Lucy Benjamin – Then
Benjamin played Lisa Fowler and was involved in one of the most publicized storylines in Eastenders history. In the episode “Who Shot Phil?” Fowler confessed that she attempted to murder Phil Mitchell.
Lucy Benjamin – Now
Up until 2017, Benjamin returned to Eastenders to reprise her role several times but never returned for a recurring role, shutting down any rumors which suggested otherwise. She did have a recurring role as Denise Ellison on Casualty in 2017, and also went on a UK Nationwide tour of the West End hit show, Hairspray. She was also a contestant on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars where she won, and also took part on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Patsy Palmer – Then
Having played the loud-mouthed Bianca Jackson on the show, Patsy Palmer became everyone’s favorite redhead. The sharp-tongued resident at the Square was involved in all sorts of drama. Audiences watched Jackson be involved in affairs, deal with family problems, and have a troubled marriage to Ricky Butcher after having to undergo an abortion. Throughout her time in Walford, life for Jackson was not made easy. However, with such a fiery temper, she brought most of the drama upon herself.
Patsy Palmer – Now
Patsy left the Square for good in 2014 and uprooted with her family to the States. Along with her husband and kids, Palmer is living the high life in Malibu and is a far cry away from her days playing the character of Bianca Jackson. She has been DJing since 2012 and started DJing in the States since 2017. Patsy’s eldest son Charley has stayed in England in a hope to follow in similar footsteps to his mother and have a career in acting.
Leslie Grantham – Then
When people say, ‘this is something you’d see out of Eastenders,’ it is most likely referring to the outrageous storylines similar to the ones given to Leslie Grantham when playing Den Watts. While married to Angie, Den managed to get 16-year-old Michelle Fowler pregnant, and his character was also killed off – twice! When he was officially confirmed dead the second time, he was buried underneath the beloved Queen Vic. Since that pub was so popular, it made sense to want to be buried underneath…
Leslie Grantham – Now
While life in Walford was not ideal for “Dirty” Den Watts, things have not been so great for Leslie away from Albert Square. Having been the subject of an online scandal in 2004, things were pretty quiet on the work front for Leslie. This is following the murder conviction he was given in 1966, where he served ten tears in jail. Following his second stint on Eastenders, when his “coffin lid would be nailed shut,” he went onto appear as a stage villain in pantomime, and also appeared on The Bill.
Martine McCutcheon – Then
Martine McCutcheon came to Albert Square as Tiffany Mitchell and was first introduced as Bianca Jackson’s friend from school. Just like most people living in Albert Square, life was not made simple, and things were no different for Tiffany. She was abandoned by her mother and lived with her alcoholic father. Aside from family trouble, Tiffany was involved in relations with her landlord, Grant Mitchell, and most of her storyline revolved around that. Tiffany was killed in a dramatic episode which aired on New Year’s Eve.
Martine McCutcheon – Now
McCutcheon decided to quit the soap opera in 1998, but it was the producer’s controversial decision to have her character killed off. Even though McCutcheon quit in order to pursue a musical career, she had hoped to return to the show at some stage, but this would no longer be an option. She has since gone onto appear on the romantic comedy Love Actually, and has released four albums. Her latest album, “Lost and Found” peaked at number 17 in the UK and became her highest-charting album.
John Altman – Then
As with all soap operas, there has got to be a few bad guys. However, “Nasty” Nick Cotton takes the biscuit with this one, and he was by far Albert Square’s naughtiest cast member. Played by John Altman, Cotton killed two people, and a further two people died because of his actions. He was eventually killed off in 2015, and after having such a bad reputation, many people would have been happy to see the end of Nick Cotton.
John Altman – Now
Having first appeared in Eastenders in 1985, Altman was one of the original cast members. Although he took a five-year hiatus from the soap opera, he returned in 2014 and was killed off a year later on the 30th Anniversary of the show. Since then, Altman has written an autobiography called “In the Nick of Time,” as well as, had minor roles in film, television and stage productions. In 2010, he also became the new frontman for the band, “Heavy Metal Kids,” after the death of former frontman Gary Holton.
Susan Tully – Then
Just when most girls at 16 are off to finish their education, Susan Tully landed the big role of Michelle Fowler in Eastenders. Having been cast in 1985, she was cast from the show’s inception and remained till 1995. Her character caused quite the stir across Britain when she began having an affair and fell pregnant at 16 with 39-year-old Den Watts’ child. The role of Michelle Fowler was recast in 2016 by Jenna Russell since Tully repeatedly turned down all offers to return.
Susan Tully – Now
After playing Michelle Fowler for ten years, Tully set her sights on being behind the camera. From the late 1990’s, the former actress started directing for television, and this included Eastenders. She also worked on The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Bill, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Getting On, Truckers, Puppy Love, The A Word, and Britannia this year. She also appeared as herself in the 2011 documentary Anna, which was about her drama teacher, Anna Scher.
Martin Kemp – Then
To give the show more than just drama, Eastenders welcomed some eye candy to Albert Square when they cast Martin Kemp to play Steve Owen. Having been the bassist in the popular 80’s band, “Spandau Ballet,” Kemp became a cast member on the show in 1998 until he was killed in an explosive car crash in 2002. He became a well-recognized figure after appearing in some of the shows highest rated storylines such as the Saskia Duncan murder, and “Who Shot Phil?”
Martin Kemp – Now
Kemp has gone onto appear in stage productions, such as playing The Childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Captain Hook in Peter Pan – The World’s Biggest Pantomime. He has also guest starred in shows such as Waterloo Road, Chop Shop, and Jack Falls. His first feature film as a director was for Stalker, which was released in 2011, and he has appeared on reality television shows such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, and the British version of Celebrity Big Brother in 2012 where he came third.
Tom Watt – Then
Tom Watt played Lofty Holloway, one of the original characters from Eastenders having first starred in the third episode of the show. Generally seen as a hapless victim, Lofty’s long running storyline revolved around his relationship with Michelle Fowler. He served in the army before having to leave, and then got a job as a barman as The Old Vic. Before getting close to Fowler, he dedicated his time to visiting and looking after his sick aunt, Irene, who lived in a hospice.
Tm Watt – Now
Watt left Eastenders in 1988 after three years on the show, and he turned his attention to radio rather than TV. Other than acting, his passion lay with football, and he decided to become a sports journalist. He was also the ghost-writer for the David Beckham autobiography, “My Side.” The book became the fastest-selling UK sports autobiography of all time and won a special prize at the British Book Awards. Watt also had theatre and stage roles, and he starred in the one-man show, Fever Pitch.
Craig Fairbrass – Then
Among those suspected of shooting Phil Mitchell was Dan Sullivan, played by Craig Fairbrass. Sullivan was best known for getting himself into trouble and coming off as the tough guy in the neighborhood. While it was not Sullivan who actually killed Mitchell, there was a good reason for believing he could have been. His image to the rest of the Square and the audience made him the perfect suspect, and his exterior and reputation would have given the impression that it was something he could have done.
Craig Fairbrass – Now
Since his bad boy days in Albert Square, Craig can be seen in the movie Rise of the Footsoldier, as well as The Bank Job, Devil’s Playground, and White Noise: The Light. In 2015, Sullivan starred in the revenge thriller London Heist, in which he co-wrote and played the lead role of Jack Cregan. The film was produced by his son, Luke Fairbrass, and Craig went onto win the Best Actor Award for that role at the Marbella Film Festival.
Nick Berry – Then
Nick Berry joined the cast of Eastenders as Simon Wicks in 1985, making him one of the original characters. Wicks was certainly kind on the eyes and was a pin-up for many female fans. However, it wasn’t just his good looks that won the ladies over, but after performing the song, “Every Loser Wins,” the song was released as a single and made it to number one on the UK charts. Wicks was also known for his adulterous behavior with Cindy Beale.
Nick Berry – Now
Other than appearing in one episode in 2012, Berry left the show for good in 1990. He went on to have a recurring role as PC Nick Rowan in the drama series Heartbeart, as well as a brief musical career. Berry recorded the title song, “Heartbeat”, which made it to number two on the charts. After a few more acting roles, Berry retired from acting and opened his own production company called Valentine Productions. Berry has been married since 1994, and has two sons, Louis and Finley.
Paul Nicholls – Then
Paul Nicholls took on the role of Joe Wicks on Eastenders, and during his time on the show for just one year, his character was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He had originally come to Albert Square in search of his father, after the death of his sister. While at times he could appear to be acting out of the ordinary, such as covering the whole room in newspaper articles relating to aliens, it was his baby-face that won over the heart of the nation, and he was a much-loved character.
Paul Nicholls – Now
Nicholls has also featured in television shows such as Holby City, Law & Order: UK, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, The Passion, and A Thing Called Love. He had a cameo role in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and had several stage roles in shows such Aladdin – Genie of the Ring, and Billy Liar. While traveling in Thailand in 2017, Nicholls fell from a waterfall and was stranded for three days. He was eventually rescued and suffered from two broken legs and a shattered knee.
Michael French – Then
Michael French was involved in many storylines when he took on the role as David Wicks. Wicks may have been seen as the George Clooney of Walford, but he had a troubled and dysfunctional relationship with his biological children Bianca and Joe, as well as an equally volatile relationship with his mother, Pat Butcher. He also had an affair with his half-sister-in-law, Cindy Beale, and his last romance in Albert Square was with Carol Jackson until that broke down.
Michael French – Now
Michael French went from starring in one British TV classic to having roles in another two! He had recurring roles on both medical dramas, Casualty and Holby City, while still also making appearances in Eastenders throughout the years. He returned in September 2013, but left the soap opera for good in May 2014, making that his final appearance to date. He has had some success in theatre productions too, having starred in Art, Heart, and as Billy Flynn in the West End version of Chicago.
Anita Dobson – Then
Angie Watts could be spotted out from the crowd thanks to her shaggy perm, but it was her struggle with alcohol which really defined her time in Walford. After going through a troubled marriage with her cheating husband, Den, she finally hands over her divorce papers on Christmas Day 1986. However, the end of her marriage was not an end to her problem with alcohol, and it was her eventual downfall and the reason she died in 2002.
Anita Dobson – Now
After Dobson quit the hit soap opera in 1988, she appeared on the ITV sitcom Split Ends and guest starred in Call the Midwife for the 2017 Christmas special. The wife of Queen guitarist Brian May also had great success on stage, being nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress for the National Theatre production of Frozen. She also appeared on stage in Chicago, Hamlet, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Away from television and theater, she has also had appearances in films such as Darkness Falls and London Road.
Michelle Collins – Then
Michelle Collins played Cindy who was known for having many romantic encounters while living in Albert Square. Although she constantly tried to settle down with Ian Beale, she was unable to remain faithful to him and always had her eye on the next lothario of Walford. It is no surprise, then, that she was often caught lying and a selfish person most of the time, thinking of her own needs and putting herself before others, even when it came to her family.
Michelle Collins – Now
After playing Cindy for ten years, with a two-year break in between, Collins moved to another popular British soap opera – the biggest rival to Eastenders – Coronation Street. However, due to a lack of airtime for her character she decided to leave after two years. She also made a six-episode guest appearance in Casualty and took her talents to the stage too. She guest starred in Romeo & Juliet at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, and then played Sheila Grundy in The Demolition Man in the same theater.
James Alexandrou – Then
When James Alexandrou started at Eastenders, he replaced Jon Peyton Price for the role of Martin Fowler. Pauline Fowler’s youngest son was known for his relationship with Sonia Fowler, running over Jamie Mitchell, and suffering from the death of his brother and mother. He also became a father while living in Albert Square to young Chloe Fowler. He left the show alongside his on-screen wife, Sonia, in 2007 and was replaced by James Bye for the role when his character was to return to Walford.
James Alexandrou – Now
James was just 21-years-old when he left Eastenders in 2007. Speaking of his departure from the show, he said, “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 has since been a presenter on BBC Three TV show Bizarre Crime, and had great success on stage.
Barbara Windsor – Then
Barbara Windsor was everyone’s favorite pub landlady when she took on the role of Peggy Mitchell in 1994. Just like the rest of the Mitchell clan, Peggy was very protective over her family and the Mitchell name. She was a fierce lady, and that trait is probably why she made such a good pub landlady. No one can forget, “Get outta my pub!” since it became one of her most well-known, and most used line, in the show.
Barbara Windsor – Now
Windsor left Eastenders in 2010 but made her last appearance as Peggy Mitchell in 2016 when her character was eventually killed off the show. This was Windsor’s decision because she believed, as long as Peggy was alive, she would still be drawn to playing her. After her time on Eastenders she voiced the Dormouse in Walt Disney’s live action adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland and reprised the role in Alice Through The Looking Glass. Windsor has been married three times, and wrote an autobiography titled, All of Me.
Adam Woodyatt – Then
Adam Woodyatt plays Ian Beale in the hit soap drama and is he the longest-serving character and one of the only remaining originals on the show. Woodyatt has appeared on Eastenders since the first episode aired in 1985, and 27 May 2016 marked his 3000th episode in the show. During his 33 years on Albert Square, he has become the most-married character, having been married five times, to four different women. As of recently, he has become the proud owner of 45 Albert Square.
Adam Woodyatt – Now
Woodyatt may still be a prominent character on Eastenders, but he has had some work away from the daytime drama. In 2015, Woodyatt signed up for the pantomime role in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre. His role on the production was to play the henchman of The Wicked Queen and, speaking of this role, he said, “I absolutely love performing in front of an audience as it’s so different to camera – I love the reaction of the audience.”
June Brown – Then
June Brown has been on Eastenders since its inception in 1985, with a brief hiatus during the 90’s. Playing Dot Cotton, she is considered the nicest and most caring character on the show, taking on the motherly role of most of the other characters. However, on the show, she plays the mother to criminal, Nick Cotton with whom she moved away with when she decided to leave the show in 1993. She was also the launderette assistant, so it was a great place to get the gossip and dish out her own advice.
June Brown – Now
Brown left Eastenders in 1993 but returned again in 1997. She took another six-month break in 2012 so that she could write her autobiography, and returned to filming just after. However, Brown admitted that her eyesight was failing her, but she could not afford to retire and prayed her eyesight would return. Her real-life health concerns were written into the storyline for Dot, and it was reported that June signed a new contract to say she will continue playing Dot until she turned 90,
Leonard Fenton – Then
Leonard Fenton appeared as the original Eastenders GP when he was cast on the show as Doctor Harold Legg. He joined on the first ever episode in 1985, and there have been several more doctors since this time. However, Legg continued to appear in episodes sporadically, until his final appearance in 2007. As a trusted member of the community, many residents of Walford would go to Harold for advice. After all, they all had a lot of drama and he proved to be the most sane.
Leonard Fenton – Now
Since his time on Eastenders, Fenton has appeared in the 2006 movie The Zombie Diaries, as well as lending his voice to various radio plays. These include The Hobbit as the Elvenking and The Lord of the Rings as Daddy Twofoot. At the age of 78, Fenton made his directorial debut in December 2004 with After Chekhov. Aside from work in the media, Fenton is a professional painter and has held several exhibitions of his own. He is also married, and he shares four children with his wife, Madeline.
Letitia Dean – Then
Having joined the show when Eastenders first aired, Letitia played Sharon Watts for the next ten years. She was first introduced on the show when she was a teenager and was known for being romantically linked to brothers Grant and Phil Mitchell. Her long-running storyline was dubbed, Sharongate, where Sharon was married to Grant while having an affair with Phil. The episode in which Grant finds out about the affair remains one of the highest viewed episodes for Eastenders.
Letitia Dean – Now
Letitia Dean left Eastenders in 1995 but returned again from 2001 to 2006, and again from 2012 onwards. During this time, however, she had a UK Top 20 hit with “Something Outa Nothing,” starred in Hello Girls and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, and participated in Strictly Come Dancing, finishing fourth place. Dean has also worked away from television and appeared on stage. The actress starred in the West End production of High School Musical in 2008, as well as, the UK touring production Calendar Girls in 2010.
Gillian Taylforth – Then
Gillian Taylforth appeared as Kathy Beale from the first episode of Eastenders in 1985. She remained a prominent character on the show until her departure in 2000 and had many big storylines while on the show. She discovered a long-lost daughter, had a son named Ben who contracted a rare form of meningitis and had a turbulent relationship with Phil Mitchell. Kathy never returned after she left with Ben to live in South Africa, but she was killed off-screen in a road collision in 2006.
Gillian Taylforth – Now
After leaving Eastenders, Gillian had a recurring role as Jackie Pascoe-Webb on ITV’s, Footballers’ Wives, and then more recently as Sgt. Nikki Wright in ITV’s, The Bill. Taylforth joined rival soap opera Hollyoaks over the course of two years and, despite being killed off of Eastenders in 2006, she made a shock return to the show in 2015 as part of the 30th-anniversary episode. It was later confirmed that she would appear in Eastenders regularly from August 2015 and reprise her role.
Steve McFadden – Then
Potentially the most iconic character in the history of EastEnders, Phil Mitchell has practically been a mainstay since the show became popular back in the early 90s. Steve McFadden has given his character a truly brooding presence over the last 25 years and between him, his brother Grant, sister Sam, and mother Peggy, Phil has been part of one of the most topsy-turvy family sagas in the history of soap operas – the Mitchells. He might break the law from time to time, but Phil is as good as gold.
Steve McFadden – Now
Many casual fans don’t realize this, but Steve McFadden was actually in The Bill before landing his iconic role as Phil Mitchell. This makes perfect sense, seeing that McFadden likes to play characters who are as hard as nails. In 2004, McFadden became a presenter of his own show – Britain’s Hardest, which saw six men compete for a huge cash prize. Outside of EastEnders, McFadden hasn’t had too many acting credits. Though he did make a cameo in the hilarious Kevin & Perry Go Large.
Tamzin Outhwaite – Then
When Tamzin Outhwaite landed her role as Mel Owen, it didn’t take long before she was wrapped up in a series of popular storylines. Between marrying Ian Beale on New Years Eve and a troubled marriage with Martin Kemp’s character Steve Owen, Tamzin ended up doing a lot during her initial four-year run. Although her time on EastEnders was fairly brief compared to others, Outhwaite earned considerable praise for her role, as well as a lot of awards.
Tamzin Outhwaite – Now
Since her role on EastEnders, Tamzin Outhwaite has gone on to star in main roles in shows such as Hotel Babylon and The Fixer. She has since been married to actor Tom Ellis. However, the couple’s marriage came to an end in 2014. This hasn’t stopped Outhwaite from maintaining a reputation as a strong British actress. In 2018, EastEnders fans were pleasantly surprised when, after 16 years away from the show, Outhwaite finally reprised her iconic role as Mel Owen!
Ross Kemp – Then
The question was always: who is your favorite, Phil or Grant Mitchell? Although there might not be a definitive answer, there is no doubt that Ross Kemp’s Grant had a huge fanbase while he was in EastEnders. He joined the show along with Steve McFadden, to breathe some new life into the soap opera. As a result, the on-screen brothers became the two most popular characters on the show, mainly due to there no-nonsense, tough guy dynamic.
Ross Kemp – Now
It seems like Ross Kemp has taken that tough-guy persona all the way to the bank, even since leaving the show after his first run as Grant Mitchell back in 1999. Kemp took his career to the next level when he hosted his own documentary Ross Kemp on Gangs, which saw the actor travel around the world, delving into the deepest and darkest corners of global gang culture. Since then, Kemp has reprised his role as Grant Mitchell on two separate occasions.
Dean Gaffney – Then
In 1993, Robbie Jackson was introduced to Albert Square. Played by Dean Gaffney, Robbie was born to teenage parents Gary and Carol, but their romance sadly failed, and they parted ways. Gary felt too tied down at a young age and walked out on Carol soon after Robbie’s birth. As Robbie grew older, much like the rest of the kids in Walford, he was a troublesome teen and didn’t do very well at school. When it came to women, Robbie wasn’t any more successful in that department either.
Dean Gaffney – Now
In 2003, and after ten years of playing Robbie Jackson, Gaffney left Eastenders. He made several guest appearances on the soap over the years, and then finally returned full-time again in 2017. During his time away from the show, Gaffney appeared on reality TV shows, including I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, as well as, guest appeared on The Bill and Extras. Gaffney also had work performing on stage and toured with the Agatha Christie Theatre Company, performing The Unexpected Guest.
Jack Ryder – Then
The Mitchells were well known in Albert Square, and amongst the clan was Jamie Mitchell, played by Jack Ryder. Before being killed off the show on Christmas Day, he would often make a lot of troubles for himself. He became romantically involved with Sonia Fowler, but things turned sour when she gave birth at the age of 15 to Martin Fowler’s baby. He was also in an abusive relationship with his uncle, Billy Mitchell, who would beat him on a regular basis.
Jack Ryder – Now
Since leaving Eastenders, Ryder has focused primarily on theater and films rather than TV. He has appeared in several stage productions, as well as having the role of assistant director to productions. He took on this role for Tim Firth and Gary Barlow’s musical, “The Girls” in 2017, and he impressed Barlow so much he was asked to be the co-director on Take That’s new musical “The Band.” He has also briefly returned to acting, when he was in the BBC drama, In the Club.
Linda Davidson – Then
Known for being stubborn and irresponsible, Mary Smith was Walford’s wild child, and Linda Davidson was the actress who took on this role. Smith was constantly getting herself into trouble during the years 1985 to 1988, and she became her own worst enemy when she believed everyone was out to get her. She did have a job working in the launderette, but aside from working in the launderette, she did also have another job on the side, working as an ‘exotic dancer.’
Linda Davidson – Now
Although one of the original characters, Linda decided to leave the show in 1988 when she was offered a Steven Berkoff play. She also went onto act in First of the Summer Wine, Bulman, Casualty, Maria’s Child, and The Bill. She also set her sights on theater and appeared in several productions including the West End revival of The Rocky Horror Show. However, in the late 1990’s, Davidson decided to stop performing and went to work in digital media.
Deepak Verma – Then
One of the most loved characters from the show was by far Sanjay Kapoor, played by Deepak Verma. The residents of the Square all admired Kapoor and, at face sight, he could do no wrong in their eyes. However, he was very into getting rich and getting rich quickly. His desire soon turned into a problem, and Kapoor came victim to having a slight problem with gambling. As well as money, his other love and passion were for the ladies.
Deepak Verma – Now
After leaving Eastenders in 1998, when he and his on-screen wife left to escape press scandal, Verma set up his own film and television production company called Pukkanasha Films. The mission of the company was to develop and produce a slate of innovative and fresh feature films by drawing upon diverse cultural backgrounds. Deepak has also written several screenplays and stage plays, including Tandoori Chicks, Eastside Story, and London Gold. In 2017, he was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the arts.
Michelle Ryan – Then
Having played Zoe Slater in the popular drama series, Michelle Ryan certainly had a lot to deal with. However, her role and storylines won British Soap Awards’ ‘Best Storyline’ and ‘Best Episode’ for the year 2002. While on the show, Ryan’s character discovers that her sister is actually her mother, and who she thought was her uncle, turns out to be her dad. While this may sound confusing, this is not very surprising for an Eastenders plot line.
Michelle Ryan – Now
After appearing in one of the biggest shows on British television, Ryan set her sights on the States and flew to the other side of the pond. There she appeared in Bionic Woman, which was a short-lived TV show in the US despite the hype that surrounded it before it begun. She has since had other minor TV and film appearances, and she also toured with British singer Will Young in a production of Cabaret in the final months of 2012.
Charlie Brooks – Then
Charlie Brooks took on the ruthless Janine Butcher. Butcher is probably best remembered for the stint she pulled while on her honeymoon with her husband, Barry Evans. Having headed to Scotland to celebrate their recent nuptials, in true soap opera fashion, Butcher decided this was the best time to push her new husband off a cliff and kill him. She watched the whole event unfold to make sure he died, and that certainly marked the end of their honeymoon.
Charlie Brooks – Now
Away from her murdering days on the show, Brooks went on to release a number of best-selling workout/fitness DVD’s, while also becoming a wife, a mother and still appearing in other TV shows. She starred in The Bill, Wired and Bleak House, and also competed in Strictly Come Dancing 2011 Christmas Special, in which she won. Brooks returned to Eastenders in 2008 intending to stay for just a year, but she stayed on and eventually left the show in 2014.