Pat Butcher

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Pat Butcher
Pat pam.jpg
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Pam St. Clement
Emma Cooke (flashback)
Duration 1986–2012
First appearance 12 June 1986
Last appearance 1 January 2012
Created by Tony Holland
Introduced by Julia Smith
Book appearances Swings and Roundabouts
Spin-off
appearances
Dimensions in Time (1993)
EastEnders: Pat and Mo: Ashes to Ashes
(2004)
EastEnders: Last Tango in Walford (2010)
The Ghosts of Ian Beale (2014)
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Aliases Pat Harris
Pat Beale
Pat Wicks
Pat Evans
Fat Pat
Occupation Prostitute
Barmaid
Businesswoman
Pub landlady
B&B landlady
Cleaner
Bookkeeper
Waitress
Bookmaker
Emma cooke as pat harris.JPG
Pat as she appeared in EastEnders: Pat and Mo, played by Emma Cooke.

Patricia Louise "Pat" Evans (née Harris, previously Beale, Wicks and Butcher, and occasionally referred to in the British media as Fat Pat[1][2][3]) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders. She was played by Pam St. Clement from 12 June 1986, just over a year after the show first aired, until her departure on 1 January 2012. Pat was also portrayed by Emma Cooke in a soap 'bubble' Pat and Mo: Ashes to Ashes, delving into her past with sister-in-law Mo Harris (Laila Morse), which aired in 2004. The character died on 1 January 2012, shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her funeral was on 13 January 2012. Pat was one of the longest serving characters on the show for twenty-five years and six months. She returned along with other women from Ian Beale's past in a concussion-related flashback for a Children in Need special on 14 November 2014.

Storylines[edit]

Backstory[edit]

Pat was born in Walford on 28 December 1942, the youngest of four children, to Lydia Harris. Her sister Joan had Down's syndrome, and was sent to a mental institute when Pat was four. Joan married Michael who also had Down's. Ashamed, Lydia disowned Joan and claimed she had died at the age of 22.

After leaving school at 15, Pat unsuccessfully tried to become a model. She and her best friend, Mo Porter (Laila Morse), entered a beauty contest in Clacton at the age of 16, winning the title of 'Miss Butlins'. There she met Frank Butcher (Mike Reid), who was holidaying with his girlfriend, June Simmonds. Frank was besotted with Pat, and they slept together. Frank was the first of what would be many lovers in Pat's life, and so began a love affair; however, June became pregnant with Frank's child, so Frank married her, breaking Pat's heart. Pat and Frank would meet up from time to time, and on each occasion the affair would be rekindled, but Frank would not leave June. Pat began working for the shady club owner, Tony Cattani (Vas Constanti), who got her involved in prostitution. This shamed her family, particularly her brother Jimmy (Alex King) and their relationship suffered. When Pat discovered that Jimmy's wife and her best friend, Mo, had slept with Tony, she informed her brother; Mo denied it, and Jimmy subsequently disowned Pat. Whilst working as a prostitute, Pat was offered more money to work for up-and-coming gangster Johnny Allen (Billy Murray). Pat then worked as a well known woman of the underworld for many years.

Pat embarked on numerous relationships. She had flings with Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) and Kenny Beale (Michael Attwell) — both restless men, unwilling to settle down with her. Kenny's younger brother Pete (Peter Dean) proved more reliable; he married Pat in the early 1960s, when he thought she was pregnant with his child — a false alarm, which Pete's mother Lou (Anna Wing) believed was Pat's ploy to trap her son. While they were together, Pat had two sons, David (Michael French) and Simon (Nick Berry), who Pete believed to be his. Yet Pat could not settle down and embarked on an affair with Brian Wicks (Leslie Schofield). Pete eventually left her and they divorced in 1966. Soon after, Pat married Brian and he took on responsibility of her two sons. They left Walford in 1976 due to David's feud with fellow schoolboy Derek Branning (Terence Beesley; Jamie Foreman) who terrorised the entire family because David got his sister, Carol (Lindsey Coulson) pregnant. They moved to Romford[4] and Pat stayed with Brian until 1986, when he started physically abusing her.[5]

1986–2012[edit]

Pat comes to Walford in June 1986, to tell Pete that he is not Simon's father. Many arguments erupt, but Lou is quick to step in and she convinces a devastated Pete that Simon is his. Later in the year however, when Pat starts work as barmaid in The Queen Vic, it emerges that Lou thinks Simon is the product of an affair Pat had with Kenny. Lou is adamant that Pat should keep this secret and not upset her close-knit family. However, Pete's sister Pauline (Wendy Richard) overhears and tells Pete everything.

Pat lives up to her promiscuous reputation and, with encouragement from Mehmet Osman (Haluk Bilginer), ends the year prostituting herself. Animosity between Pat and Pete continues. When Pat is assaulted in February 1987 — left unconscious and close to death in the middle of the Square — Pete is prime suspect in the police investigation. He is later cleared when the real culprit, the Walford attacker, is caught.

The arrival of Kenny Beale in 1988 brings the question of Simon's parentage to the fore once again. Pat informs Simon and the Beale brothers that she does not know which of them is the real father, adding further confusion. She also says that Den Watts is a possibility. Pat later rules Den out, but demands that he sleep with her, or she will tell people that he is the father. In July that year, a dying Lou pleads with Pat to finally come clean to Simon. Pat reveals that Brian Wicks, the man that Simon had believed to be his stepfather, is actually his biological father.[6] Following Lou's death, Pat forms a close friendship with her former foe, Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), Pete's second wife. Both find they had a common bond, with the dominance of Lou and Pete in their lives.

Frank comes back into Pat's life in 1987. June has died and he and Pat reunite, taking over tenancy of The Queen Vic public house. Pat struggles as stepmother to Frank's children, particularly Janine (Rebecca Michael), who hates Pat. On 22 June 1989, Pat and Frank marry in cockney style, driving out of Albert Square in a horse-drawn cart. By the end of the year, the Butchers have moved from The Vic to the B&B across the Square, which Pat runs while Frank opens a used car-lot. Despite family and marital problems, Frank and Pat are happy until 1992, when they begin to struggle financially, forcing them to sell the B&B. Pat tries to turn their fortunes around by starting her own cab firm, PatCabs. However, disaster strikes on Christmas Eve that year, when Pat — whilst doing a short run for a regular customer — hits a teenage girl with her car. When breathalysed, she is found to be just over the limit. On New Year's Eve, Pat is devastated when the girl dies in hospital from her injuries and finds it hard to cope with the guilt, particularly when she is confronted by the girl's grieving mother. When Pat appears in court, she is given a 6-month prison sentence. In the autumn Pat returns, but by then the Butchers are in financial ruin. In desperation, Frank pays Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) to torch the car-lot in an insurance scam. When this goes wrong and a homeless boy dies, Frank has a breakdown, and in April 1994, he leaves the Square, abandoning Pat and his children without warning, leaving Pat destitute and heartbroken. Eventually, Frank's daughter Diane (Sophie Lawrence) brings news that Frank is alive and has merely run away, so Pat begins getting on with her life.[7]

Car-dealer Roy Evans (Tony Caunter) is attracted to Pat, but early attempts to woo her get him nothing but refusals. Pat later softens and goes on a cruise with him, although she makes it quite clear that sex is not on offer. Her carnal abstinence turns out to be blessing for Roy, as he later admits he is impotent and can offer nothing more than platonic love. Pat is relieved to discover that, for once, a man wants something from her other than sex. In November 1995, Roy moves in with Pat, but in December Frank returns to reclaim his wife. Pat finds it hard to contain her rage and emotion upon seeing her estranged husband, but despite him stirring up old feelings, she opts to remain with Roy. Roy and Pat marry in 1996. Pat and Roy weather money problems, Roy's ill-health and depression, brought on by his jealousy of Pat and Frank's shared past, which almost makes him commit suicide in 1999. Pat finally convinces Roy that it was him she wants, although she finds it hard to let go of Frank completely. Frank goes on to marry Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor), but he begins to have second thoughts in 2000 after realising that he still loves Pat. Whilst the Butchers and the Evanses are holidaying in Spain, Frank seduces Pat and they sleep together. Pat tries to end the affair upon their return, but when Frank turns up on her doorstep naked (apart from a comedy bow-tie), she realises that she had never stopped loving him either. Their affair continues and they eventually decide to elope to Manchester.

They are due to depart on Guy Fawkes Night in November 2000, but Pat starts to have second thoughts. It is too late however, as Peggy has already discovered Frank's dear John letter. Peggy shames the cheating duo by reading the letter to the entire pub, and then slaps both Frank and Pat in full view of everyone. Peggy throws Frank out and he leaves Walford without Pat. Roy is initially willing to forgive Pat and explains to her that certain things have got to change, but Barry then alerts him to a suitcase containing massage oils, fishnet stockings and a red Basque which Pat had been planning to take with her when she ran away with Frank. Roy is horrified and throws Pat out, leaving her penniless and homeless. Roy later asks Pat for a divorce, but in February 2001 Pat decides to join Simon in New Zealand, and Roy follows her to the airport and tells her that he wants to be with her again, despite objections from his son Barry (Shaun Williamson). Grateful that Roy has given her a second chance, Pat is adamant that she will not mess things up a second time. However, in 2003, Roy discovers that Pat had been covering an affair between Barry's wife, Natalie (Lucy Speed), and Frank's son, Ricky (Sid Owen). Roy believes that Pat has again chosen Frank over him, because she decided to help Frank's offspring over his own. The stress leads to Roy's second and fatal heart attack. Roy dies intestate, leaving Pat bereft and homeless, as Barry — beneficiary of Roy's estate — evicts her.

Pat moves into a bedsit. Janine marries Barry and plans to con him out of all of his money and possessions. The day after the wedding, Janine confesses everything to her new husband, and pushes Barry down a cliff to his death. She later brags about it to a disgusted Pat, whilst in control of the Evanses' former house and business. Janine starts to bully Pat's friend Laura Beale (Hannah Waterman), and when Laura accidentally falls down the stairs and dies, Janine is arrested on suspicion of murder. Pat, Janine's only alibi, lies to the police, implicating Janine as revenge for Barry's killing. Pat is given a job at the bookies by gangster Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs) in 2004. They develop a rapport with each other, and when Andy is murdered in 2005, Pat is stunned to discover that he has left her his house in his will. Pat is summoned to be a witness for the prosecution at Janine's trial in December 2005, where she once again meets Frank who has returned after almost five years. Once again, Pat sleeps with Frank, but she soon realises that his primary motive is to convince her to alter her testimony at Janine's trial. Pat refuses, but after a subsequent talk with Laura's mother, Edwina Dunn (Gay Hamilton), Pat realises that Janine being wrongly imprisoned for Laura's death would be an injustice, so she changes her testimony and Janine goes free.

In February 2006, Pat, who is missing the company of a man in her life, begins flirting with Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker). Despite being married, Patrick can't resist the opportunity of a casual fling with Pat. However, they are seen together by Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) who informs Patrick's wife Yolande (Angela Wynter), which ends the affair and ignites a feud between Pat and Yolande.

In August 2007, Pat discovers her mother lied about the date of her sister Joan's death. She and a kindly stranger, Len Harker (Christopher Ellison), break into Joan's care home and eventually discover that Joan died only a few years earlier after marrying a man with Down's. Pat is touched to discover that Joan had often spoken of how much she loved her. In March 2008, Pat announces she is leaving Walford for Spain. However, she then receives news that Frank has died of cancer. She is devastated, and despite initial feuding, she and Peggy manage to support each other through Frank's funeral. Pat opts to remain in Walford when her granddaughter Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) turns to her for help soon after, moving her four children in. Having reconciled with one grandchild, Pat severs her bond with another, when she discovers Steven Beale (Aaron Sidwell) is hiding the whereabouts of his runaway sister, Lucy (Melissa Suffield). Pat threatens to tell the truth to Lucy's father Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and is hit by Roxy Mitchell's (Rita Simons) car whilst trying to apprehend Steven. She spends time in hospital, where Steven attempts to smother her to death before she can tell Ian the truth. His plan fails, and Lucy returns to Ian.

Pat suffers a heart attack in January 2010 amidst increasing animosity with her stepdaughter Janine. It is revealed that she has an underlying condition, and requires a pacemaker but refuses to have the operation. Janine manages to persuade Pat to have the pacemaker fitted and makes a full recovery. Disgusted with the litter in Albert Square, Peggy and Pat both decide to run for council. They are interviewed by journalist Harvey Freeman (Martin Jarvis) but eventually they both pull out of the election. Harvey secretly woos them both, causing various rows between the women when they find out. They both finally unite against Harvey and humiliate him in punishment. Pat and Peggy's friendship strengthens, so Pat is hurt when Peggy leaves Walford without saying goodbye, upset to lose her best friend. When Pat discovers that Janine stabbed herself in order to frame Stacey after making the discovery that she killed Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb), she disowns Janine and goes to New Zealand to visit Simon. She returns in April to find that Bianca is in prison and Whitney is missing, although she is relieved when Whitney returns home shortly after.

When Pat discovers Janine's grandmother, Lydia Simmonds (Heather Chasen), is staying with Janine, she believes that Janine is only interested in Lydia's inheritance and Janine jokingly admits this to Pat, although a close bond soon forms between Janine and Lydia. When Lydia dies in the night, Pat comforts Janine but later turns on her, believing that she killed Lydia to get her money, despite the fact Janine had already seen the will and knew that Lydia was donating her money to charity. When the police take Janine in for questioning over Lydia's death, Janine believes Pat phoned them, although it is later revealed that it was Ryan. Pat is still adamant that Janine murdered Lydia, which causes an emotional argument. When it is discovered that Lydia has changed her will and leaves her whole estate to Janine, Pat persuades Lydia's son Norman (George Layton) to contest the will. He initially agrees to do this, but after Janine agrees to share the money with Ricky, Pat convinces him to change his mind. Although Norman likes Pat and wants to see her again, Pat is oblivious to this.

When Pat discovers that her son, Simon, is going to lose his home in New Zealand, she fails to get a loan to help him because of her age. Norman offers to help and organises a loan for her. After speaking to her great grandson Liam (James Forde), Pat decides she likes Norman and they kiss, she also asks him to stay. However, the next day Norman tells Patrick that he regularly earns commission for organising loans for people. Patrick then warns Pat about this, and once Pat finds out that the terms of the loan mean if she misses a payment she could lose her house, she rejects Norman, tells him to leave and says she never wants to see him again. Derek arrives in Walford and recognises Pat. She runs away, but he chases her and forces his way into her home. Pat is fearful of Derek, and he taunts her, asking Pat if she is still a prostitute. Derek also tells her to tell David that he has not forgotten about their fight. When Roxy asks Pat about Derek's past, Pat confirms that he is dangerous. Pat struggles to keep up the loan repayments on her house, and counts on Ricky's bonus money to cover the debt. When Ricky returns from Dubai, he reveals that he has lost all his money, so Pat explains that they will lose the house by the end of the week if a payment is not made. A desperate Pat turns to Janine and asks for money. Janine gives her £50,000 without hesitation, but insists on Pat using the house as collateral, although this does not thaw the animosity between the pair. When Janine's boyfriend Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd) spots Derek and Liam together, he forms an allegiance with Pat over their hatred of him and they proceed to call his probation officer to check up on him, infuriating Derek. He later confronts Pat, angrily threatening her. Shortly after, Patrick pays Pat a visit and finds her collapsed on her kitchen floor. Pat is admitted to hospital having suffered a pulmonary embolus and the doctors run some tests but she discharges herself secretly, telling Ricky she has been allowed to go. Shortly after, Janine goes to see Pat, telling her she is moving the repayment deadline to the following day after an argument with Bianca. Pat rings Simon to find out whether he can pay her the money but is shocked when he tells her his brother David slept with his wife. As her stress increases, Pat's chest pains continue and Patrick persuades her to return to the hospital. There, she is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which has metastasised to her lungs, bones and abdomen. Pat refuses all further paliative treatment and returns to Walford to be with her loved ones, sharing one last drink with her family and friends in The Queen Vic.

On New Year's Day 2012, Pat's health rapidly deteriorates and she is visited by old friends and enemies, including Derek, who taunts her about dying, Dot Branning (June Brown) and Ian. Janine arrives to evict the family after Pat is unable to pay all her debts back but soon realises that Pat is not faking her illness and is devastated. Visiting her sick stepmother, Janine confesses to Pat that she is pregnant and Pat convinces her to keep the baby, before they finally reconcile. Later, David arrives to see Pat but the pair argue and David leaves, David is persuaded to return by Carol. David tells Pat that he is sorry for the mess he has made of things over the years. David then tells Pat that he forgives her for all the times she let him down when he was a young child. Pat tells David that she is scared moments before she dies. Everybody on the square mourns for Pat the next day, and Norman comes back with a bunch of flowers for her, not knowing that she has already died. Pat's funeral takes place and is attended by many Albert Square residents. Simon turns up after the funeral has ended with flowers and lays them down at her grave. In September 2013, Peggy returns and visits Pat's house to say goodbye. In late 2013, Janine and David visit Pat's grave and lay flowers, and David apologises for treating her the way he did. In May 2014, Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) returns to Walford and is devastated when he hears that Pat has died. He later lays flowers on her doorstep and apologises for not being there when she passed away.

Creation and development[edit]

Pat as she appeared in 1986. The image shows the character's typical earrings and manner of dress.

The character of Pat was conceived by the creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland and Julia Smith, in 1984. Although not one of the serial's original protagonists, Pat is referred to in the character outline of Pete Beale, who appeared on-screen in EastEnders' first episode, as written by Smith and Holland in their book, EastEnders: The Inside Story: "[Pete] married very young to Pat — it turned out to be a total disaster. They were too young, rushing into a difficult life for all the wrong reasons, and truthfully, [Pat] was a vicious shrew...[Pete] divorced [Pat] and married Kathy when he was 24...His two sons by his first marriage are nineteen and twenty and he hardly sees them..."[8]

Pat was first seen on-screen in June 1986, over a year after the show debuted. The character's introduction was the result of a deliberate policy "to add an extra edge of toughness to the show." Prior to this point, Holland and Smith had begun to feel that EastEnders was starting to get "a bit soft". During a meeting with scriptwriters, the programme makers decided to try to recapture some of the soap's "original grittiness that seemed to be getting lost in its own success". Thus the character of Pat was introduced to "add a new hardness to the atmosphere."[8]

Pat, played by actress Pam St. Clement, was initially introduced on a three-episode trial basis. She was given an extensive backstory, heavily intertwined with various focal characters within the serial, including all of the Beale and Fowler family who mostly disliked her, particularly her ex-husband Pete Beale (Peter Dean), her son Simon Wicks (Nick Berry), and Pete's mother Lou Beale (Anna Wing). In addition, she was an old friend of Angie Watts (Anita Dobson), a former lover of Angie's husband Den (Leslie Grantham) and, as a supposed former resident of Walford, she was known to many of the other regular characters such as Dot Cotton (June Brown) and Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin).

The character's initial three-episode stint marked the beginning of what has been described as one of the soap's most complicated storylines, the paternity of Simon Wicks.[9] Pat immediately "threw a spanner in the works" by telling Pete that he was not Simon's biological father, as she had previously claimed.[9] After causing havoc Pat then disappeared; however, she was reintroduced later in the year, returning as a regular character, barmaid of The Queen Victoria public house. St. Clement had reservations about returning to the soap. In 1995 she told The Independent, "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".[10] However she was persuaded to continue by producer Julia 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'."[10]

Friendship with Peggy Mitchell[edit]

In 1998, Pat and her friend Peggy develop a feud with each other after Frank had an affair with Peggy. An EastEnders insider said: "Viewers will see the lot - tears, screaming and fighting. The romance has brought the studios to a standstill," said the insider. "There are TV screens around Elstree where staff can see what is being filmed and it has literally stopped people in their tracks. For the two days it was being filmed, staff on the lot talked about nothing else. Frank and Peggy are two of the show's strongest, most popular characters and the writers have hit on the idea of bringing Pat, another of the show's big names, in on the plot. Devoting a whole episode to just two characters is a tactic which has proved successful in the past. "We have used it for Michelle and Lofty and also for Dot Cotton and Lou Beale. St. Clement and Barbara are both first-class actresses and everyone at the BBC feels they will carry the explosive episode off with flying colours."[11] The scenes showing the characters' first fight had to be cut in order to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed as they were "powerful" and still was one of the "impressive episodes of all time". Barbara Windsor told the Sunday Mirror: "The writer didn't want a namby- pamby cat fight between two silly girls. We were throwing chairs and bottles and the adrenaline was at a high. When I saw the programme I couldn't believe how good it was. Pam and I were really proud."[12]

In an interview with TV Buzz, Barbara Windsor commented on Pat and Peggy's relationship: "I really loved Pat and Peggy's friendship, but my most memorable scenes involve us slapping each other; and we both really went for it! The fan mail we received would always go up a notch when they had a fight. We'd call each other everything under the sun too. Well, as far as we could go - obviously we couldn't swear. I'd love to have done a late-night episode - you'd have heard proper language then!"[13] She added: "My favourite storyline was where Peggy whacked Pat and Frank in The Vic. I stood on my little box - because I'm so tiny - and bang! Pat's earring went flying, then I fell off the box! I did a Norman Wisdom trip. It was very funny.[13]

Departure and death[edit]

Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood (pictured) stated that St. Clement's departure would be a "fitting" storyline.[14]

On 7 July 2011, it was announced that St. Clement had quit EastEnders.[14] The actress revealed that she wanted to try other things, saying "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."[14] Pat will leave later in the year and executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said her departure would be a "fitting" storyline.[14] Pat's son David Wicks returned for her departure storyline.[15] Pat will be killed off in the special New Year's Day episode. St. Clement said she was pleased for a dramatic exit. She told The Sun: "They didn't just want me to say ta-ta and get on the No 30 bus because that wouldn't do me justice. They wanted something dramatic, a fitting tribute to the character." She said that the loss of Peggy, Pauline and herself will spell the end of the EastEnders "matriarchs". She added: "A trio of people all of the same age leaving does leave a gap. Who is next in the age line? There isn't anyone."[16] On 31 December 2011, it was announced that Pat will be getting her own exit theme. EastEnders music composer Simon May reworked the tune to create "Pat's Theme". An EastEnders insider told Digital Spy: "It's only right that as we say goodbye to the iconic Pat Evans we pay tribute to such a character with a wonderfully touching special theme tune. As we say farewell to a legend of over 26 years, we welcome in what will be a truly remarkable New Year in E20 by adding the Olympic Park into the opening title sequence."[17]

Barbara Windsor who played Peggy Mitchell predicted that Pat will be "sorely missed" by fans. Speaking of Pat's exit, Windsor told This Morning: "Oh, I can't bear it - Pam! And she will be sorely missed - more than I was missed in the show, because she could go to anybody - any family she could go into. I am devastated." She definitely wanted to leave, but I don't know if she wanted to be killed off - that's the chance you have to take," Windsor continued. "I was positive that I was going to go up in a load of flames with The Vic - I thought that was going to happen, but of course it didn't. With Pam, I was very, very surprised, because she could always go back. But she's accepted it now and she'll have a new life."[18]

St. Clement stated that she didn't want her character to die, but said her final scenes were "fantastic". St. Clement commented: "Simon Ashdown had this idea for the character, which fitted in with her history in a sense," she explained. "They said, 'This is how we'd like it to happen - we think it's a fitting end and tribute to the character'. And as far as I can say, I read the script and I thought, 'Oh, this is fantastic - it's every actor's dream'. And I have to say, it also challenged me in a way that I hadn't been challenged. It was moving, it was challenging and it was a script that I needed to get my teeth into. The script, the performances, the direction - it all turned out to be a fantastic ensemble piece, if you like… Everybody was pulling in, everybody was doing the most wonderful performances and it was fantastic."[19]

St. Clement said she was "moved" by the Farewell Pat tribute. Speaking on Daybreak, St. Clement explained: "I wasn't going to watch [the final episode] with anybody - I was going to record it and then watch it in a darkened room somewhere, where I could be terribly critical and jump about saying, 'Stupid woman - why did you play it like that?' But everybody said, 'Oh no, sit down'. I said, 'I don't want to disturb you all' - but I did make myself behave! And I was quite dispassionate, actually. The strange thing is, after I read the script, I was very moved by it. But as soon as I started working on it, I think everybody did start getting quite emotional - but I couldn't. Even about myself leaving - people in the cast would come up and say, 'How do you feel?' and I'd say, 'I can't go there, I can't think about that, because the work's not finished'. The strange thing is, the only thing that moved me was the Farewell Pat programme. Which is strange, but I suppose that was personal in a sense." Also, St. Clement explained the experience of filming her final episode. She added: "It was a great challenge, that script," she commented. "I looked at it and thought, 'Oh, heck, how do I give light and shade to something where somebody is actually dying?' And some of the scenes could have been interpreted as being somewhat similar with Janine and David. So I had to make them different - but I had to make them different within the confines of the illness."[20]

It was later confirmed that EastEnders will air a special tribute episode to Pat after her funeral episode on 13 January 2012.[21] An EastEnders insider commented: "Pat is EastEnders - she was the heart and soul of the show and bosses have pulled out all the stops for her funeral. Not only is the episode extra long, with plenty of nods to the iconic lady, it really is the end of the earring. We are hoping that everyone dons their biggest and tackiest earrings to mark one of the saddest days in the history of Walford."[21] Co-star Lindsey Coulson said that Pat's departure was a "real-loss".[22] She told This Morning: "They were really difficult scenes to play, because we didn't want Pam to leave," Coulson explained. "So apart from not wanting to lose the wonderful character of Pat, we were mourning the loss of Pam. "You don't see everybody all the time [at EastEnders] at all, and sometimes you can go for months without seeing somebody. And most of the time you're on this big wheel and when people leave, you go, 'Oh, that's really sad', but you get back on. But actually Pam is a real loss up there."[22]

Former EastEnders star Martin Kemp said that the decision for Pat to leave was the "right" thing to do.[23] He told Bang Showbiz: "I still watch EastEnders from time to time. I did quite a few scenes with Pam, I remember we spent three or four days locked in a cellar once so we had quite some scenes. She's a great actress, I'm sure she'll go on to other things. I think she's making the right move, it's nice to spread your wings a bit. Although viewers will miss her I don't think anyone is bigger than the show, it doesn't matter who comes or who goes. When I was there I always thought the star of the show was and always will be the pub, the Queen Vic. Everything else is an extra around it."[23]

Reception[edit]

As of May 2005, the 1992 episode that saw Pat run over a teenage girl is the 11th most watched TV episode in the UK, and the second highest rated episode of EastEnders. It was watched by 24.2 million viewers.[24]

In popular culture[edit]

The character of Pat Evans has been spoofed in the cartoon sketch show 2DTV. The impressionist who provides the voice is Jan Ravens. Ravens has not only provided the voice of Pat, she has also acted the part on-screen in several episodes of BBC's Big Impression, which devoted a regular sketch to various EastEnders characters and she also played Pat in the other impressionist show Dead Ringers. The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson also contains sketches where impressionist Debra Stephenson portrays Pat in situations, often with Coronation Street character Ken Barlow, played by Jon Culshaw.[citation needed] She is also the frequent target of jokes in Harry Hill's TV Burp, usually alluding to her former prostitution and alleged sexual promiscuity.[citation needed] Comedian Lee Evans had once used Pat as one of his jokes in his latest tour Live at the O2 Arena.[citation needed] In the first episode of Series 3 of The Inbetweeners, Jay gets his ears pierced with large, round ear rings and is mocked by his friend Simon Cooper, who calls it the "Pat Butcher look".[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fat splat as Pat is run over by Roxy Mitchell The Sun, 29 April 2008
  2. ^ FAT PAT GETS PIC-NICKED Sunday Mirror, 10 June 2007
  3. ^ SPOILER ALERT EastEnders' Pat Evans left fighting for her life Now Magazine, 1 May 2008
  4. ^ "This Morning - (EastEnders) Pam St Clement Interview - 3/1/2012". Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  5. ^ EastEnders books, The EastEnders Handbook by Hilary Kingsley, ISBN 0-563-36292-8
  6. ^ EastEnders books, EastEnders: The First 10 Years: A Celebration by Colin Brake, ISBN 0-563-37057-2
  7. ^ EastEnders books, EastEnders: 20 years in Albert Square by Rupert Smith, ISBN 0-563-52165-1
  8. ^ a b Smith, Julia; Holland, Tony (1987). EastEnders - The Inside Story. Book Club Associates. ISBN 0-563-20601-2. 
  9. ^ a b Brake, Colin (1995). EastEnders: The First 10 Years: A Celebration. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-37057-2. 
  10. ^ a b "Tomorrow some 20 million people will tune in to EastEnders". The Independent. 24 December 1995. Retrieved 2007-07-04. [dead link]
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