Pam St. Clement

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Pam St. Clement
Born (1942-05-12) 12 May 1942 (age 72)
Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1971–present
Television EastEnders (1986–2012, 2014)
Spouse(s) Andrew Gordon (m. 1967–1976; divorced)

Pam St. Clement (born 12 May 1942) is a British actress, best known for playing Pat Butcher in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders from 1986 until 2012, therefore becoming one of the programme's longest-serving cast members.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born Pamela Ann Clements, her parents, Ann Tribe and Reginald Clements, married in 1940.[2] Shortly after Clement's birth in 1942, her mother died and she was put into foster care when her father remarried.[3] Clement subsequently grew up in various different foster homes until she was taken in by a family who owned a farm in Devon.[4] She has commented: "I was very fortunate in the end. I was always being farmed off to holiday homes, then when I was just pre-teens I went down to Devon to some people who were very good at taking on youngsters, and what originated as a business arrangement became my home."[4] Clement's father rose to become the managing director of a toy manufacturers in London and married five times in total over the course of his life.[2]

Clement was sent to boarding school on the South Downs, where she was—by her own admission—"very naughty".[4] She was active in the drama society at her school, but she originally had aspirations to become a vet,[5] however this career proved unobtainable because she didn't pass Latin at school.[6] Instead she decided to become a teacher[5] and enrolled at the Rolle Teacher Training College in Exmouth (now part of the University of Plymouth).[7] She worked in the teaching profession until her desire to act prompted her to attend drama school, the Rose Bruford College, and she eventually took up acting professionally.[5] Her stage name was inspired by a street name in Islington - St Clement Street - where her parents resided at the time of their marriage.[2] In July 2008, the University of Plymouth presented her with an honorary doctorate in education for her services to teaching. Commenting on her former job, she said she had not been a good teacher, so her career change was not a loss to the profession.[8]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Clement has worked extensively on the stage, in films and on television.[5] Her acting career began in the 1970s, when she joined a small theatre company and she went on to have minor roles in programmes such as The Onedin Line (1972) and Follyfoot (1972). Her first big break came in 1976, when she was cast in an episode of TV prison drama, Within These Walls.[9]

Subsequent television credits have included: Van der Valk (1977); A Horseman Riding By as Meg Potter (1978); Emmerdale (1980) as Mrs. Anne Eckersley; Thomas & Sarah (1980); Enemy at the Door (1978; 1980); Play For Today (1980); Minder (1980); Shoestring (1980); Dangerous Davies (1981); Angels (1981); as Frau Bodelschwingh in Private Schulz (1981); The Chinese Detective (1982);The Tripods (1984) and Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense (1986). She has also appeared in films, which has included roles in Doomwatch (1972), Hedda (1975), The Bunker (1981), Scrubbers (1983), Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil (1985), and Biggles: Adventures in Time (1986).

EastEnders[edit]

Main article: Pat Butcher

In 1986 Clement was cast in her most notable role to date—Pat Butcher, the troublesome former prostitute and ex-wife of Pete Beale (Peter Dean), in BBC's EastEnders.[5] She played the character continuously since her first appearance on 12 June 1986—over a year after the show began.

Clement's character was originally brought in on a trial basis for a period of three episodes.[4] However the series' executive-producer, Julia Smith, decided to make the character long term. Clement initially had reservations about committing to the role, commenting: "I couldn't envisage how this character, who creates absolute havoc everywhere she goes and is not at home with herself or with anybody else in the Square, could possibly fit in". However she was persuaded to continue by Smith, who said: "'We've only seen one layer of the onion skin—the defensiveness—now we'll start to peel away more and get to the vulnerability that lies behind it'."[4]

Pat went on to become one of the soap's longest running characters, appearing in 2,183 episodes. She featured in a multitude of high profile storylines, which included four marriages—most notably to Frank Butcher (played by Mike Reid)—numerous affairs, feuds and a spell in prison for drink-driving (which led to a pedestrian dying).[6] Clement has commented that her long run in the show has surprised even her "You are talking to a person who wouldn't sign a West End contract if it was longer than a year...It's madness...I have stuck with it so long because I am always looking to see where they take the character next". In 2006 Clement signed a £200,000 deal keeping her with EastEnders until at least 2008.[10] She is currently the second longest serving cast member at EastEnders behind Adam Woodyatt and also the longest serving female cast member, having played Pat without break for her time on the show; June Brown took a 4 year break in the 90s, making Dot Cotton the third longest running character. In June 2008, on her 22nd anniversary on EastEnders, Clement said she was excited about the next 22 years on the programme! In 2012, Clement won a Lifetime Achievement Award at The British Soap Awards, previously having been won by her co-stars Wendy Richard, June Brown and Barbara Windsor. In July 2011, it was announced that Clement was leaving EastEnders. Of her departure Clement said "I have enjoyed 25 and a half wonderful years in EastEnders creating the character of Pat but feel it's time to hang up her earrings. Leaving the EastEnders 'family' will be akin to a bereavement. But I'm looking forward to the other work and life opportunities that I will have the time to pursue."[11] She filmed her final scenes in November 2011,[12] and the character departed on 1 January 2012.

On 14 November 2014, Clement reprised the role of Pat for a short stint for Children In Need after Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) knocks his head and sees the deceased women in his life.

Other work[edit]

In 2006, St Clement appeared as Aunt Sponge in The Queen's Handbag at the Children's Party At The Palace—an all-star event to celebrate the Queen's 80th birthday. She has also made personal appearances on various television programmes including Grumpy Old Women (2005; 2006) and the wildlife programme, Countryfile (2000). She was also the subject of an episode of This Is Your Life in 1995.[4]

On 6 March 2012, it was announced that St. Clement had joined This Morning as the show's resident animal expert.[13] She made her first appearance on 13 March and her last on 20 December 2012.[13]

On 4 July 2014, Pam was a guest panellist on an episode of Loose Women.

Charity work[edit]

Clement is an animal lover and a keen conservationist. She supports several charities, which includes the Global Wildlife Fund.[14] She is also the Vice President of her local RSPCA and works with them to promote their "Home For Life" campaign.[6] She has commented "It's a very important campaign to encourage people to mention their pets in their will so that if they die before the animal, the RSPCA have the legal authority to re-home the pet. Without it, pets can end up abandoned or in unsuitable homes. People assume their animals will die first, but you can never be certain. It doesn't cost anything to do and I think it is so important."[6]

She is a dog lover and has spent time with PDSA supporters at Crufts, attending PDSA fundraising events and supporting the annual London Animal Day.[15] In 2007 she lent her support to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and the Pets as Therapy campaign.[16] In February 2007, Clement—who is a keen horse-rider—became the patron of Veteran Horse Welfare.[17]

Pam has also voiced her support for tigers and the work of NGO the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Result Award Category Film or series Character
2012 Nominated British Soap Awards[18] Best Single Episode EastEnders - Pat: An End of an Era Pat Butcher
Nominated Best Exit EastEnders
Won Lifetime Achievement Award[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

Clement is bisexual and is a supporter of gay rights—campaigning with Stonewall against Section 28 and for lowering the age of consent for gay men.[21] Clement is known to be an intensely private person who seldom speaks about her personal life,[6] and it has been suggested that this is due to the way the press hounded her when it was revealed she was in a relationship with a woman. Often referred in a relationship with Patricia Routledge.[21] During the 1960s Clement was married to a man named Andrew Gordon, but they divorced in 1976.[5]

In 1997, Clement discovered that she had a brother Reginald (born 1934) from her father's first marriage.[2] Clement maintained that she had been in touch with her father, who died in 1993, aged 84. In spite of this, he had never mentioned having any other children. Her brother had barely known their father and had not seen him since he was a toddler.[2]

Clement has been the focus of much media criticism regarding her weight over the years, which earned her character the nickname "Fat Pat".[6] In 1998 she lost several stone from dieting, which led the media to speculate that she had become ill.[22] She later commented: "I have since decided I wasn't made to be slim. When I was thinner the paparazzi got some pictures where I looked ill. I had to come out and speak about it."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Love, Ryan. "Pam St Clement quits 'EastEnders': 'It's time to hang up Pat's earrings'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Bowyer, Alison; Scott, Paul (24 August 1997). "Pam, this is your brother!". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  3. ^ "We find EastEnder star Pam's secret brother". Sunday Mirror. 24 August 1997. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Tomorrow some 20 million people will tune in to EastEnders". The Independent. 24 December 1995. Retrieved 2007-07-04. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e f Kingsley, Hilary (1990). The EastEnders Handbook. BBC books. ISBN 0-563-36292-8. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "KAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT". The People. 10 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  7. ^ "Plymouth, University". London: The Independent. 1 August 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-04. [dead link]
  8. ^ Staff writer (2008-07-18). "EastEnders' Pat becomes a doctor". BBC News Online (BBC). Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  9. ^ "Pat Evans". whatsontv.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  10. ^ "Pam St Clement signs new 'Enders deal". Digitalspy. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  11. ^ "Pat set to hang up earrings". Sky News. British Sky Broadcasting. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Daniels, Colin (6 November 2011). "'EastEnders' Pat Evans exit plot details emerge - EastEnders News - Soaps - Digital Spy". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Fletcher, Alex (6 March 2012). "'EastEnders' Pam St Clement becomes 'This Morning' animal expert". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Pam St Clement plays Pat Evans". BBC. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  15. ^ "Celebrity supporters". PDSA. Archived from the original on 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  16. ^ "Crufts 2007 Day 3". thekennelclub.org. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  17. ^ "veteran-horse-society". veteran-horse-society.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  18. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s2/eastenders/news/a379431/eastenders-pam-st-clement-stunned-by-british-soap-award-triumph.html#~oJ2VN0Upp7293Y
  19. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/news/a378918/british-soap-awards-2012-winners-in-full.html
  20. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/i407018-8/british-soap-awards-2012-winners-british-soap-awards-2012-pam-st-clement-accepts-her-lifetime-achievement-award.html#~oJ2VPTxxV6N9xD
  21. ^ a b "Pam St. Clement". RainbowNetwork.com. 2000-04-19. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 
  22. ^ "Soap star Pam has lost THREE STONE". Sunday Mirror. 4 January 1998. Retrieved 2007-07-04. 

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