Forget all the murder for a moment – we couldn't stop staring at how Martin Fowler AKA James Alexandrou had got all manly!

They say ‘there’s something about a man in uniform,’ and on Monday night, as we were tucked up inside watching Silent Witness, we couldn’t stop staring at one of the male police officers.

There was something about him we recognised. And then the penny dropped – it was blimmin’ Martin Fowler from EastEnders, all grown up and playing a brooding, married man who had just a touch of an angry streak.

So, once we’d figured out where we knew him from, it got us thinking. What had Martin, sorry James Alexandrou, been up to since walking away from Walford with his on screen wife Sonia, played by Natalie Cassidy?

James was just 11 when he landed his role as the trouble-maker son of Arthur and Pauline Fowler and he stayed a part of the EastEnders cast until he was 21!

‘I’ve decided to leave the show to experience other aspects of my industry. Having turned 21, I felt it was a good time to leave. I owe everything to the show and would love to come back one day – that’s if EastEnders would have me,’ he said at the time.

After that, James has appeared in numerous stage shows including Romeo and Juliet and All Quiet On The Western Front and has dabbled a little in TV too. You may have seen him pop up on your TV screen in Casualty earlier this year!

Now, aged 29, it seems the spotty, naughty teenager we grew up with is long gone.

He’s even had a few girlfriends during his time on EastEnders, James also dated fellow cast member Kara Tointon. They got together in April 2006 but split in November 2007.

We can’t wait for our second helping of James this evening when this week’s second part of the BBC murder drama concludes. It seems, no matter what, James can’t seem to escape the law. We knew a touch of bad-boy Martin was still in there!

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Lydia Southern