Sam Mitchell's most shocking moments in EastEnders — ranked!

EastEnders Sam Mitchell fights Chrissie behind the bar in the Queen Viv
Wherever Sam Mitchell goes, drama is never far behind. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders Sam Mitchell is returning to Walford in what's being tipped as an explosive comeback for the iconic character. 

Kim Metcalf will be reprising the role of Sam, having previously played her between 2002 and 2005, and said she is thrilled to be back on the famous EastEnders' set. The part was originally portrayed by Danniella Westbrook back in 1990, and she later returned for two stints between 2009-10 and in 2016.

Being the daughter of the late great Peggy Mitchell and younger sister of Phil and Grant, Sam follows in the faaamily line of creating chaos wherever she goes. And with Phil now facing a future behind bars, BBC's head of continuing drama Kate Oates has told us Sam is 'ready to take what she sees as her rightful place in the Mitchell empire'. 

While we can't wait to see what Sam gets up to next, she's certainly no stranger to drama. Over the years she's been involved in a murder cover-up, given birth in prison, been caught in very compromising situations and had numerous disastrous relationships with the wrong kind of men. 

Here are Sam Mitchell's most shocking moments — ranked...

9. Her horrendous choice in men 

EastEnders Sam and Ricky cuddle

The path to true love has never run smoothly for Sam.  (Image credit: BBC)

Flirty Sam has never had any trouble in attracting the opposite sex, even if most of her exes have been complete rotters. Her first marriage to Ricky fizzled out, but the teenage sweethearts went on to have several turbulent flings over the years, much to the annoyance of Ricky's other on/off missus Bianca Jackson. 

Sam's second trip down the aisle with Andy Hunter was another short-lived disaster, which resulted in her getting robbed blind. She may not have a type, but Miss Mitchell's clearly got a thing for coppers, having been romantically involved with Italian stallion Beppe di Marco back in the nineties, and then falling pregnant by Jack Branning. 

Sam had a one-night stand with smooth operator Steve Owen, went out with domestic abuser Trevor Morgan (what was she thinking?!), dated Dennis Rickman and even bedded her second cousin, Billy. Ew. 

The only fella who probably ever truly loved Sam was dopey mechanic Minty Peterson, who was prepared to do just about anything to make her happy. But after years of leading him on, Sam finally did the right thing by letting poor Minty know she wanted to be just mates. We wonder who she'll hook up with next?

8. She's been caught in the act... more than once!

Sam's had some embarrassing moments in her time, normally involving her getting caught in compromising situations. While on a lads' holiday in Spain back in 1995, Phil and Grant got more than they had bargained for when they caught their baby sister in bed with Albert Square love rat David Wicks. Let's just say they weren't happy. 

And in 2002 it was Peggy's turn to see more of her Samantha than she'd have wished for when she walked into a Spanish club and found her working as a lap dancer. Incidentally, this scene was Kim Metcalf's debut on the soap — what an entrance!

Sam certainly inherited her mum's good looks, and the pretty teen was overjoyed when she won the title of Miss Queen Vic. After scooping the coveted gong, Sam set her sights on a successful career in fashion modelling and thought she was in luck when a professional photographer agreed to do a portfolio for her. Unfortunately the snapper had other intentions and talked Sam into posing for a series of topless photographs. The explicit images ended up getting published in a motor trade magazine, leaving Sam red-faced and forced to explain herself to her fuming family. 

6. She gave birth while serving time in prison

EastEnders Sam Mitchell gives birth with a prison guard next to her

Sam gave birth to son Ricky while in jail.  (Image credit: BBC)

Back in 2010, Peggy got an unexpected surprise when she visited Sam in prison and found her heavily pregnant. The discovery sparked a classic EastEnders' 'Who's the Daddy' storyline, with Sam admitting both Ricky Butcher and Jack Branning could be the tot's father. 

After giving birth to baby Richard, Sam returned to the Square, and it soon emerged Jack was the little boy's father. But when Jack's new girlfriend Ronnie stopped him having a relationship with Richard, Sam took her son and moved to Portugal. 

The pair returned six years later for Peggy's funeral, but it wasn't long before Sam decided she could no longer look after Richard, now called Ricky, and left him behind in Walford. Since then the lad has been living with his dad and new step mum, Denise, but it's likely Sam is going to want to make up for lost time when she comes back home. The question is, will Ricky be able to forgive his mum for abandoning him?

5. She eloped to Gretna Green with Ricky Butcher

EastEnders Sam Mitchell marries Ricky Butcher in Gretna Green

Ricky and Sam's fairytale marriage didn't last long.  (Image credit: BBC)

Sam arrived in Walford in 1990 as a headstrong 15-year-old and quickly began dating local mechanic Ricky Butcher. Overprotective Grant and Phil didn't think much of their sister's choice of boyfriend and tried to split the young lovers up. But stubborn Sam and Ricky were determined to be together and decided to run off to Gretna Green and get hitched without their parents' consent. 

Their plan was rumbled and the Mitchell brothers raced up to Scotland, arriving just as Sam and Ricky were about to say I do. The wedding went ahead, and Peggy admitted defeat by attending a formal blessing for Mr and Mrs Butcher a month later. 

Unfortunately, the couple never got their happy ending, and after cheating with a flash fella named Clive, Sam called time on her marriage, leaving Ricky, and Walford, to go and work on a cruise ship.

4. She was responsible for a near-fatal arson attack

While Phil was on the run after escaping prison for armed robbery, Sam was entrusted with the tough task of managing the Mitchell empire. And it would be safe to say she made a right mess of it. With their finances rapidly depleting, Sam talked her cousin Billy into torching Phil's snooker club so they could claim on the insurance. But her plan backfired terribly when the blaze spread to Den Watts' nightclub and almost claimed the life of his daughter, Vicki Fowler. Mercifully, Vicki managed to escape being burnt alive, but Den vowed to have his revenge on Sam.

3. She was conned out of the Mitchell family fortune

Sam has an unfortunate knack of falling for the wrong guy, and never more so than in the case of villain Andy Hunter. The dangerous gangster was on a mission to take control of Phil's business empire and seducing Sam was all part of his game plan. 

After marrying her purely for the money, Andy was able to trick his new bride into signing over Phil's house. And poor Sam was then fleeced out of her family's fortune by conman lawyer Marcus Christie and Dirty Den. Realising she was no longer of any use to him, Andy turfed Sam out onto the streets, leaving her homeless and penniless. 

When Andy was murdered, coincidentally on the same day Den had his brains bashed in, Sam thought she'd inherit all her late husband's assets. But even six feet under Andy had the last laugh by leaving her nothing but a measly wedding ring, with instruction to sell it and use the dosh to get her roots done. Charming!

2. She was a suspect in the who killed Archie Mitchell case

EastEnders suspects for the Archie Mitchell murder

Sam found herself prime suspect in the 'Who Killed Archie' drama. (Image credit: BBC)

When evil Archie Mitchell had his head caved in by the Queen Vic bust on Christmas Day 2009, there was a long lineup of murder suspects — and Sam was one of them. Archie had ruthlessly used Sam as a pawn in his plan to take the Vic from Peggy by persuading her to jump bail again and flee the country. Sam responded by stealing her uncle's fortune and doing a runner, which caused the Mitchells to lose their beloved boozer. 

Sam came back at Christmas to make it up to her family, but the timing couldn't have been worse as Archie was murdered that very same day - putting her well and truly in the frame. With their own guilty secrets to hide, the Mitchells decided Sam should take the rap for the killing and do another flit, which of course didn't go down too well. 

Sam was subsequently arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison and declared she wanted nothing more to do with Peggy and co, although she eventually changed her mind.

1. She covered up Den Watts' brutal murder

EastEnders Sam Mitchell with Zoe Slater and Chrissie Watts covering up the murder of Den Watts

Sam, Chrissie and Zoe joined forces to cover up Den's murder. (Image credit: BBC)

Sam's darkest storyline to date was her involvement in the murder of Queen Vic landlord Den Watts. In the lead-up to the grisly plot, which was the main focus of the soap's 20th anniversary, Den had swindled Sam out of the Walford boozer. 

In revenge, she teamed up with Den's scorned wife Chrissie and ex-lover Zoe Slater, and the trio, dubbed the witches of Walford, plotted to destroy him. During a violent showdown in the Vic, Zoe believed she'd killed Den, but Sam witnessed Chrissie delivering the fatal blow that claimed his life. The women buried the corpse in the pub cellar and agreed the secret stayed between the three of them. But the pressure became too much for Sam, and after unsuccessfully blackmailing Chrissie, she went on the rampage and dug up Den's body. 

Sam then found herself under arrest for murder, and cunning Chrissie was only too willing to frame her for the crime she committed. Thankfully, Sam's big brothers Phil and Grant were able to save the day by proving Chrissie's guilt and then helped her escape to Brazil while she was still on bail.

EastEnders now airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Laura Morgan
Freelance writer

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.