EastEnders fans were left blinking away tears during Monday night's visit to Walford, as stoic Shirley Carter let her softer side show.
Shirley was comforting Frankie Lewis over the incarceration of her paedophile mother Katy as Frankie sat down to read a newspaper article about her trial.
"Why are you putting yourself through this?" Shirley asked when she found Frankie sitting at the table with the paper.
"They're all gonna think that she's a monster, but I want to show them that she's not. She's still my mum. She's still family," Frankie explained.
"After everything she's done?" Shirley pressed, but later decided to take Frankie's mind off things by offering to take her on a driving lesson.
"Not round the square. How about we go to Southend, and we see how you manage that?" she asked gently.
And emotional fans were welling up at the exchange, with one tweeting: "Shirley supporting Frankie!" with a crying GIF.
"That's the Shirley I've been waiting to see since she got back!" another gushed.
"Awww Shirley you're really a pussycat!" someone else posted.
While a fourth added: "I love seeing the softer side to Shirley!"
Earlier in the episode, Shirley cornered Frankie on the stairs, as she said: "About yesterday… That took guts.
"You stuck by your guns just like your dad – we didn't give him any grief for what he did. We're not gonna give you any either."
Frankie had provided a character reference for her mum's defence at the trial – and was clearly worried about the repercussions it would have within her family.
Fans celebrated on Friday night as Katy was finally put behind bars as justice for abusing Mick Carter as a child.
Mick was bravely preparing to read out his statement when he found Nancy having a seizure outside – meaning it had to be read out by another barrister as he rushed to save her.
Thankfully, he arrived just in time to hear Katy's sentencing.
Fans were clearly thrilled by the epic conclusion, with one posting on social media: "Katy has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Mick has received the closure he needs."
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Another echoed: "Great ending to the storyline. The outcome we wanted."
Mick's tragic past was unveiled in October, as it was revealed that Frankie was his long-lost daughter.
He had fathered her with care worker Katy when he was aged just 12.
But Shirley found out the truth as she overheard Katy threatening her son, and immediately called the police to report the crime.
EastEnders airs on Mondays and Fridays at 8pm, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm.
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