Irene Raymond

Irene Constance Ethel Raymond (née Carter; previously Hills) was a fictional character in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. She was played by Roberta Taylor.

Irene was never one to be tied down by her commitments, which included her own children. She had high aspirations for herself and had a penchant for the finer things in life, although she wasn't always willing to work at getting them. She tended to subscribe to the old adage that "the grass is always greener on the other side", which interfered with any chance of happiness she might have had.


Irene was the ex-wife of Ted Hills and the estranged mother of Sarah and Tony Hills, and she arrived in Albert Square following Ted's departure to South Africa in August 1997. She came to stay with her children after she was fleeced out of her divorce settlement by a conman. Her children were initially hostile to her for being absent for so many years, as was her sister-in-law Kathy, who resented her for her treatment of her brother. Irene soon managed to sway her children's opinion back in her favour and they began to grow close, although she did manage to ruin her son's relationship with Simon Raymond, when she revealed Tony's fling with his colleague Polly Becker.

Life with Terry

It wasn't long before Irene had found an eligible man to flirt with, and this happened to be the recovering alcoholic, Terry Raymond, who grabbed Irene's attention by telling her a fabricated story about his exuberant wealth. Their romance soon began to blossom and it wasn't long before they planned to marry. The ceremony took place in 1998, but just as Terry was about to say "I do", his alleged ex-wife, Louise Raymond, halted the proceedings by announcing that she and Terry were still married. Irene was furious and humiliated, but Terry managed to win her round and they decided to go on their honeymoon anyway. Despite this hitch, Irene went on to marry Terry, secretly at a registry office, after his divorce from Louise had been finalised.

Irene became good friends with the local restaurant owner Rosa di Marco and she was a fan of any new-age fad she ever came across; during her time she participated in feng shui, aromatherapy, and meditation, much to the bemusement of her sceptical husband. Together, Terry and Irene ran the local grocery store, 'The First Til Last'.

Despite Terry's desperate attempts to please Irene, he always seemed to manage to get it wrong and their relationship was often volatile, with Irene seemingly unable to communicate what she really wanted of Terry. Things reached an all time low when Irene started going through menopause in 1999. She would often get severely emotional, depressed, and irritated, particularly with Terry, who often unintentionally humiliated her about her condition. Terry was incapable of doing anything right in Irene's eyes at this time.

Irene's toyboy

Irene's restless nature meant that she soon began to tire of married life with Terry and in 1999, after continual chasing, Irene succumbed to the advances of her lodger Troy Harvey. Troy was considerably younger than Irene (almost half her age), and although he made her feel special and desirable, Troy was only playing the field and later tried it on with Irene's best friend Rosa. Irene refused to believe Rosa however and the affair continued.

Things reached a head on Christmas Day in 1999. Terry discovered a watch that Irene had got engraved for Troy and suddenly understood what had been occurring. Terry was hurt, but his angst was directed at Troy and not Irene. After sending Irene on an errand, he confronted Troy and evicted him without his wife knowing. When Irene returned she was devastated to learn that Troy had gone. Terry never let on that he had uncovered their affair. He forgave Irene, but the marriage was severely strained and Irene was never fully content or happy with her life after Troy's departure.


Terry was desperate to hang on to Irene, so after a man (who was hired by Asif Malik to drive a truck into the launderette) smashed into the First 'til Last, Terry used the insurance money to buy her a holiday in a luxury villa in Alicante, Spain in 2000. Irene was over the moon but her joy soon turned to rage when she discovered that Terry had invited fellow Walford residents Frank and Peggy Butcher, as well as Roy and Pat Evans. Whilst on holiday, Terry began to despair over Irene's obvious unhappiness with their marriage and her complaints about her dull life in Walford. In an attempt to 'call her bluff' he set Irene up with a rented car, gave her a wad of money and suggested that she leave there and then and travel the world like she had always dreamed. Unluckily for Terry, Irene leapt at the chance of freedom and left him, and he went back to Walford alone. Her current location is currently unknown, although when Terry departed in 2002 he had contacted Irene to give their marriage another chance.

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