|Portrayed by||Gillian Taylforth|
|Introduced by|| Julia Smith (1985) |
Matthew Robinson (1999)
|Spin-off Appearances|| Dimensions in Time (1993) |
The Ghosts of Ian Beale (2014)
|First Appearance||19th February 1985|
|Other names|| Kathy Hills (maiden name) |
'Kathy Richards' (in-hiding name)
|Age||66 Years Old|
|Date of Birth||11 May 1950|
Katherine "Kathy" Beale (née Hills, previously Sullivan and Mitchell) was born in Walford to Brenda and Dennis Hills in 1950. Her family was destitute, East End family, headed by an abusive and alcoholic father and she was often protected by her elder brother, Ted. Aged fourteen, Kathy was raped by music teacher Marcus Duffy, resulting in a pregnancy. Her daughter was given up for adoption. In 1965, she fell for a local boy, Pete Beale, but he was already married to Pat Harris after she claimed she was pregnant with his child. After finding out that Pat had a string of affairs, Pete left Pat and his two sons and went to be with Kathy in 1965, and divorced Pat in 1966. Pete and Kathy's relationship was opposed by Pete's mother, Lou who wouldn't condone her son's divorce and Kathy's brother, Ted who disliked Pete Beale and Den Watts (Pete's best friend). However, Kathy stood up to Lou and married Pete in 1968. In February 1969, she gave birth to a son,Ian when she was just 18.
The Beales were financially stable in 1985. Kathy opened her own knitting business, making jumpers to sell and working as a barmaid in The Queen Vic for her best friend, Angie Watts. Kathy felt she had put her troubled past behind her, however in October 1985, Nick Cotton broke into Dr. Legg's surgery and stole Kathy's medical records, discovering that she had been raped and had given the resulting child up for adoption. He used this to blackmail Kathy and she was eventually forced to tell Pete her secret, a revelation that he took badly.
In 1987, Kathy received news that her adopted daughter, Donna Ludlow, wanted to meet her, but she refused. Undeterred, Donna moved to Walford and kept her identity secret. To get closer to Kathy, Donna called her workplace at The Samaritans, and grew close to Ian, who became attracted to his half sister. When Kathy told Donna to stay away from Ian, Donna told her that she was her daughter. She thought Kathy would be pleased but Kathy was mortified and ordered her to leave Walford. Unperturbed, Donna stayed and caused various problems for Kathy until she finally cracked and told Donna that she wanted nothing to do with her as she was the product of rape. Unhinged, Donna spent the rest of the year in a downward spiral.
In 1988, James Willmott-Brown employed Kathy at The Dagmar wine bar, which angered Pete. The rift worsened when it became clear that James was romantically interested in Kathy. After Kathy and Pete argued one night, James invited her to his flat, but when he attempted to seduce her, Kathy tried to leave. James would not take no for an answer and what began as seduction ended in rape. James was arrested, and despite claiming that the sex had been consensual, was formally charged with rape. In the aftermath, Kathy became depressed and isolated from Pete, who never believed she was blameless. Kathy ended their marriage in January 1989.
James stood trial in April 1989 but not before he'd tried to bribe Kathy to drop the charges. Kathy pretended to take his hush money, then betrayed him to a listening DI. She was forced to relive the rape for the trial, where a skilful barrister presented a good case for James. For a time, it appeared that James would be found not guilty, but to Kathy's relief, he was imprisoned for three years. During this time, Kathy found unexpected support from Pete's first wife, Pat Wicks, whom she had initially despised. The rape by Willmott-Brown, and later the death of Kathy's mother-in-law Lou, brought them closer as both found they had a common bond with the dominance of Lou in their lives. Pat and Kathy became each other's closest friends. Kathy still found herself unable to accept Donna as she reminded her of rape. Donna sank into depression and in April 1989, she overdosed on heroin and died after choking on her own vomit. Kathy felt guilty about her daughter's death.
During 1989, Kathy attempted to move on and fell for market trader Laurie Bates. Laurie was understanding of Kathy's situation and accepted that sex was off limits. Their relationship managed to survive the interference of Julie Cooper, who tried but failed to claim Laurie herself. However, when Laurie began buying Kathy extravagant clothing and jewellery, she began questioning his motives. She thought he was trying to make her look like his late wife and lost interest. Laurie took her rejection badly and some tactless comments regarding her sexual abstinence made Kathy believe he had hidden shallows. She ended the relationship in January 1990. Later in the year, Kathy began dating Eddie Royle. He patiently pursued her, but after a few dates, she became hesitant and after she saw him kissing Eibhlin O'Donnell - his former girlfriend visiting from Ireland - their lukewarm romance ended.
Kathy bought the Bridge Street café in 1991, renaming the premises "Kathy's" in 1992. In January 1992, Willmott-Brown was released from prison. He sent Kathy a tape telling her that he wanted to meet her and that he had changed. Kathy pleaded with him to leave and never return, but he moved to the Square and continued to pester her, until Kathy relayed the hurt and anger he had caused her, gaining some closure. James threatened suicide, but Kathy stopped him, refusing to let him take the easy way out. After a heated conversation in which James pleaded for forgiveness, Kathy convinced him to leave Walford. She also convinced Pete — who had been hoping for a reconciliation — that their marriage was over. Later in 1992, Kathy began a relationship with market inspector Richard Cole, which soured when she discovered that he was taking a cash bribe and allowing a mobile hot dog van to trade in direct competition to her café.
In 1993, Kathy was left shocked and devastaded when Pete was involved in in a car crash, which killed him. Later in the year, Kathy began a romance with the mechanic Phil Mitchell in Paris, which managed to survive interference from Phil's wife Nadia, who tried to spilt them up, as well as various revelations about Phil's past criminal activity. During a break-up, Phil got drunk and proposed to Kathy, and she accepted, however during their engagement party, Kathy learnt that Phil had almost resumed his affair with his sister-in-law Sharon Mitchell, a revelation that ended Kathy's friendship with Sharon and lead to Phil being beaten by his brother Grant, and almost ended Kathy and Phil's relationship.
However, in 1995 Phil and Kathy sorted out their differences and got married. Kathy fell pregnant and gave birth to a boy, Ben, in 1996; he later contracted meningitis and was left with impaired hearing. Kathy became devoted to Ben. Phil began to feel neglected and, in his depression, he turned to alcohol. By the end of the year his drinking had developed into full-blown alcoholism. Phil become violent and argumentative towards Kathy. After he snatched Ben and left him near a fire while he passed out drunk, Kathy left him. Realising what he had lost, Phil tried to stop drinking and rebuild his marriage. Kathy took him back, but when Phil attended counselling in 1997, he began an affair with an alcoholic named Lorna Cartwright, who started stalking him and made herself known to Kathy. In August 1997, Phil took Kathy to Paris, hoping that it would bring them closer. However, their return to the city where their relationship began was not a success. Phil confessed to his affair with Lorna, and Kathy responded by throwing her wedding ring in the Seine, stating that their marriage was "the biggest mistake" of her life. Phil began sleeping rough and blaming Kathy for his decline. Despite momentarily contemplating suicide, Kathy hardened herself towards her husband's abuse.
By Christmas 1997, she had fallen for vicar Alex Healy. In 1998, Alex's Bishop discovered their affair and offered Alex a choice: Kathy or his job. Alex was prepared to give up his job to be with Kathy, but she had already decided to move to Cape Town, South Africa, to live with her brother Ted. Meanwhile, Phil's brother Grant confessed to loving Kathy and asked her to elope, while Phil, simultaneously, was trying to reunite with her. Kathy was confused by so many options, but made it known to Phil that she was open to a reunion; however, when he failed to show up to meet her on the day of her departure in April 1998, Kathy left Walford with Ben, before revealing to Pat that Pete had always been her one true love. Kathy returned in September 1999 to meet Ian's fiancée Melanie Healy. Instead of reuniting with Phil, she had a fling with Grant. Just before she was due to return home to South Africa, Kathy had a change of heart and asked Phil to leave with her. However, Grant had planned a robbery that same day and Phil could not bring himself to let his brother do the job alone. Infuriated by Phil's loyalty to Grant, Kathy revealed their recent affair, moments before she left. This resulted in a violent showdown between the brothers. Grant confessed that he only slept with Kathy as revenge for Phil's affair with his wife Sharon, and Phil responded by threatening to shoot Grant, devastated that he'd lost Ben and Kathy again, leading Grant to crash their car into the River Thames; both survived. Kathy returned in December 1999 for Ian's short-lived wedding to Melanie on Millennium Eve, after Mel reveals to Ian that she slept with Steve Owen. Kathy was met with hostility from Phil and Grant's mother, Peggy. Phil tried to persuade Kathy to reconcile one last time, but eventually they both agreed that their relationship was definitely over. Kathy then departed. Her last appearance was in January 2000. Kathy married a man named Gavin Sullivan in South Africa in 2001, who adopted Ben. On 20 February 2006, Gavin's sister called Ian to say that Gavin and Kathy had been in an accident - a 13-year-old boy who was joyriding, crashed into their car, killing Kathy. A heartbroken Ian travelled to South Africa and returned with Ben after Gavin also died. Custody of Ben was eventually given to Phil.
In 2015, after Phil had been released from prison, he went missing and showed up on the night of Ian and Jane's wedding. At Beales in the kitchen, Phil emerges and he tells Ian that he met someone and found out something, however, Ben interrupts. At a disused lot later that night, a cab pulls up and Kathy steps out. Kathy pleads with Phil to let her return to Walford, however Phil is adamant that she stays away because of Ian and Ben and as Kathy leaves, she asks him to think about it.
In 2016 Kathy changed her last name back from Sullivan to Beale.