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as Mark Fowler in EastEnders, 1980s
|Died||27 April 1988 (aged 20)|
|Cause of death||Suicide|
David Timothy Scarboro (3 February 1968 – 27 April 1988) was an English actor who was best known for portraying Mark Fowler in the popular British soap opera EastEnders from the programme's inception in February until April 1985 before appearing intermittently between 1986 and 1987.
Scarboro made his acting debut in an episode of the television series Scene titled Good Neighbours which aired in 1984. That same year he appeared as a student in episodes of the school drama series Grange Hill.
From its inception in February 1985 until April of that same year, Scarboro played the part of Mark Fowler in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. The actor did not respond well to the sudden fame the role brought him, and later became very concerned when the writers decided that the character of Mark should become a racist.
Things came to a head one day when the script called for a scene where Mark was to deliver racist abuse to Paul J. Medford's character, Kelvin Carpenter. Scarboro firmly refused to play the scene. After this it was decided he should leave the show. His character was abruptly written out of the storyline; one morning his family arose to discover he had secretly moved away during the night. Mark was not seen nor heard from for several months.
In December 1985, Scarboro briefly returned to the series in a storyline where Mark was reunited with his parents. His parents had travelled to visit him in Southend-on-Sea where he had settled with an older woman who had children from an earlier relationship. Scarboro subsequently returned for brief stints in 1986 and 1987, but never returned to the series on a permanent or on-going basis. Scarboro's last appearance in the series was in the episode aired on Christmas Day, 1987.
In February 2010, footage of Mark, played by David Scarboro, was seen in video footage watched by Ian and Dot to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary.
Media intrusion and death
Elements of the UK tabloid press reported that Scarboro had been fired from the show for turning up late for filming and being uncooperative on set. Away from the series Scarboro initiated libel proceedings after several national papers published inaccurate stories about his private life, but the press continued to pursue him and his family. The News of the World discovered that Scarboro was in a psychiatric unit, and published photographs of the place. Scarboro subsequently left the unit because he could no longer get adequate treatment, and inaccurate stories about his condition were being published.
He died on 27 April 1988. His body was found at the bottom of Beachy Head. The coroner gave an open verdict on his death. A documentary on his life was produced by the BBC in 1988 titled My Brother David and was presented by his brother Simon. His parents left the country soon after their son's death.
The character of Mark Fowler was not killed off and the character was reintroduced in 1990 to be played by Todd Carty. The character continued in EastEnders as a regular character until 2003, when the character was written out of the series and died off-screen the following year.
- My Brother David, a film presented by David's brother Simon and produced by Roger Tonge for BBC TV