Happy 30th birthday EastEnders! How many of this lot do you remember?


It was 1985 when Britain got its first glance at the gleaming outside of Albert Square’s Queen Vic, on beloved soap EastEnders. Since then, there’s been romance, murder, incest, fighting, shock arrivals and more drama than you can Dot a Cotton at.

Now, 30 years on, we’re all waiting to find out who killed character Lucy Beale in the famous Square Common.

But what happened to the original cast who burst onto our screens all those years ago? We’ve delved into the lives of the people who started it all – and you won’t believe some of the things we have found!

Debbie Wilkins 

Shirley Cheriton, now 59, left EastEnders after two years on the soap. She now lives a quiet life in Surrey with her two sons – one 26 and one of school age – and makes occasional TV appearances, including a small role in ITV comedy FM last year.

Michelle Fowler

Susan Tully is now 46 and has directed TV shows including London’s Burning, The Bill, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Silent Witness and even EastEnders.

Den Watts 

Dirty Den‘ aka Leslie Grantham famously returned from the dead and rejoined the EastEnders cast in 2003. But after a 2004 sex scandal, Den was once again killed off. Now 67-years-old, Leslie stars in pantomimes.

Lofty Holloway 

Tom Watt is a 59-year-old respected sports journalist and even wrote David Beckham‘s autobiography: My Side. Talk about showbiz!

Dr. Harold Legg

Leonard Fenton continued acting on TV, radio and the West End following his departure from EastEnders. The 88-year-old is also a director and painter.

Nasty Nick

John Altman, 62, has returned to the cast of EastEnders an incredible seven times over the years – his character always coming back to cause further grief to his mum Dot. He finally died in his mum’s arms in February 2015.

Ali Osman

Nej Adamson, 56, played a sailor in the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films. Oooh!

Dot Cotton

June Brown, 88, remains in the Square, now as Dot Branning following her marriage to late character Jim Branning

Pete Beale

Real name also Peter, 75-year-old Mr. Dean went on to star in pantomimes and continues to act.

Simon Wicks

Nick Berry went on to play PC Nick Rowan in Heartbeat. Now 51, Nick owns his own production company called Valentine Productions.

Ian Beale

Aka, Adam Woodyatt. Now 46 and the only original actor to have never left the square. Dedication, right?!

Kathy Mitchell

Woman of many talents, Gillian Taylforth, 59, has enjoyed roles in Footballers’ Wives, The Bill, Loose Women, Strictly Come Dancing, Celebrity Big Brother and most recently, Hollyoaks, before leaving in January 2015.

Sue Osman

Sandy Ratcliff, 64, left the soap in 1989 and struggled with a heroin addiction. Shequit acting and became a counsellor. One of the last times Sandy was seen was at the Old Bailey trial of then-boyfriend Michael Shorey, who was found guilty of murdering two women. She has since retired and lives with her partner in north London.

Tony Carpenter

Oscar James, 72, who played happy-go-lucky Tony who tried to build up a business for his family but was never good enough for his nagging wife, left the soap in 1987.

He has since appeared in a wide range of TV shows – including The Bill, Emmerdale, Minder and Doctors – and the 2005 Tim Burton adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Kelvin Carpenter

Paul J Medford, 48, left the Square in 1987 when is character headed to university. He is now a successful West End actor having played in shows such as The Lion King, Hair, Five Guys Named Moe and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical.

Saeed Jeffery

Andrew Johnson, 59, played Saeed – the first owner of the First til Last grocery store. But his character left the soap after a few months in disgrace after it was revealed he’d been making rude phone calls to women behind his wife’s back. In real life, Andrew packed up his cockney accent and fled to Hollywood – but his dream film career never took off.

Angie Watts

Oh how we loved Angie! Her Christmas day storyline, when she delivered her divorce papers to Dirty Den was watched by a record-breaking 30.1m people. Real-life actress Anita Dobson left the soap in 2002. Now 65, she is married to Queen guitarist Brian May, launched a small pop career with single Anyone Can Fall In Love, and appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. She will play Elizabeth I in an upcoming documentary.

Sharon Watts

Letitia Dean, 47, appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and released a fitness DVD after EastEnders. Last year, she returned to the soap and we’re LOVING having her back on our screens.

Arthur Fowler

Good ol’ Arthur! After being bossed around by wife Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) and mother-in-law Lou Beale (Anna Wing), 84-year-old Bill Treacher left in 1996 when his character died of a brain haemorrhage. Bill has since starred in soap The Bill and Hollywood films such as The Musketeer and Tale Of The Mummy. He is now retired.

Mary the punk

Linda Davidson, now 50, is a web consultant for TV firms and runs a social media agency.

Andy O’Brien

Ross Davidson died from cancer in 2006, aged 57.

Ethel Skinner

Gretchen Franklin died in 2005 aged 94.

Lou Beale

Anna Wing died, aged 98, in July 2013.

Pauline Fowler

Wendy Richard played Pauline for an incredible 21 years and was one of the most famous star of the show. She left in 2006 and sadly died from breast cancer in 2009, aged just 65.

SEE PICTURES EastEnders‘ Sexiest Stars – Albert Square’s never looked so hot

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SEE PICTURES The EastEnders cast at the British Soap Awards 

Kim Gregory