Rudolph Walker as Patrick Trueman (2011)
|Portrayed by||Rudolph Walker|
|First appearance||13 September 2001|
|Introduced by||John Yorke|
Born in Trinidad, Patrick came to the UK in the 1950s to find work. He was subjected to racism and, during the 1958 Notting Hill race riots, was convicted of assault, while his fiancee Ruth was killed in a fire lit by Tommy Clifford who was a Teddy boy. Patrick played in a band named "The Five Hectors", which eventually disbanded. Later, he married a religious woman named Audrey (Corinne Skinner-Carter) in a shotgun wedding in 1969 after she allegedly fell pregnant with his son, Paul (Gary Beadle). In 1970, they had a second child, Anthony (Nicholas Bailey), but Patrick left Audrey and the children shortly after.
Patrick arrives in Walford for Audrey's funeral, reuniting with his two sons after decades apart. After a period of adjustment, the Trueman brothers accept Patrick; however, Paul grows suspicious of him and secretly performs a DNA test, where it is revealed that although Anthony is Patrick's biological son, Paul is not. It transpires that Paul is the son of Patrick's best friend Milton Hibbert (Jeffery Kissoon). Despite the upset, Patrick and Paul maintain a father-son relationship. Patrick becomes close friends with pensioner Jim Branning (John Bardon), who helps him woo Yolande Duke (Angela Wynter) with love letters after Patrick has a holiday romance with her in Trinidad. As a result, Yolande moves to Walford, leaving her strict Christian husband Victor (Ben Thomas), whose attempt to bribe Patrick to finish with Yolande ultimately fails. Patrick and Yolande marry and briefly foster a young girl named Katie in 2004, though they find it difficult when she is returned to her mother. Paul starts dealing drugs for Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs), ultimately leading to his death when he tries to double-cross Andy. Patrick is devastated to lose his son and begins a vendetta against Andy.
Patrick rents the car-lot, hiring Pat Butcher (Pam St. Clement) to do bookkeeping. Patrick and Pat begin a casual affair, which Yolande discovers when Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) informs her; Yolande slaps Pat, who retaliates. Yolande threatens to leave, but Patrick persuades her to rebuild their marriage. Yolande remains resentful and almost strays with Aubrey Valentine (Joseph Marcell), a member of Patrick's former band; Aubrey tries to destroy Patrick but fails and the Truemans remain together. Denise Fox (Diane Parish) discovers that a member of Patrick's band is her father although she is unsure which member. Patrick takes a DNA test and it is revealed that he is not Denise's father, but he pretends he is as he has grown attached to her. The truth comes out while Patrick and Denise holiday together; despite initial upset, Denise and the Truemans remain close. Patrick sees Denise as the daughter he never had and acts as grandfather to her two daughters Chelsea (Tiana Benjamin) and Libby (Belinda Owusu).
After purchasing the Minute Mart grocery store, Patrick and Yolande run it together. Patrick is assaulted there, and although Chelsea and her friend Deano Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) claim the assailant is Sean Slater (Robert Kazinsky) in a set-up, it is later revealed to be Craig Dixon (Rory Jennings), whom Patrick had disagreed with over the sale of alcohol. Patrick becomes fearful of leaving his house, but eventually overcomes this with support from his wife and friends. After Yolande impresses a Minute Mart official, she is offered a management position in Birmingham. Yolande accepts and prepares to move, however Patrick is less keen. Yolande leaves for Birmingham in October 2008, leaving Patrick behind to sell their house under the premise he will join her later. However, Yolande ultimately decides she is happier without Patrick and ends their marriage, leaving Patrick devastated; they divorce in 2009. The Fox family move in with Patrick, including Denise's lover Lucas Johnson (Don Gilet), a religious fanatic. When Patrick discovers Lucas is withholding information about a tryst he has had with his ex-wife Trina (Sharon Duncan Brewster), Patrick orders him to confess. Lucas responds by blackmailing Patrick, threatening to tell Denise about his criminal past during the Notting Hill riots. Patrick's past was revealed anyway, by Chelsea's boyfriend Theo Kelly (Rolan Bell), who is in league with Tommy Clifford (Edward Woodward). Tommy claims to be writing a book about black culture, but it is eventually revealed that he is the man who killed Patrick's fiancée in the 1950s. Patrick is furious, but eventually relents to Tommy's dying wish and forgives his criminal act moments before his death.
After attending an over-50s dance, Patrick starts a relationship with Liz Turner (Kate Williams), Denise's former mother-in-law. However, Patrick tires of her quickly and Liz moves away when it is revealed that Lucas is a serial killer who has murdered her son, Owen Turner (Lee Ross). Lucas is eventually imprisoned after holding Denise and her family hostage. Denise is supported through emotional recovery by Patrick and her sister Kim Fox (Tameka Empson). Kim purchases the B&B in Walford; Patrick and the Fox sisters run the business together, while Patrick also works as a potman in The Queen Vic.
When Patrick sees Ben Mitchell (Joshua Pascoe) kissing Duncan Willis (Steven France), Ben throws a brick through Patrick's window and confronts him. Ben's father, Phil (Steve McFadden) sees Patrick defending himself against Ben, and starts feuding with Patrick; Phil's aggression towards Patrick only ceases when Ben admits to Phil that he threatened Patrick so as not to divulge that he is gay. Patrick has a brief dallience with Rose Cotton (Polly Perkins), and later loses his home when Kim's B&B is burnt down during on Christmas Day. Patrick begins to keep stolen fireworks and alcohol in his home's basement for Alfie Moon (Shane Richie), which enhance the damage done by the fire and results in Kim being unable claim insurance. Patrick moves in with Rose and her sister Dot (June Brown), but he is devastated when his friend Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison) is murdered. The trauma of the murder deeply affects Patrick, and he decides to leave Walford temporarily to visit his son Anthony, returning a few months later. Patrick becomes friends with Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell). At a funeral of one of Patrick's old friends, they pretend to be in a relationship. Although Patrick has feelings for Cora, she insists they are just friends and their kiss was meaningless. After Patrick admits that he likes her as more than friends, they decide to start a relationship, taking it slowly. Patrick is disgusted when Ben is unmasked as Heather's killer, and it emerges that Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) helped cover it up. The whole square rejects Jay, but Patrick softens towards him when he remembers how he was victimised in the past and takes Jay to live with him as he has nowhere else to go. When Patrick becomes unwittingly involved with the return of Cora's adopted daughter, Ava Hartman (Clare Perkins), Cora ends the relationship, but they remain friends.
When Patrick falls off a ladder, injuring his arm and leg, Denise and Kim vow to take care of him. However when they are too busy, Denise hires Magda Bakowska (Wanda Opalinska) to look after Patrick. This frustrates him and when Magda leaves him on his own, Patrick becomes intoxicated and lashes out at Denise, culminating in her fall and cut to her face. Patrick soon reconciles with Denise, and recovers from his injuries. Patrick befriends Betty Spragg (Tessa Wyatt), and picks her as his dance partner over Cora. Cora is jealous, and makes fun of Betty behind her back, which angers Patrick and puts a strain on their friendship. Cora's granddaughter, Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald) and Kim plot to get Cora and Patrick back together, locking them in a shed. Patrick then ends his friendship with Betty and resumes a relationship with Cora.
Patrick also makes cameo appearances in the Internet spin-off series EastEnders: E20. In series 1, Fatboy (Ricky Norwood) convinces Patrick to sell him alcohol from the shop, despite having no identification. In episode 3 of series 2, Stevie Dickinson (Amanda Fairbank-Hynes) attempts to buy drinks from Patrick in the shop but her payment card is declined. In episode 5, Naz Mehmet (Emaa Hussen) goes to the shop asking for items of food that Patrick does not sell, and he asks her not to shop there anymore. She later asks him if he has seen Stevie.
Creation and development
Patrick was introduced by John Yorke as a replacement parental figure to the Trueman brothers; Anthony (Nick Bailey) and Paul (Gary Beadle), following the departure of Audrey Trueman (Corinne Skinner-Carter), the mother of Anthony and Paul who was killed-off in September 2001. Patrick first appeared at Audrey's "rum-fuelled wake" as her estranged husband. Walker was keen to play a comic element to the character; telling Larry Jaffee of Walford Gazette, "Before joining, I told the producer comedy is an area I would like to explore with the character because there was not enough of it in the show. Patrick treats a lot of things with a certain amount of humour. His way of escaping a problem is to find something funny to do or say or sometimes to get himself out of a tight corner. That’s really the sort of foundation. I try to put as much humour as possible into the character."
Yolande Trueman (Angela Wynter) was introduced in 2003 as a love interest for Patrick. Following their screen marriage in 2004, the characters were involved in the BBC's season "Taking Care", which covered issues "surrounding a different kind of childhood". The Truemans were involved in a storyline about fostering after they decided to foster a 14 year old boy, JJ, following an encounter with him at their Bed and Breakfast. In 2007, executive producer Diederick Santer used Patrick and Yolande to cover a storyline about racism, that according to the producer, was inspired by the 2007 Celebrity Big Brother race row, sparked by supposed racist bullying of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty by UK celebrity Jade Goody. In the storyline, the characters Jay Brown and Sean Slater used racist phrases to the Truemans, and their reaction to the insults. Santer commented, "The Celebrity Big Brother race row kicked off as I took charge of my first scripts. I thought it was fascinating because it showed there was a real need for a debate about race in Britain. [Big Brother] didn’t do it particularly well, so I thought it could be something EastEnders should do. Our stuff won’t be overly moralistic or preachy but it will tackle this serious issue head on." Wynter was axed from EastEnders in 2008, ending Patrick and Yolande's screen union. Wynter commented, "'Patrick and Yolande’s marriage is the only representation of a black union in British TV, which I am very proud to have played." Discussing Wynter's axing, Rudolph Walker said: "I really enjoyed working with Angela, because apart from anything else, she was a tremendous help to me - we've known each other a long time. I have to be thankful for the time she was in the show, and I'm in regular contact with her. I know she does watch EastEnders and while she obviously misses being part of the cast, she still enjoys it. Whether she's keeping an eye on Patrick or Rudolph, I can't be sure!"
In February 2009, EastEnders aired its first episode consisting of an entirely black cast. The episode focused up on Patrick and the Fox family. It concentrated on Patrick reminiscing about London in the 1950s after his arrival from the Caribbean. The script involved discussion about racism, with reference to the real life occurrence of the 1958 Notting Hill race riots in London. Taking the discussion of racism further, the characters considered it lessened in the 21st century, but that it still existed, possibly in more subtle forms. The episode averaged 8.37m (35.6%) viewers. It was part of a wider storyline concentrating on Patrick's past, and the murder of his fiancée during the race riots. Actor Edward Woodward was brought in especially for the storyline as Tommy Clifford, the man who killed her and subsequently sought his redemption before he died.
Following the airing of EastEnders' all-black cast for the first time in the show's history in 2009, the BBC received criticism for not adequately advertising the event. The programme-makers refuted these claims, insisting that the storyline received the same publicity treatment as the soap's other ongoing plots. A spokesperson told media website Digital Spy: "Everyone at Elstree has been truly shocked and surprised by the attention that an episode with an all-black cast has had, given that we live in such a diverse and multicultural society. [The] episode focuses on Patrick Trueman sharing his experiences of being a young man living in 1950s Britain with the family he lives with (the Foxes) which does mean it is solely an all-black cast on screen. Patrick and the Foxes are an integral part of Albert Square and this is no different to other episodes where we've concentrated on one particular family or storyline in the past." Additionally, the BBC received "183 complaints about the episode's 'unnecessary' content, while some viewers felt aggrieved by the nature of an 'all-black' cast. Some 57 complains, meanwhile, were logged before it aired." The BBC responded, "It is not unusual for EastEnders to devote a whole episode to a single storyline or set of characters, and this episode was one of these occasions. This was an opportunity to explore in some depth the background and experiences of Patrick Trueman, one of EastEnders' longest-standing and most popular characters. There have been many 'all-white' episodes in the show's 24-year history, and we do not believe there is any reason why an 'all-black' episode should not be included within the series. Some viewers felt it was unnecessary to raise the subject of the Notting Hill race riots. These form part of the character's experience, as well as British history, and we feel it was absolutely legitimate for these characters to discuss them."
- "Kim and Denise fuss over Patrick. - EastEnders: 4590: 2013-02-19". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Cobbinah, Angela (23 October 2008). "Corinne and the killing of Audrey". Camden New Journal. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- Banks-Smith, Nancy (14 September 2001). "Here comes the son". guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- Jaffee, Larry. "Exclusive Interview With Rudolph Waker (Patrick Trueman)". Walford Gazette. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
- "Taking Care with EastEnders". BBC News. 20 February 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "'Big Brother' race row influenced Walford racism plot". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. 14 July 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "EastEnders' Yolande 'axed after producers run out of storylines'". Daily Mail. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "Rudolph Walker misses Yolande". My Park Magazine. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "EastEnders hails black landmark". BBC News. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "BBC: 'All-black' 'Enders 'not unreasonable'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. 2 March 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "Equalizer star joins EastEnders". BBC News. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
- "'Enders defends 'all-black cast' story". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.