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Weyland & Co is a property development company whose members served as recurring major antagonists of the BBC British soap opera EastEnders.

Pre-History

The company that would be known as "Weyland & Co" was founded by illegitimate businessman James Willmott-Brown in his plans to redevelop Albert Square into his monopolized "Project Dagmar", after having failed to do so back in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1980s, Willmott-Brown had a conflict with his competitive business rival Den Watts and the latter's criminal associates from the square's gangland organization called The Firm. Later on he was convicted in 1989 for raping his former worker Kathy Beale, whom he had an obsessive crush on at that point. Then in the 1990s, his reattempts to settle his entrepreneurial plans in Walford were foiled after Kathy's husband Pete Beale and their son Ian Beale discovered he was around in the square once more; this prompted them along with their neighbour Frank Butcher and Pete's old friend Big Ron to confront Willmott-Brown and force him to leave the square for good. Sometime later in 1994, Willmott-Brown was imprisoned once more for raping another woman.

Biography

Prior to 2017, Willmott-Brown established the Weyland & Co organization and even gave it a subsidiary name for it called "Grafton Hill" to further expand his monopoly scheme. So much so that he bribed numerous council officials to avoid being caught out by the law for corruption. Eventually he welcomed his grown-up daughter Fi Browning, her brother Luke, and their half-sibling Josh Hummings into the organization; James also recruited his brother-in-law, Hugo Browning, into the company and would often make him manage the company's day-to-day events whenever he preferred to work behind-the-scenes.

During that time, Luke was in prison but due to be released months later. At that point he became inmates with Max Branning, who had been framed for the murder of Ian's daughter Lucy back in April 2014 when in reality the killer was in fact her young half-brother Bobby; however, after Ian's half-brother Ben Mitchell was implicated as the prime suspect in the police investigation, Ben's father Phil Mitchell proceeded to frame Max - his enemy - for Lucy's murder and in the end Ian, along with his wife Jane, reluctantly conspired along with the plan to protect Bobby from imprisonment. Although Bobby later confessed to the murder and Max's innocence was proven, Max had sought revenge against Ian and Phil along with everyone in Albert Square over his wrongful imprisonment. This vendetta led to Max befriending Luke and agreeing to help with Willmott-Brown's dastardly plans, as the succession of Project Dagmar would result in all the locals being evicted from their homes and the square gets demolished for good.

Max's association with Weyland & Co proves to be highly influential to both Willmott-Brown's scheme, as well as benefiting Max's own revenge plans against his neighbours. During that time Max's eldest daughter Lauren began working for the company, not knowing of their true intentions. She had a relationship with Josh, whereas Max has a romantic partnership with Fi whilst also forging a business acquaintanceship with local councilwoman Carmel Kazemi in order to trick her into unknowingly helping out Weyland & Co's projection. Max further extended his revenge by getting his brother Jack Branning arrested and having his stepson Matthew removed from custody by the child's biological father Charlie Cotton, before later framing police informant Vincent Hubbard for drug dealing and getting him arrested for it as well.

Soon enough, Max learns that Ian's stepson and Lauren's boyfriend Steven has been causing trouble - having cheated on Lauren with her sister Abi, getting the latter pregnant in the process, before lying to them about having an inoperable brian tumor with only months to live. Max soon begins blackmailing Steven into collaborating with his plans. This continues up to the point where Max orders Steven to burn down Ian's restaurant with Jane still inside. Jane eventually discovers Max's revenge plan and the truth about Weyland & Co after Max orders Steven to kill her. When Steven refuses, however, Max attacks Steven that results in the latter being hospitalized; Steven later dies of his injuries whereas Jane survives. Because of Steven's death and due to Max's association with the company, as Max had been the one who killed Steven in the first place, this makes Weyland & Co indirectly responsible and an accessory to manslaughter.

On the week of Steven's funeral, Max meets up with Willmott-Brown for the first time. From then on Willmott-Brown takes charge of the day-to-day operations for the company, which involves Hugo's assignment to take possession of The Queen Victoria public house. During that time, Willmott-Brown orders Max to force Jane into leaving the square on her own so that she would not interfere with their plans. Max complies and forces Jane into leaving by threatening to have Bobby brutalized or even killed in prison. Originally Ian was supposed to leave as well, but Willmott-Brown tells Max that Ian is to remain in the square - thereby hinting that Willmott-Brown has plans for Ian as it soon becomes clearer to his scheme that Willmott-Brown has actually got plans for Kathy on his own. Willmott-Brown would later come face-to-face with Kathy for the first time since 1992, but he doesn't expose his plans to her when they reunite.

Eventually, Willmott-Brown exposes his scheme to the square after Max manages to gather all the properties for him in the square whilst stopping Lauren from finding out at the time. Thereafter everyone finds out not only about Willmott-Brown's plan, but Max's involvement as well when Max reveals that he is doing this to get revenge over Lucy's imprisonment. However, Willmott-Brown betrays Max by denying him of his payment and Max is left broken at being double-crossed.

It then seems as though there is no stopping Willmott-Brown's plan, even when Luke is kidnapped and later killed by Phil's old partner-in-crime Aidan Maguire in retribution for beating up Ben - even though Phil never asked Aidan to kill Luke in the first place. Soon enough Josh grows uncomfortable with Willmott-Brown's ruthlessness and how it is affecting Lauren, as Josh has grown to fallen in love with her. Josh ultimately betrays his father by attempting to expose his bribery activities, but fails and he instead quiets by disowning his father. Fi soon finds herself neglected by Willmott-Brown and this eventually leads to her asking Kathy about him. During their conversation, Fi finally learns the truth about her father when Kathy reveals her rape at the hands of Willmott-Brown. Then after Christmas Fi confronts her father about it, but in response he fires his own daughter without regard.

Afterwards, Willmott-Brown visits Kathy and attempts to manipulate her into reconciling with him - during which he reveals that his plans to monopolize Albert Square were partially a ruse for his real scheme: to takeover the square and offer Kathy full control of everything in exchange for getting back with him. At first Kathy seems tempted, but refuses and attacks Willmott-Brown by declaring that the square will always come first over power. She further tells Willmott-Brown that he is going to hell, no matter how much he tries to redeem himself for what he did to her and everyone else in the past.

When Willmott-Brown arrives back at the company's headquarters, he sees that his documents that his expose his illcit activates have gone missing; earlier on Fi had stolen them and gave it to the police for them to arrest her father, upon realizing the extent of his true colors as well as knowing the damage he has caused to everyone around them. The police later visit Willmott-Brown to question him. When he attempts to destroy any evidence at that moment, however, Willmott-Brown suffers a heart attack and his hospitalized.

Later on Fi takes charge of the company and decides to dissolve it; she forces Hugo to comply and this results in Willmott-Brown's scheme coming undone once and for all. She later disowns her father in hospital before leaving the square for good, whereas her father is left at an unknown fate but with nothing left; having lost his company, his children, and everything else around him for good.

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Trivia

  • It is more than likely that Weyland & Co was originated back a decade or more after the year 1994, wherein the company's founder and leader James Willmott-Brown had been imprisoned for rape.
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