|Portrayed by||Samantha Womack|
|Created by||Dominic Treadwell-Collins|
|Introduced by||Diederick Santer|
|First appearance||24 July 2007|
|Date of birth||7 July 1974|
|Home||89b George Street|
Veronica Elizabeth "Ronnie" Mitchell is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a long-running serial drama about working class life in the East End of London, played by Samantha Womack. Ronnie and her sister Roxy were introduced by executive producer Diederick Santer in July 2007. An extension of the already established Mitchell family, Ronnie quickly became a prominent character, taking over the soap's club and forming a relationship with her business partner, Jack Branning.
In April 2007, press rumours began circulating about the introduction of two new characters, Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell. They would be an extension of the long-running and popular Mitchell family. Dubbed the Mitchell sisters, Ronnie and Roxy were to be the nieces of Peggy Mitchell's (Barbara Windsor) late husband, Eric. In an exclusive in The Sun newspaper, a BBC insider reportedly commented, "Ronnie and Roxy are set to cause mayhem this summer. They haven't been cast yet but we've got big plans for them over the coming months. EastEnders is about to get a whole lot more glamorous."
Though the BBC initially declined to comment on the new characters to the press, the rumour was confirmed on the official EastEnders website, where it was revealed that actresses Samantha Janus and Rita Simons would be playing Ronnie and Roxy respectively. Womack and Simons were the first "major" signings made by executive producer Diederick Santer. In an interview in the Daily Mirror, Santer commented, "I hope viewers will delight in the sexy, dramatic excitement that they bring to the show. They may be glamorous young women, but these girls are Mitchells and have all the strength of character and unique moral code the name implies." They have been described as "the next generation" of the Mitchells, "A newer, younger, slightly more modern type". Commenting on her new role, Samantha Womack said, "It's an amazing opportunity for me, I can't wait to start causing lots of mischief."
In a documentary that aired in 2009, EastEnders' Story Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins is credited as the creator of the Mitchell sisters, and he revelead that he had always intended Ronnie to be played by Womack, citing her beauty, toughness and fragility as facets suitable for the character.
Both Mitchell sisters were featured heavily in a BBC marketing campaign. Several promos aired on the BBC network in summer 2007. Using the slogan "The square, under new management", one promo depicted both sisters as party girls, dancing, serving tequila in The Queen Victoria public house (The Vic), shocking the older residents with their raunchy antics and squirting men with a soda syphon to the tune of "The Girls" by Calvin Harris.
Two other trailers featured Ronnie and Roxy individually. To the instrumental sound of "Little Green Bag" by George Baker (famously used in the Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs), each sister discussed their sibling, giving snippets of information on their personality and the dynamics of their relationship. Discussing Ronnie, Roxy said "My big sister Ronnie, she'd do anything to stop me getting hurt, including getting hurt herself. Boy, she means business. We mean business. We're the Mitchell sisters after all... and you don't wanna find that out the hard way." Discussing Roxy, Ronnie said "Roxy will always be my kid sister. Fights, broken hearts, over the years we've had them all. She can be quite a handful, and she's definitely gonna stir things up around here. But remember, wherever Roxy Mitchell is... I'm right behind."
The promotion was received favourably by Leigh Holmwood, television journalist for The Guardian newspaper and MediaGuardian.co.uk. He commented, "now there's more to the long running BBC1 soap, apparently...Yes, it's the new sexed-up, soft focus, raunchy EastEnders trailer and it's hitting your TV screens now. In a bid to welcome the Mitchell sisters to Albert Square, the beeb have pulled out all the stops and come up with a very slick marketing campaign indeed." Referencing to the soap's reputation for being miserable and depressing, Holmwood said that the upbeat trailers were "about as un-EastEnders as you can get...Maybe the arrival of Roxy and Ronnie will herald a new golden age for the soap? Or maybe the BBC marketing department is just very good at putting a trailer together..."
In addition to the trailers, the BBC also planned a "glitzy" EastEnders BBC Radio 1 competition to promote the arrival on the Mitchell sisters, called "I love R&R" (Ronnie and Roxy). It ran from the end of June 2007, and included online promotion and video via the website "Iloverandr.com". The prize consisted of VIP tickets to a special party, which was to be attended by EastEnders actors and Radio 1 DJ Dave Pearce. Despite inviting the winners to attend, Radio 1 cancelled the event due to orders from BBC director general Mark Thompson, who called a halt to all BBC radio, TV and online competitions following a review of its programming, which uncovered scores of editorial breaches. Radio 1 reportedly decided to cancel the promotion as a "precautionary measure", though it is unknown whether the competition breached the BBC ban. Winners were instead told that they would be getting a tour of the EastEnders set, and the website was closed down on 26 July 2007.
In an interview, Womack described her character as being "the more sensible and clever of the sisters, but she has a caustic tongue. She won't trust anyone enough to let them get close to her, although all she really wants is to trust again. They are very, very loyal. She would kill for her sister." Ronnie has also been described as the ice, as opposed to Roxy's fire, as having a dark side to her personality, being affected by her past, and being a control freak. Womack has commented, "She's not honest with herself and others, always hiding and guarding something. She's deeply damaged, she's been taught not to show her feelings. She's been taught to be a survivor and she survives by controlling: controlling her sister's life, controlling her own life and controlling others, and the minute she's taken out of that comfort zone, she starts to unravel quite quickly. She's definitely motivated by something that happened to her when she was younger. That pretty much defines her...that's the thing that defines who she is."
Ronnie is in her thirties, and the elder of the two sisters. Both sisters have been described as glamorous, and have been compared to the Kray twins, Ronnie and Reggie. Womack has noted that it is no coincidence that the sisters are named Ronnie and Roxy. She also describes the sisters as "co-dependent and dysfunctional", as well as "chilling, dark and absolutely in touch with what the other is doing". Rita Simons has described Ronnie's character as "armoured".
Shortly after the character's introduction, various references to secrets from Ronnie's past were made between the sisters. In addition, a volatile relationship between Ronnie and her father, Archie (then unseen), was hinted at. Commenting on this, Womack said, "[Ronnie]’s starting to shed her layers and all her secrets are coming out. We’re starting to see more of her darker side. It’s nice to see what’s going on with her underneath it all. I think a lot of her history and past has affected her." As part of the character's wardrobe, Ronnie was frequently seen on-screen wearing a locket around her neck. The significance of the locket was not revealed until May 2008 when Ronnie finally disclosed that it contained a picture of her baby, whom her father had forced her to give away at birth when she was 14 years old. In the storyline, it was explained that Ronnie had never got over the hurt of losing her child and had never forgiven her father for it, and according to Womack, this was why Ronnie had appeared "so damaged and guarded".
The animosity between Ronnie and her father was explored initially in July 2008, when actor Larry Lamb made his first appearance as Archie. Various revelations featured during the episodes, including Archie's admission that Ronnie's daughter had died 13 years prior, and a death threat made by Archie to Ronnie. Lamb commented, "Ronnie brings out the worst in Archie and he gets vicious. Archie wants to put right these long-standing problems he has with Ronnie but things just get worse." Lamb has continued that he believes Archie's relationship with Ronnie suffered when he realised that he could not control her and a storyliner has suggested that Archie views Ronnie as damaged goods and is somewhat "disgusted" by her. Santer has said that Archie telling Ronnie that her daughter died is a way of controlling her.
In December 2009, Archie is murdered in a "whodunit" storyline. Santer talked about upcoming storylines, saying: "With Ronnie, her psychology is always so tied up with her dad, so will her dad's death finally bring her peace? Or will it mess her up even more? I'd like to think that with his death comes some kind of closure. But then if it's her that actually kills him she might not get that..."
However, in a plot twist, it was revealed to viewers that Archie had lied and Ronnie's baby had not died. Ronnie's daughter was introduced as Danielle Jones (Lauren Crace) in August 2008. In the storyline, Danielle's true identity was kept from Ronnie. Series writer Simon Ashdown explained why Danielle kept her identity secret: "The idea about Danielle was that she was hurt and broken by her life and being rejected by this mother that the thing she fears worst of all is being rejected again. So she holds off, she wants to get to know Ronnie, and charm her and make her like her and then tell Ronnie who she is."
The relationship between the two began to develop when Danielle fell pregnant, and was supported in seeking an abortion by Ronnie. Treadwell-Collins has explained that Danielle's pregnancy was a plot-device to bring the two closer together, discussing the tragedy of Ronnie being unaware she was encouraging the abortion of her own grandchild. Of Danielle's emotions during this period, Crace illuminated: "Having Ronnie show her some affection and willingly offering to come with her and to help her and give her advice, it was a huge thing for Danielle, because from always being knocked back by Ronnie, from always being knocked back by everybody, suddenly someone out of the blue offered to help her, and it was the one person in the world that she wants to be there." When Ronnie failed to attend Danielle's second clinic appointment, Danielle was, in Crace's opinion, "hurt and distraught", describing the development as "a step back for Danielle" whereby "she probably feels less willing than ever to tell Ronnie the truth than before". On Ronnie's part, Womack assessed that "Ronnie knows she wants to help this young girl but she's not sure why they have this bond". She explained: "Ronnie knows that Danielle is very vulnerable and is in Walford with no family and only a few friends. As Ronnie gave her a job in R&R maybe she thinks that Danielle interpreted that that as more than it was." Asked if Ronnie had noticed the resemblance between herself and Danielle, Womack responded: "She has never thought about any resemblance - why would she? As far as Ronnie is aware her baby passed away so the thought would never have crossed her mind." Danielle became increasingly angry with Ronnie, believing that she deserved to belong to the Mitchell family. The writers had Archie Mitchell discover Danielle's identity as "a test of character", posing the question: "would he be despicable enough not to tell Ronnie?" Actor Larry Lamb commented that his character felt Danielle posed "a huge threat" to his family which would expose his lie. Crace offered the insight that although Danielle sees Archie as “a domineering figure”, she initially trusts him and believes he will reunite her with her mother when the time is right. However, as time passes, "she starts to see Archie’s true colours and is scared by this different side to him." Asked how Danielle feels about being accepted into the Mitchell family, Crace explained: "When she first came to Albert Square, Danielle didn’t really know what to expect. For one thing, she never thought her mum would be so young and attractive and own a night club. That’s pretty cool! But she is so pleased that Ronnie is her mother and can’t wait for her secret to be revealed at last." On Danielle's developing relationship with Ronnie at the time, Crace expanded: "Those two have such a turbulent relationship - one minute Ronnie's really nice to Danielle, the next she's ignoring her and calling her a freak. But at the end of the day, Ronnie's her mum, and deep down, that's all Danielle has ever wanted."
The ultimate revelation of Danielle's true identity was set at Archie's wedding to Peggy. Crace deemed the wedding "the perfect opportunity" for the storyline to conclude, while Santer explained: "Weddings are great because they bring the community together. A wedding gives you a stage, it gives you an event, the context to play things out, so it felt right that these big Mitchell stories would collide at Peggy's wedding." Writer James Payne concurred: "There's no point making the reveal of the Mitchell secret in the caff at half past nine in the morning over a bacon sandwich, it's not EastEnders. EastEnders at its best will make that moment as dramatic and sensational as it possibly can be." The episode saw Danielle announce that she was Ronnie's daughter in front of the entire wedding reception party, in what Crace has named her favourite scene on the show. She opined that the disbelief Danielle was faced with was "heartbreaking" and served to highlight the fact that "she came as the outsider and she still is the outsider because no one steps in to help her".
In a further plot twist, just as Ronnie realises that Danielle is her daughter, Danielle is run down by local resident Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) minutes after revealing her true identity, subsequently dying in her mother's arms. Although different outcomes to the storyline were considered, Santer explained that "we always came back to [Danielle dying] because in the end, Ronnie is our tragic heroine character". Treadwell-Collins opined that "to give Ronnie her daughter at the last minute and then take her away suddenly is horrible, and the viewers could hate us for it. But if you have Ronnie have her daughter, this one thing that is key to her character, you weaken her character as you go along." Santer agreed that while having Ronnie and Danielle spend time together as mother and daughter would be touching, ultimately it would become boring. Danielle's death received a mixed reaction from the EastEnders fanbase, with 90% of viewers polled by The Sun opining that killing Danielle off was a mistake, however the decision was defended by Santer, who stated: "Last night's EastEnders contained all the elements of a classic soap episode – a wedding, high drama and tragedy. We acknowledge that we didn't deliver the happy ending that many of the audience may have been hoping for, and that for some people this was upsetting. We hope viewers understand that our aim is to deliver the best drama. That doesn't always lead to a happy ending. EastEnders - like all good drama - contains a balance of storylines, both happy and sad. We’re proud of the episode, the storyline which built up to it and the way the audience have engaged with it."
Even before Ronnie made her first appearance on-screen, the press hinted towards a future relationship between her and an upcoming character, Jack Branning, played by Scott Maslen. Jack Branning was introduced in October 2007, and his association with Ronnie was developed after he became her business partner at the soap's club, "R&R". A flirtatious romance was established, which led to the start of a relationship in early 2008. The on-screen affair between Ronnie and Jack has reportedly been hard for actors Samanatha Womack and Scott Maslen, as off-screen they are close friends — Womack's husband is best friends with Maslen, and Womack is best friends with Maslen's wife. Womack has commented, "I was very honest and verbal about [being freaked out] [...] Our first kissing scene felt really uncomfortable, it was terrible, but we're over it now [...] Both our sons are slightly freaked out that one mummy seems to be kissing the other daddy, but they've been on so many film sets that they're used to us doing ludicrous things."
In the storyline, Ronnie's association with Jack caused aggravation with her family, due to Jack's rivalry with her cousin Phil, and resentment from her sister, Roxy. However, the relationship ended less than a month after it began. Roxy told Ronnie that Jack cheated on her with his ex-wife, Selina, she decided not to move in with him, and punched him. In an interview in the TV Times, Womack commented, "She [Ronnie] has a problem with physical violence. Any time she's up against it or feels she's been lied to, she lashes out".
Despite this, the characters' on/off romance was resurrected later in the year, facilitating a plot twist whereby Jack, angered after another breakup with Ronnie, was seduced by Roxy as revenge for Ronnie interfering in her love life. This resulted in a "who's the daddy?" storyline, which began in April 2008 and continued throughout the year, with both Jack and Sean Slater (Rob Kazinsky) potential candidates for the father of Roxy's unborn child, though Ronnie remained unaware of Jack and Roxy's liaison. Rita Simons, who plays Roxy, said: "Jack winds Roxy up by suggesting that Ronnie controls her, so she decides to prove him wrong - and kisses him. Afterwards it's really awkward between them. They can barely look at one another." In the storyline, Roxy and Jack agreed to keep their affair secret, while Roxy appropriated Sean Slater as the father, and married him. 
Jack and Ronnie then retained an on/off relationship and after splitting up when her niece's paternity was revealed, they reconciled in May 2009 after Ronnie went on a quest to get pregnant. However, the split when it was revealed Ronnie was piercing Jack's condoms in order to get herself pregnant.
Ronnie is the oldest daughter of Archie and Glenda Mitchell. She was raped by her father as a child, and fell pregnant by her boyfriend Joel Reynolds at the age of 14. Glenda walked out on her family when Ronnie was five months pregnant, as a result of Archie's constant philandering. When Archie discovered Ronnie's pregnancy, Archie told her to stay away from her boyfriend Joel Reynolds, but she refused. He sent her to live with distant relatives, where she gave birth to her daughter, Amy, on 26 June 1989. However, just hours after the birth, Archie had the baby adopted. Ronnie disowned her father and left home in 1993, when she was 19. Ronnie's only memory of her daughter was a locket with her picture inside. Her daughter had an identical locket with Ronnie's picture. Ronnie and her sister Roxy later moved to Ibiza, where they ran a bar together.
Ronnie travels to Walford from Ibiza with Roxy to attend her cousin Phil Mitchell's wedding to Stella Crawford. The sisters decide to stay and look after the family's pub, The Queen Victoria, whilst the rest of the family are on holiday. Ronnie wants her own club with Roxy and negotiates the purchase of Scarlet's, but loses out to Jack Branning. They go into partnership but Ronnie keeps this a secret from her family. At the opening night of the club, now named R&R, Roxy discovers that she has no claim to the business, starting a series of feuds between her and Ronnie. Ronnie and Jack are attracted to each other and kiss on Christmas Day 2007. They start a relationship, but Ronnie breaks up with Jack upon discovering he had a one night stand with his ex-wife, Selina. They slowly start to grow close again, but Jack ends up sleeping with Roxy, who discovers she is pregnant. She is initially unsure whether Jack or Sean Slater is the father, but later discovers it to be Jack, after having married Sean and told everyone the baby is his.
Roxy's pregnancy brings back painful memories for Ronnie and she reveals to Peggy in May 2008 that she had a daughter, Amy, when she was just 14 years old. Not wanting Roxy to be denied the chance of motherhood like she was, Ronnie offers to support her sister and the baby and they return to Ibiza. Ronnie returns to Walford a few weeks later in search of Roxy, who went missing after an argument. She finds her sister staying with their father in Weymouth, and is furious at being reunited with him after 15 years of estrangement. He threatens to destroy Ronnie if she comes between him and Roxy, and lies that her daughter died when she was three years old. Ronnie is relieved when Roxy agrees to return to the Square but horrified when Peggy announces she and Archie are getting married. The Vic's new cleaner, Danielle Jones, is revealed to be Ronnie's daughter who has come to Walford to find her birth-mother, though she withholds her identity after she and Ronnie get off on the wrong foot. Roxy, meanwhile, gives birth to a baby girl who she names Amy in honour of the daughter Ronnie lost.
Ronnie realises she still loves Jack, and they share a kiss on Christmas Day 2008. That same day, however, it is revealed that Jack is Amy's father, and Ronnie declares that she wants nothing more to do with either Roxy or Jack, though later comes to forgive them and accept what has happened. When Danielle discovers she is pregnant, she confides in Ronnie, who supports her through an abortion. When Danielle begins reminding Ronnie of the child she lost, she starts to keep her distance. She and Archie eventually reconcile, and Ronnie decides to move on from her deceased daughter and attend Archie and Peggy's wedding, unaware that Archie has discovered Danielle's true identity and the lengths to which he has gone to stop her from telling Ronnie.
Danielle tells Ronnie that she is her daughter at Archie and Peggy's wedding reception, but Ronnie refuses to believe her, throwing her out. When she discovers Danielle's locket inside her champagne flute as she is giving a speech, however, she realises she was telling the truth, and runs after her. Ronnie finds Danielle at the tube station, and calls to her from across the street. Realising that her mother finally believes and accepts her, Danielle runs towards Ronnie to reunite with her, but is mowed down by a speeding Janine Butcher in front of a devastated Ronnie, dying in her arms only a few moments later.
Ronnie struggles to come to terms with Danielle's death and severs all ties with Archie once more, whilst also attending Danielle's funeral and breaking down at her graveside. On the day of Amy's christening, a drunken Ronnie causes a scene at the church and later catches Roxy and Jack kissing. Crushed, she returns home and packs a bag, heading for Stanstead airport. As Ronnie is about to board a flight to Ibiza, Jack declares his love for her over the tannoy and she agrees to give him another chance, though her desire for a baby soon drives them apart when Jack discovers she has been piercing his condoms because he refused to start a family with her. Despite having only gotten engaged that afternoon, Jack and Ronnie's relationship ends and she leaves the Square before Jack has a chance to tell her that he does want a baby with her after all.
Upon her return a month later, Ronnie sleeps with newcomer Ryan Malloy and it becomes clear that her desire for a baby is stronger than ever. When Joel Reynolds, Danielle's father and Ronnie's first love, is lured to Walford by a scheming Janine, Ronnie is shocked to see him and its not long before their feelings for each other are rekindled, with Ronnie convincing Joel to leave his wife Stephanie and three young daughters for her. Its not long before Ronnie begins to think she may be pregnant, though when Joel reveals that he had a vasectomy some years back, Ronnie is seething and throws him out, ending their relationship. She goes on to sleep with Owen Turner, and becomes pregnant with his baby. When Archie pushes Ronnie into the bar during an argument, however, she has a miscarriage. Ronnie discharged herself from hospital and confronts Archie, telling him that she would not care if he died. Archie throws her out onto the street reminding her that it was the exact spot she pushed Danielle onto the night she died. Later that night, Archie is murdered and Ronnie finds his body, cradling him as he dies and struggles to say "Veronica, I'm sorry". Ronnie is arrested on suspicion of murder, but is released as the police do not have enough evidence to charge her.
Ronnie and Roxy's mother Glenda arrives in Walford to ensure her daughters get what they deserve from Archie's will. When Ronnie asks why she abandoned them as children, Glenda reveals that she was pregnant. Glenda leaves, but Ronnie traces her to her home in Brixton, where Glenda explains that her son, Danny, does not know he has sisters. She admits that she is estranged from her son, and hopes to make up for lost time with Ronnie, however Ronnie is upset when Glenda calls her Veronica, and leaves. Ronnie celebrates on the day of Archie's funeral, causing an argument with Roxy. As they row, they are interrupted by the arrival of Danny. After a visit from Glenda to prove that Danny is who he claims to be, Danny gets talking to his sisters who ask him to stay, against Glenda's wishes. Ronnie behaves erratically in the wake of her father's death, tearing up the flowers on his grave, hitting DCI Jill Marsden in the face, slapping Janine and throwing red paint over a poster of Archie erected in Albert Square. Roxy accuses Ronnie of killing Archie, but Ronnie tells Roxy she has found out that Archie raped Stacey Slater, and says he was capable as he raped her as a child. After Stacey's husband Bradley Branning dies after becoming the prime suspect, police drop the case believing the killer to be dead. Ronnie decides to move out of The Queen Victoria and asks Ian Beale to rent one of his flats. When the beauty salon comes up for auction, Ronnie announces her plans to purchase it and turn it into a bar. Roxy also wants to buy the premises and they bid against each other, ending with Ronnie letting Roxy win after pushing up the price. Ronnie then encounters a girl who is looking for her father, Phil. Ronnie offers to take her to him, however, when she sees him arguing she tells the girl, Louise, that she could not find him and she is taken into care.
Following their introductory episode in July 2007, both Mitchell sisters were received favourably by Mark Wright of The Stage. He commented that "Within an episode, Roxy and Ronnie look right at home" and that "they’re in the same tradition of strong soap women that ‘Enders seems to have been lacking since the exit of Kat Moon", a popular character who left the serial in 2005. He added that Samantha Womack "brings a calm but firm presence to the table as Ronnie."
Both Womack and Simons won 'Best Onscreen Partnership' at the 2008 Digital Spy Soap Awards and also won Best Newcomers at the TV Now Awards. Womack also won Best Newcomer at the Daily Star Soaper Star Awards. Samantha Womack has been nominated for Best Actress at the 2009 British Soap Awards for her portrayal of Ronnie.
Treadwell-Collins has suggested that the audience were "not quite sure what to make of [Ronnie]" at first, due to her being cool and guarded. However, he insists that this was exactly what they wanted. They wanted viewers to become intrigued by Ronnie's coldness, and once that happened they started introducing aspects of Ronnie's backstory, making viewers more sympathetic towards the character. Womack believes that the introduction of her character's father was "fundemental to Ronnie and how she was perceived by the audience. This was the underbelly of why everything had gone wrong in her life, and so these scenes were always going to be really, really important."