Phil resurfaces from the wreckage.

Over the new few years, Billy continues to hassle Jamie and threatens to beat him up again. Jamie's friend Robbie Jackson attempts to stand up to Billy, only to get attacked by him. Eventually Jamie fights Billy and ultimately wins. They again have another confronation, in which Jamie proves stronger again and forces Billy to leave him alone.

By then, Billy has begun working for nightclub owner Steve Owen and is occassionally menanced by the latter. He and Jamie soon find themselves involved in Phil's rivarly with Steve along with both of their respective feuds against fellow hardman Dan Sullivan. Later on when Phil is shot by an unknwon assailant, Billy suspects that his estranged stepson Ian Beale and love rival Mark Fowler are the culprits - though it is later revealed that Phil's shooter is actually his ex-girlfriend Lisa Shaw. Months later, Dan forces Billy to collaborate in his revenge scheme against Phil and Steve after they framed him for Phil's shooting. This culiminates in Billy being forced to reveal to Dan that Phil had a one-night stand with Steve's wife Mel Healy, which indirectly leads to the events of Dan kidnapping Mel and holding her ransom for three days in order to successfully blackmail Phil and Steve into giving him £200,000 in exchange for her safety - thus exacting his revenge on the pair before departing the square forever.

Afterwards, Steve forces Billy to accompany him and his old gang on a criminal job. This works successfully and Steve gives Billy his share of the money to renovate the E20 nightclub. In 2002, Phil forces Billy to reveal Steve ripped off his accomplice Graeme and their associates on the job. This results in Phil grassing up Graeme to Steve as part of their feud. Steve is later killed in a high-speed car chase with Phil.

During this time, Billy has mended his ways with Jamie after it transpires that Billy had been abused and neglected in an orphanage when he was a child. As such, Billy finds himself reacquainted with his abuser Ernie Johnson and confronts him over their past. Thereafter Billy apologizes to Jamie for his treatment of him and they remain on good terms up until Jamie tragically dies on Christmas Day 2002 after being the victim of a hit and run accidentally caused by his best friend Martin Fowler.

Coincidentally, Billy has begun a relationship with local resident Little Mo Slater. He falls in love with her and becomes archenemies with her estranged husband Trevor Morgan for abusing and controlling her with his domestic violence. He also comforts Little Mo's sister, Kat, after finding out that their uncle Harry Slater had raped Kat when she was 13 - which resulted in the birth of their illegitimate daughter Zoe. Eventually, Trevor is killed in a house fire and Billy proposes to Little Mo. They get married on the day of Jamie's death, but their marriage soon gets into trouble when Little Mo is raped by her friend Gray Foster and she becomes pregnant with their child - Freddie. While their ordeal appears to be over when Gray is sent to prison for Little Mo's rape, she ultimately breaks up with Billy and they get seperated in 2006.

Beforehand, Billy befriends Phil's associate Minty Peterson and the two find themselves clashing with mobsman Andy Hunter over his relationship with Sam - as they correctly deduce that Andy plans to fleece Sam for her family's empire; earlier on Andy became the square's new crime kingpin following the death of his gangland boss Jack Dalton. At the same time, Billy becomes involved in his family's rivalry with Phil's top-dog predecessor Den Watts and later clashes with his wife Chrissie Watts after she frames Sam for Den's murder. The Mitchells are able to successfully exonerate Sam with help from Den's illegitimate son Dennis Rickman and his adopted sister-turned-wife Sharon Watts, who had earlier resented Billy for starting a fire that nearly killed her half-sister Vicki Fowler. As such, Billy is employed by crime lord Johnny Allen after he murders Andy and later hires Billy to replace his henchmen Jake Moon and his brother Danny. Eventually Johnny fires Billy after the latter conspires with his family against him.

Over the next few years, Billy becomes romantically involved with a woman named Honey Edwards and they end up getting married. Soon they give birth to a daughter named Janet, who later has Down syndrome to the point where Billy is faced with critisim for having such a daughter in that way. He eventually stands up to everyone, including his aunt Peggy, and shames them for judging his daughter. They soon learn to accept it and Honey is pround of Billy for what he did.

In 2008, Billy befriends reformed criminal Jase Dyer and his wayward son Jay Brown. Later on Billy helps Jase with his plans to rip off his old gang leader Terry Bates, but this fails when Terry kidnaps Jase and plans to kill them all. Jase causes an incident to allow Jay to escape and urges Billy to get him to safety. Billy succeeds and later plans on rescuing Jase from Terry. However, after seeing Jase being brutally attacked and pleading Billy for help, Billy becomes too scared and ultimately decides to hide as Jase is beaten to death and ultimately stabbed by Terry. In the end Jay assumes that Billy tried to save his father and thanks him for it. However, Billy later confines the truth to Honey and she dumps him for his lies.

In 2009, Billy continues to have a hard time keeping the secret from Jay and is soon blackmailed by local villain Nick Cotton when he discovers his secret. Billy urges Phil to deal with Nick once and for all. Phil kidnaps Nick and gives Billy a chance to kill him, but Billy doesn't go through with it in the end. Later on Billy finally reveals to Jay the truth about his role in Jase's death. It is then Billy is shunned by everyone for letting Jase die, but he redeems himself after saving Jay from getting hurt by Terry's gang; because of Billy's heroic efforts, he is able to testify against Terry to the point where Terry is found guilty and senteced to life imprisonment for his crimes. Soon afterwards, Billy and Jay form a surrogate father-son relationship and they end up starting a funeral parmor business together.

In 2010, Billy gets romantically involved with his old friend Janine Butcher and learns that she is suspected in the murder of Peggy's villainous ex-husband Archie Mitchell. Years later Billy gets reacquainted with his long-lost relative Lola Pearce and helps her win a prolonging custody battle for her daughter Lexi, fathered by Phil's wayward son Ben Mitchell. The following years see Billy being wrongfully accused for the murder of Ben's former babysistter Heather Trott, whom Ben himself had killed; stopping Phil from attacking his business rival Max Branning over the equires as to who killed Ian's daughter Lucy Beale; nearly getting evicted by businessman James Willmott-Brown; and being threatened by Phil's old partner-in-crime Aidan Maguire.

Trivia

  • Fenwick filmed his 1000th episode on 6 August 2010.

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