Bobby Beale is the son of Ian and Laura Beale (Adam Woodyatt and Hannah Waterman). Kevin Curran played Bobby from 2003 to 2007, who was replaced by Alex Francis on 7 May 2007. Francis was not credited in the role until 10 March 2008.

Laura becomes pregnant after a drunken fling whilst married to Ian Beale with Garry Hobbs (Ricky Groves). Ian had earlier had a secret vasectomy and assumes the child is not his, so he throws Laura out on Christmas Day, when she is in the early stages of pregnancy. Laura continues to let Garry believe he is the father after Bobby's birth, despite the fact that Laura knows that Ian is the father after all (he had sex with Laura within six weeks of having the vasectomy, thus the procedure had not taken full effect), but she keeps this to herself. In 2004, Laura falls down the stairs and dies. Pat Evans (Pam St. Clement) finds Bobby's birth certificate, stating that Ian is Bobby's father. Ian takes Bobby to live with him, leaving Garry heart-broken.

Bobby now lives with Ian and his fourth wife Jane (Laurie Brett), and his older half siblings Peter and Lucy. In July 2009, Ian enters Bobby into a children's talent contest, but realises he cannot sing very well. He decides to cheat and gets Bobby's friend Colin (William Keeler) to sing while Bobby mimes. Dotty Cotton (Molly Conlin) discovers this during the contest and unplugs Colin's microphone, leaving Bobby upset.

Since Bobby's mother dies when he is nine months old, Jane is the only maternal influence in his life. Bobby thinks of Jane as his real mother (as was shown when he gives her a card on her birthday addressing her as "Mum"). Jane addresses her mum as Granny Linda (Lynda Baron) when she is talking to Bobby. In November 2009 Jane walks out on the family and Bobby takes her leaving very badly. He starts bullying Tiffany Dean (Maisie Smith), and when Tiffany confronts Bobby, he yells at her. When Ian tries to restrain Bobby, he shouts that he wants his mum. In December, Bobby goes missing from school. Jane returns to help search for him, and Bobby runs to her saying he was out looking for her.

In August 2010, Ian tells Jane that he wants her to adopt Bobby. He receives the papers in November.

In May 2011, Bobby and Ian plan to surprise a 40th birthday party for Jane. However as she walks through the door she is caught kissing a man named Martin. Bobby is confused and the next day, Ian sarcastically asks her how he should tell Bobby that Jane is possibly embarking on an affair. Bobby hears in August 2011 that Jane has died from Shenice Quinn (Lily Harvey), after Ian started lying that he was widowed to get women. Bobby is upset so Ian explains that he was only joking, and calls Jane to prove to Bobby that she is alive.