Beatrice Alice Smith (maiden name Corruthers) was an inmate who appeared from episode 1 to 400. She was known for her hatred of drugs, pushers and child abusers and her reign as Top Dog. Bea was born in Hobart, Tasmania on 8 February 1938.
Prison lifer Bea was first sentenced to 10 years at Wentworth Detention Centre. She was sentenced for strangling a coworker at her hair salon with whom her husband Harry had been having an affair. She left behind her then 8-year-old daughter, Debbie .
Bea was first seen threatening new inmate Lynette Warner after Lynn was accused of burying a baby alive. Bea used a steam press on Lynn's hand to burn her and then coerced her to tell Mrs Davidson it was an accident so Bea could still get her release the next day.
Upon Bea's release (2) she decided to settle some scores of which she had been planning for the last 10 years - firstly to book herself into an expensive hotel and then contact her old cell mate, second, to see her daughter's grave and lastly to visit her husband. Valerie (Bea's old cellmate) gave Bea a pistol as a gift so she decided to use it to seek revenge on her husband for kicking Debbie (Bea's daughter) out of the family's home. Debbie ended up with some serious mental health issues and became addicted to heroin. Bea arrives at the house. She is greeted by her ex-husband's new mistress and Bea asks for Harry (her ex-husband) telling her to say that Bea wants to see him. Harry then tells her she's not welcome. Bea coolie replies, "I don't want to come back, I just bought you a present" before fatally shooting him in the chest in front of his new mistress.
Later, Bea returns to Wentworth where she now has a life sentence, and her arch nemesis Franky Doyle has taken over as Top Dog. This doesn't last long as Franky starts a riot which ends with Bea knocking her out and Bill Jackson (Meg's husband) getting fatally stabbed. Bea takes it upon herself to find out who the culprit is and punish them.
Although Bea was "top dog", others try to take that title for themselves; however, it was usually when Bea would escape or be transferred. Not many were game enough to try it whilst Bea was still top dog. Due to the circumstances around her daughter's death, Bea hated drug pushers and also anyone who committed crimes against children. She was also extremely protective of children. When ex-screw Anne Yates is sent to Wentworth for drug trafficking, Bea takes it upon herself to find out Anne's crime; she had always suspected Anne of dealing drugs when she was a screw. She gives her a hard time about it, leading Anne to stab Bea in the side which leads to Bea's first escape attempt whilst she is in hospital. She achieves this by drugging the police woman who is guarding her. After staying with Mum Brooks and then with her friend and old cell-mate Val, Bea is eventually dobbed in to the police by Yvonne, a teenage girl living next door. Yvonne is annoyed that Bea crashed her party out of her concern for her welfare.
For a time after this, Bea had no major story lines, mainly just being involved in other prisoners' story lines. With the arrival of Ken Pearce - an ex-prisoner who wants to set up a drama group at Wentworth - Bea has a romance. She falls for Ken who asks for Bea's help in straightening out his daughter, also called Debbie. Bea and Ken are discovered locked in a store room by the screws and Ken Pearce is banned from Wentworth for a time. He is eventually allowed to return due to a new project put forward by Erica Davidson . For a short period they have a romantic story line and Ken attempts to persuade Bea to play the 'screws' game. He also suggests to Erica that Bea should have a more intellectually stimulating job to do rather than just working in the laundry. This leads to the introduction of a Braille machine. Eventually Ken tells Bea that he's decided to reconcile with his ex-wife.
Bea eventually makes another escape attempt via a previously forgotten series of underground disused sewer tunnels. This particular escape was accidental, since Bea only went down the tunnel to bring Lizzie back. She is eventually trapped down there by a cave-in with Doreen Anderson and Lizzie Birdsworth due to an unstable prisoner, Anne Griffin blocking off the entrance. Bea goes crazy with claustrophobia and while in a panic she finds a rock to bang on a barred dead end. The trio are eventually discovered but Bea is unable to get revenge as Anne is transferred to a mental institution.
Later, Bea is transferred to Barnhurst Correctional Centre thanks to mounting tension at Wentworth. She meets Marie Winter, who has become top dog there when Bea was first transferred away. Marie drugs Bea's soup for fun. Bea 'lags' to a screw about being drugged; however, the officer reports that they already know that the prisoners take magic mushrooms and there is no harm in it. Due to the prisoners back at Wentworth campaigning to get Bea back, and the tensions caused by Margo Gaffney having taken over the newly vacant 'top dog' position, Bea is sent back to Wentworth. She suffers amnesia due to a car accident on the way. Her last memory is of life before prison, so she is confused when she finds her old house, 76 Watts St. Surrey Hills, occupied by strangers. She becomes increasingly distressed trying to find her daughter. She does however remember Mum, and while Mum realizes her amnesia is genuine, a mistake by Meg Jackson and Mum gets Bea and Mum sent to Wentworth. The prisoners believe Bea is faking to get earlier release, and Vera Bennett takes pleasure in reminding Bea of everything she has done and baiting her about her daughter's death. At this point, Margo Gaffney has taken over as Top Dog, and Bea's instincts eventually take over and she attacks Margo to defend Mum. Margo attempts to get back at Bea, and this incident causes a return of Bea's memory; however, since she already has a psychologist's report confirming that she is suffering from amnesia, Bea decides to fake that she still has it in order to attempt to get early release. Her hearing goes well for her; however, when it appears that Mum is facing a jail sentence for not reporting Bea and for allowing her to stay in her house, Bea testifies that she faked having amnesia and that she forced Mum to hide her at her house, allowing Mum to get off but sacrificing her own chance at freedom.
Bea next has a health scare.
Her kidneys are failing and she needs a donor kidney. Everyone knows that a prisoner is on the bottom of the transplant list and the prisoners decide to see if any of them are a match. Doreen Anderson is a match; however, she is too scared to have the operation. Bea forgives her possibly because she is going to die anyway. Fortunately, a road fatality provides Bea with the much needed kidney.
Following Joan Ferguson's arrival at Wentworth, Bea often comes into conflict with Ferguson.
Later on, Joan Ferguson and Sonia Stevens play evil tricks to get Bea transferred. and she gets transferred to Barnhurst permanently, and as she is never seen or heard from again, her reign of terror at Wentworth is finally over (400).
In episode 454, it is revealed that Smith had forced all the women of Barnhurst to sign a petition to release Wentworth prisoner Hannah Geldsmith who faced deportation to East Germany, indicating that she had reached 'top dog' status in Barnhurst as well.
In episode 536, it is revealed that Smith had died in a riot at Barnhurst