While some soap stars go stratospheric with their careers, others have fallen off their celeb perch in mighty fashion…
Holly may have started her career as Neighbours schoolgirl Flick Scully, but she went on to much bigger things – and much bigger money – after leaving the Aussie soap. Remember her 2002 single Kiss Kiss? It’s been stuck in our heads for nearly 15 years after it hit No 1 in April 2002. Holly released three more singles, then stopped making music, saying: ‘I do something until it’s not fun any more and then move on. Music wasn’t fun any more.’ After roles in both Entourage and Prison Break and competing on Strictly, Holly married property tycoon Nick Candy in 2012, welcoming son Luca the following year. Not short of a few bob, Nick bought Holly, 33, a £26m yacht last year. Nice.
‘Dirty Den’ Watts was EastEnders’ original baddie. He had dodgy dealings and several affairs from 1985 until 1989, when he was ‘killed’ at the canal by a man hiding a gun in a bunch of daffodils. After numerous attempts by soap bosses to lure Leslie back to the star role, in 2003 he finally gave in, bagging himself a £500k-a-year contract in the process. But his time on the show was cut short after photos of him sucking his finger and masturbating via webcam from his dressing room to an undercover reporter emerged. Den was killed off for good in 2005 by wife Chrissie, who hit him over the head with a dog-shaped iron doorstop.
Where would we be without Kylie? After starting out in Neighbours as Charlene Mitchell in 1986, 20 million UK viewers watched her character marry Scott Robinson (Jason Donovan) in one of the soap’s most iconic episodes. But Kylie soon left Erinsborough for the world of pop, landing huge hits such as 1988’s I Should Be So Lucky. To date, the 48-year-old’s achieved seven UK chart-toppers, including comeback track Spinning Around in 2000 – who can forget those gold hotpants? Still going strong, she’s our pop princess.
Paul was every girl’s pin-up, starring as Joe Wicks in EastEnders from 1996 to 1997. After leaving the soap, Paul admitted he’d struggled with his newfound fame, saying: ‘I didn’t want to be a heartthrob and I couldn’t handle the attention. I was well on my way to a total breakdown. I was drinking a lot and taking drugs.’ After cleaning up his act, Paul landed the role of Jed in Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason in 2004. But in 2015 he hit headlines for the wrong reasons when he was filmed smoking a ‘suspicious pipe’. Now 37, he’s since featured in shows like Grantchester.
Michelle took on the role of Corrie’s Tina McIntyre for six years until 2014, when the character was killed off in a grisly whodunnit. She’s since starred in Ordinary Lies and war drama Our Girl. More recently the 29-year-old’s been back on the box as WAG Tina Moore in drama Tina & Bobby. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she’s said to be in talks to star in the next Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. A source says: ‘They [the film’s producers] loved Michelle’s acting talent and her whole look.’ Watch this space!
Will first came to our attention as James ‘Jambo’ Bolton in Hollyoaks, from 1995 to 1998, in the early days of the soap. He says the role ‘changed my life’, adding: ‘I learned my trade from doing Hollyoaks. It was my induction and I see it as a real career choice.’ Will went on to become a household name in classic noughties comedy Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, alongside Sheridan Smith, Ralf Little and his Hollyoaks co-star Natalie Casey. In 2013, we saw him in a different, more serious light when he played a creepy telephone engineer in critically acclaimed drama Broadchurch. Now 40, he’s currently starring in BAFTA-nominated police comedy No Offence. Not just a pretty face, then.
Margot’s one of the brightest stars in Hollywood right now, but did you know she started her acting career in Neighbours as Donna Freedman from 2008 to 2011? She credits the Aussie soap with giving her the right kind of exposure, saying: ‘The role was a much better career move than doing indie films that weren’t really ever going to get distributed or seen at all.’ Since hitting the big screen opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013’s Oscar-nominated The Wolf Of Wolf Street, the 26-year-old has wowed as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad.
We loved him as Justin Burton in Hollyoaks from 2003 to 2009, and then Chris swapped Chester for Weatherfield to play Tommy Duckworth. All was going well until he was unmasked as internet rapper The Phantom, whose lyrics demeaned women and glorified violence. Chris, now 29, said he was ‘deeply ashamed’ of his actions but that didn’t stop him being axed from Corrie in 2013.
Kiwi actor Alan played Jim Robinson in Neighbours from 1985 to 1993, appearing in the show’s first-ever episode. He left after a falling-out with producers, saying: ‘They practically forced us to be miserable. It paid me enough to get my boys through their teenage years, but I wasn’t happy and we parted on bad terms.’ Although he initially struggled to find work in Australia as he had been typecast as Jim, Alan went on to achieve success Stateside, after he moved to LA in 2000 and took acting lessons. Now 69, he’s since starred in The OC, Ugly Betty, Entourage, NCIS and Once Upon A Time. Looks like Ramsay Street can be quite the springboard for an illustrious career…