List of EastEnders characters (1997)
- 1 Neelam Kapoor
- 2 Courtney Mitchell
- 3 Polly Becker
- 4 Alex Healy
- 5 Annie Palmer
- 6 Lorna Cartwright
- 7 Irene Raymond
- 8 Susan Rose
- 9 Matthew Rose
- 10 Julie Haye
- 11 Conor Flaherty
- 12 Mary Flaherty
- 13 Maggie Flaherty
- 14 Sean Flaherty
- 15 Eamonn Flaherty
- 16 Brenda Flaherty
- 17 Colette Flaherty
- 18 Gerry McCrae
- 19 Eamonn Flaherty Jnr
- 20 Jessie Moore
- 21 Ros Thorne
- 22 Nick Holland
- 23 Josh Saunders
- 24 Jeff Healy
- 25 Others
- 26 References
- 27 External links
|Portrayed by||Jamila Massey|
|First appearance||3 March 1997|
|Last appearance||28 July 1998|
Neelam and her husband built themselves a profitable clothing business, but left it in the hands of their son, Sanjay (Deepak Verma), in the late 1980s and emigrated to their native India. However Sanjay proved to be a poor businessman and after some bad monetary investments, his business went bankrupt. Sanjay kept this from his parents and moves to Walford to open a clothing stall in 1993. In February 1997 Sanjay hears news that his father has died. He travels to India for the funeral and returns early in March with his mother in tow. Sanjay's wife Gita (Shobu Kapoor) is horrified. She had always had a tempestuous relationship with Sanjay's interfering mother and she is furious that he has brought her to live with them without her consent. Neelam, sensing Gita's disapproval, goes out of her way to be as obliging as possible and she is even understanding upon hearing the clothing business had floundered. Gita begrudgingly begins to accept Neelam's presence but finds her domineering mannerisms a little irksome.
Neelam helps with the running of the Kapoor's market stall, before buying the First Til Last grocery store in August 1997. Neelam is adamant that the shop should be run as a family business, so she fires the resident shop assistant, Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson). Neelam continues to irritate Gita as the year wears on by instructing her on the upbringing of her daughter, Sharmilla (Priya Bilkhu), and accusing her of being a bad wife to Sanjay. Sanjay allows Neelam to pamper him and cater to his every whim, which infuriates Gita further. By October Gita can take no more so she decides to leave Walford with Sharmilla for a holiday with her sister, but not before telling Neelam a few home truths about Sanjay's adultery before departing. Neelam is appalled, but she is only to happy to believe her precious son when he claims Gita was merely lying. Gita and Sharmilla are due to return in January 1998, but they go missing in suspicious circumstances and the police suspect foul play. It transpires that Gita had merely run away after falling pregnant with another man's baby. Sanjay tracks her down and Gita is persuaded to return to Walford with Sharmilla and her new baby. Neelam is furious about Gita's immoral behaviour and will not condone Sanjay taking on another man's child as his own. She tries to convince him to divorce Gita and fight for custody of Sharmilla. Sanjay defiantly refuses to do this, so Neelam sells her shop to Terry Raymond (Gavin Richards) and leaves Walford to live with her extended family in Bristol, disowning her son on the way out. Her last appearance is in July 1998.
|Portrayed by||Carissa & Josephine O'Meara (1997–99)
Megan Jossa (2006)
Alice Nokes (2016)
|Duration||1997–99, 2006, 2016|
|First appearance||11 March 1997|
|Last appearance||9 September 2016|
|Introduced by||Jane Harris (1997)
Kate Harwood (2006)
Sean O'Connor (2016)
Courtney Dawn Mitchell is the daughter of characters Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) and Tiffany Mitchell (Martine McCutcheon). From her on-screen birth in 1997 until 1999, Courtney was played by identical twins Carissa and Josephine O'Meara. She was written out of the soap when Kemp decided to quit. When Grant and Courtney returned in 2006, Courtney was played by Megan Jossa until they departed once again in June that year. Courtney made an unannounced return on the 4th of August 2016, played by Alice Nokes. She leaves on 9 September 2016.
Courtney was born prematurely by caesarean section in March 1997. At first it was unknown whether her father is Grant Mitchell or Tony Hills (Mark Homer), but a DNA test revealed that Grant is her father. Grant and Tiffany separate and Tiffany was about to leave with Courtney on New Year's Eve 1998, but while chasing Grant who has snatched Courtney, Tiffany was struck and killed by Frank Butcher (Mike Reid)'s car. Grant and Courtney moved to Rio de Janeiro in October 1999, and Courtney lived with her dad and stepmother Carla Mitchell (Christianne Oliveira).
Courtney returned to London on 27 March 2006 with Grant. Beyond mischievous, Courtney often refused to do as she's told and argued with her cousin Ben Mitchell (Charlie Jones). Ben told Courtney that her father killed her mother. Initially she refused to believe Grant's claim that Tiffany's death was an accident. When Grant's wife Carla arrived, Courtney shows her blatant dislike. Grant decided that they should move to Portugal for a fresh start. But he dumped Carla on 9 June 2006 after discovering that she planned to fleece him and run off with another man, so just Grant and Courtney moved to Portugal. In 2010, Courtney is heard on the phone talking to her grandmother Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor).
In August 2016, Courtney read a text on Grant's phone from his sister-in-law and former wife, Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean), and met her at a café, saying that Grant is not coming. Courtney asked why she and Grant were not invited to Peggy's funeral, to which Sharon says that they were. Courtney followed Sharon to the police station, where she saw Grant outside. Grant told Courtney he got arrested for being drunk and rude to a police officer. Courtney took an instant dislike to Belinda Peacock (Carli Norris) when Grant flirted with her. When they talk about the past, Grant tells Courtney that his brother Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) killed Peggy. Courtney stormed off when Grant gets angry about her meeting Sharon. Annoyed with the lack of attention from Grant, Courtney refused to let him stay with her. Courtney visited Phil and Sharon to see if they have heard from Grant as he owes her money, and Sharon gave Courtney some money. Courtney told Sharon she knows what Phil did to Peggy, but Sharon told her it is not true.
Courtney takes a liking to Mark Fowler (Ned Porteous), not knowing he is her brother, and they both admit at Shakil Kazemi's (Shaheen Jafargholi) party they like each other. Louise Mitchell (Tilly Keeper) tells Sharon about them, prompting her and Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) to find them. Sharon, Ian and Phil find out nothing happened between Courtney and Mark. Courtney and Louise merely become witnesses when the Mitchell house is being broken into in order for Ben and Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) to be kidnapped. Courtney and Louise both hide in the bedroom and in the midst of the panic, Courtney rings Grant for help during the struggle. Shortly afterwards Mark comforts Courtney only to be confronted by Grant. Grant stops Courtney and Mark from kissing and Courtney is angry with him. Grant tells Courtney he's going back to Portugal and Courtney pretends not to care. Courtney catches up with Grant at the tube station and decides to go to Portugal with him.
Of her casting in 2006, Jossa said: "I couldn't believe it when I heard I had got the part... it's going to be amazing and I can't wait." Described as "charming, intelligent yet spoilt", Courtney "loves being the centre of attention and hates sharing the spotlight with anyone".
Of her casting in 2016, Nokes said, "I was so excited [when I got the part]! To be a part of such an experienced cast and in one of the most renowned families in British soaps... it was a dream come true!" Nokes was unaware which part she was auditioning for as the scripts she was given had a different character's name. Nokes said that she is similar to Courtney, who is "very kind-hearted and very much like her mum, Tiffany. I think she's vulnerable but in an endearing way. However, Courtney is confident and likes to party!" She also added that Courtney "adores her dad and their relationship is strong. But I think she wants to hate him and teach him a lesson all the time. She feels like the adult in the relationship." Nokes confirmed she would appear in "a few episodes" and was not sure if she would return in the future, although Nokes seems keen to reprise the role on a full-time basis. 
Polly Becker, played by Victoria Gould, is a journalist who turns up in Albert Square in March 1997 to report the local happenings for the Walford Gazette. Author Kate Lock has described Polly as "hard-bitten, cynical, ambitious" and someone who "never allowed sentiment to get in the way of a good story." As well as reporting on the scandalous private lives of a few Walford residents, Polly is embroiled in a love triangle storyline with bi-sexual Tony Hills (Mark Homer) and gay Simon Raymond (Andrew Lynford). Tony cheats on Simon with Polly and according to the BBC, "the way the show portrayed Tony coming to terms with his bisexuality was widely praised".
Alex Healy, played by Richard Driscoll, arrives in Walford as the local vicar. He runs a homeless shelter with the help of Christian follower Sarah Hills (Daniela Denby-Ashe), despite protests from many of the residents in Walford. Alex's most notable storyline is a love affair with Kathy Mitchell (Gillian Taylforth) who is married to Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). Discussing the storyline, Driscoll has suggested that Alex had been "wracked by emotional and spiritual turmoil ever since" sleeping with Kathy. He added, "Alex has got a lot of conflict. He's been suggesting to his father that he should work at his relationship with his wife - but there he is having an affair with a married woman. He feels a bit of a hypocrite - he feels guilty and ashamed. But the inescapable fact is he's attracted to Kathy. Something strange and wonderful happens to him when he's around her."
Annie Palmer, played by Nadia Sawalha, is the daughter of George Palmer (Paul Moriarty), and arrives to help George manage his dodgy businesses. A ' tough-nut business woman', author Kate Lock has described her as "a rather terrifying creation, a kind of dominatrix without the dungeon. A verbal Miss Whiplash, she tore strips off anyone who crosses her." As well as managing various enterprises, Annie has a brief fling with Conor Flaherty (Seán Gleeson), and almost starts a relationship with Gianni di Marco (Marc Bannerman) until her father tells her that Gianni may be her half-brother. Annie later becomes involved with fellow businessman Steve Owen (Martin Kemp), but he eventually rejects her, leaving her humiliated.
Lorna Cartwright, played by Janet Dibley, is an alcoholic who meets Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) at an AA meeting and becomes “attached to him”; they begin a torrid affair, which ends badly. Lorna’s principal purpose was to break up the marriage of Phil and his wife Kathy (Gillian Taylforth), which eventually happens. After being absent from August 1997, Lorna reappears once again in February 1998, and a suicide bid by her helps to ruin Phil and Kathy's chance of patching up their marriage, and Kathy leaves for a new life in South Africa.
Irene Raymond, played by Roberta Taylor, is the ex-wife of Ted Hills (Brian Croucher) and the estranged mother of Sarah and Tony Hills (Daniela Denby-Ashe and Mark Homer). Author Rupert Smith has stated that she is "flighty, bitchy and self-centred [...] the mother from hell", but has noted that she is a "breath of fresh air when compared to her ghastly children". Irene is instantly paired romantically with Terry Raymond (Gavin Richards), and Rupert Smith has suggested that in Terry, Irene "met her match in dreadfulness" and likens them to a "geriatric Romeo and Juliet". He goes on to say that, "separately, the Hills and Raymonds were disastrous, dysfunctional families. Joined together, as they were by Terry and Irene's distasteful romance, they were unbearable."
|Portrayed by||Tilly Vosburgh|
|First appearance||25 August 1997|
|Last appearance||14 February 1999|
She arrives in Walford in 1997 along with her son Matthew. She suffers from multiple sclerosis and Michael and Matthew end up caring for her. Michael and Susan's relationship takes an upward turn as a result of this and they soon rekindle their relationship. When a new market inspector Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin) arrives in Walford in late 1998, Michael becomes attracted to her, and soon after, he and Lisa start an affair. Michael ends the affair with Lisa within weeks after Susan wants Michael to move away with her to Leeds. Susan and Michael leave Walford together in 1999 and Susan is unaware of Michael and Lisa's fling. Although Michael occasionally returns to Walford later in the year to support Matthew when he is on trial for the murder of Saskia Duncan (Deborah Sheridan-Taylor), Susan does not return and has not been seen since.
Matthew Rose, played by Joe Absolom, is the son of Michael and Susan Rose (Russell Floyd and Tilly Vosburgh). Initially a sulky teenager, Matthew develops a friendship with club owner Steve Owen (Martin Kemp), and is present to witness Steve accidentally killing his ex-girlfriend Saskia Duncan (Deborah Sheridan-Taylor). A police investigation follows the discovery of Saskia's body, and Steve frames Matthew. Both Matthew and Steve stand trial for manslaughter. Steve is exonerated, but Matthew is found guilty and imprisoned.
Julie Haye, played by Karen Henthorn, is the teacher of Clare Bates (Gemma Bissix). Julie falls in love with Clare's stepfather, Nigel (Paul Bradley), whilst they are trying to sort the problematic youngster. A slow on/off romance develops between Nigel and Julie, but Nigel initially struggles with the guilt of moving on following the death of his wife a few years earlier. Faced with Nigel's uncertainty, Julie makes plans to leave Walford for a teaching job in Scotland; however, moments before she leaves, Nigel chooses to move to Scotland with her. They leave with Clare in April 1998.
Conor Flaherty, played by Seán Gleeson, is first seen when his aunt Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) tracks him and his mother Maggie (Olivia Shanley) down in Ireland. Conor, and his daughter Mary (Melanie Clark Pullen) move to Walford with Pauline. He falls for Ruth (Caroline Paterson), the wife of Pauline's son, Mark (Todd Carty). They eventually have an affair, leading to Ruth becoming pregnant with Conor's child.
Mary Flaherty, played by Melanie Clark Pullen, is the daughter of Conor (Seán Gleeson). When her relatives, the Fowlers, go to Ireland to meet her family, Mary sees a chance to escape her alcoholic, violent grandfather Sean (Pat Laffin), and moves to Walford with them and her father. Mary struggles to settle in Walford, despite having a fling with Joe Wicks (Paul Nicholls), and then later getting involved with Matthew Rose (Joe Absolom) and Robbie Jackson (Dean Gaffney).
Maggie Flaherty, played by Olivia Shanley, is the sister of Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard). Maggie was given up for adoption before Pauline was born, and Pauline only found out about Maggie years after their mother had died. Pauline and her family visit Maggie and her family in Ireland, and the sisters meet for the first time.
Sean Flaherty, played by Pat Laffin, is the husband of Maggie (Olivia Shanley). When Maggie's sister, Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) and her family visit Maggie, it becomes clear to them that Sean is an abusive drunk, who is particularly harsh towards Mary (Melanie Clark Pullen), his granddaughter.
Eamonn Flaherty, played by Maurice O'Donoghue, is the eldest son of Maggie and Sean Flaherty (Olivia Shanley and Pat Laffin). Eamonn is extremely loyal to his drunken father, and defends Sean's bullying to his long-lost cousin Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt).
Brenda Flaherty, played by Janet Behan, is the wife of Eamonn (Maurice O'Donoghue), and mother to his children. Mary (Melanie Clark Pullen), Brenda's niece, lets it be known that Brenda is lazy, smelly and needs to take a bath.
Colette Flaherty, played by Shiona Redmond, is the eldest daughter of Eamonn and Brenda Flaherty (Maurice O'Donoghue and Janet Behan). She has a brief holiday romance with her distant relative, Martin Fowler (James Alexandrou), whilst he and his family are visiting the Flahertys in Ireland.
Gerry McCrae, played by Simon O'Gorman, is a married man who is secretly having an affair with Mary Flaherty (Melanie Clark Pullen). He tells Mary he is leaving his wife to be with her, but she ends their relationship, and moves to Walford.
Eamonn Flaherty Jnr
Eamonn Flaherty, played by Seán Walsh, is the son of Eamonn and Brenda Flaherty (Maurice O'Donoghue and Janet Behan). He witnesses his sister, Colette (Shiona Redmond), kissing Martin Fowler (James Alexandrou).
|Portrayed by||Chelsey Paden|
|First appearance||7 October 1997|
|Last appearance||5 May 1998|
Jessie Moore, played by Chelsey Paden, had been put into foster care when her drug addict mother was imprisoned on remand for various offences. In October 1997 Jessie is housed with Mark and Ruth Fowler (Todd Carty and Caroline Paterson) in Walford. Six-year-old Jessie is a deeply troubled child, who is extremely shy and refuses to speak initially. She is also a bedwetter and Mark and Ruth seem unable to get her to open up to them, but they eventually manage to make progress and they become extremely attached to her.
In 1998, Jessie's mother, Nicole (Sara Stephens), telephones the Fowlers and asks for Jessie to visit her in prison. Mark refuses to allow this, but the social worker assures him that Nicole has completed her de-tox programme and that contact between her and Jessie is particularly important. Jessie visits and becomes excited to learn that Nicole will soon be released from prison. Nicole pays Jessie an impromptu visit on the day of her 7th birthday in February 1998. Nicole has found herself a bedsit and wants to take Jessie back. Mark and Ruth try to contest Nicole's decision, but they are told that reuniting children with their parents is what fostering is for. Nicole spends several weeks visiting Jessie to rebuild their relationship and eventually Ruth and Mark realise how close they are. They retract their opposition and Nicole is given custody of Jessie in March 1998. Ruth is particularly saddened by Jessie's departure and she buys her a necklace to remind her of the time they have spent together.
|Portrayed by||Clare Grogan|
|First appearance||3 November 1997|
|Last appearance||10 April 1998|
Ros Thorne, played by Clare Grogan, is a Scottish private detective who Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) hires to trace his two sons, Steven and Peter. Steven and Peter had been taken by their mother, Cindy (Michelle Collins), following her failed attempt to have Ian killed by a professional hitman in 1996.
Ian and Ros discover that Cindy is residing in Italy and follow her there in November 1997. While hunting for Cindy, Ian and Ros become attracted to each other. They have a brief sexual encounter, though their relationship never progresses into anything serious as Ian is preoccupied with his children. After days of searching, Ros eventually finds Cindy working in an Italian bar and she and Ian concoct a plan to abscond with Ian's children. They lure Cindy into a trap, while Phil and Grant Mitchell (Steve McFadden and Ross Kemp) kidnap Steven and Peter and bring them to the airport to reunite with their father. Despite a few hitches, Ian manages to bring the children safely back to Walford, with Cindy in pursuit.
Cindy threatens to take Ian to court for custody of the children. Ian continues to use Ros to investigate Cindy and her new partner, Nick Holland (Dominic Taylor)—a rich businessman who is funding the custody case. Ros also begins investigating Ian's hitman, John Valecue (Steve Weston), who is now being held in prison for an unrelated murder. Valecue is unwilling to admit that Cindy hired him to kill Ian, as his sentence will likely increase if he admits to his involvement. However, after Annie Palmer (Nadia Sawalha) threatens him with severe repercussions from her associates within the prison, Valecue eventually confesses. Cindy is arrested and imprisoned, and Ian is given custody of his children. Ros is not seen again following the completion of the case.
|Portrayed by||Dominic Taylor|
|First appearance||12 November 1997|
|Last appearance||10 April 1998|
Nick Holland, played by Dominic Taylor, first appears when Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) meets him in Italy while on the run after escaping from Walford with her children. They become lovers, and Cindy becomes pregnant with his child. When Cindy's former husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) tracks her down and steals the children back from Cindy and returns to Walford, Nick at first tries to help Cindy and comes with her back to Walford to get custody of the children. During the custody trial, Cindy is arrested for the attempted murder of Ian, and Nick realises what Cindy is really like. Nick returns to Italy after the trial ends. Cindy later dies while giving birth to Cindy Williams in prison, but Nick never returns for his daughter, and she is brought up by her grandmother Bev Williams (Diane Langton) and aunt Gina Williams (Nicola Cowper). In 2014, Cindy has a daughter, Beth Williams, making Nick a grandfather.
|Portrayed by||Jon Lee|
|First appearance||18 November 1997|
|Last appearance||30 April 1998|
Josh was introduced as part of a storyline to aid the departure of the long-running characters, Nigel and Clare Bates (played by Paul Bradley and Gemma Bissix). Actor Paul Bradley had decided to leave the serial, reportedly for fear of being typecast. The writers of EastEnders wanted to give Nigel a happy ending, so a character named Julie Haye (Karen Henthorn) was invented to be a love interest for Nigel, whilst her son, Josh, was invented to be a love interest for Nigel's daughter, Clare.
Josh, is played by Jon Lee, who went on to find greater fame as a singer in the successful pop group, S Club 7. Lee has said that he won a part in EastEnders “by complete accident really.” He played the role of Josh for six months. As the storyline reaches its end, the Bates family join Josh and his mother for a new life in Scotland. Josh last appears in April 1998.
Josh Saunders is first seen as a pupil rescuing Clare Bates from a gang of bullies—her former friends who become her enemies after she refuses to socialise with them. Clare develops an instant crush on Josh, and she spends the following few weeks trying to impress him. They start dating, despite initial objections from Clare's father, Nigel. It transpires that Josh is actually the son of Clare's teacher, Julie Haye. Clare is mortified by this initially, and she refuses to speak to Josh for a brief period. However, she soon comes to accept the situation, and is even pleased when her father begins dating Josh's mother.
Josh finds himself caught in the middle of his warring parents—his father, Eliot (Lawrence Lambert), is furious when Julie announces that she is planning to move to Scotland with Josh in 1998. Eliot is Jewish, and Josh is obliged to have a Bar Mitzvah to appease his father before he leaves for Scotland. Josh is initially opposed to this, as he is not remotely interested in religion. He starts missing his Bar Mitzvah tutorials, which does not please his father, but he ultimately decides to go ahead with the Bar Mitzvah. It takes place in March 1998 and Clare is present as his guest. Nigel and Julie's relationship ends when Nigel begins to have second thoughts, and Julie and Josh leave Walford for Scotland in April 1998. Clare is upset to see Josh go, they say their goodbyes, but just at the last minute, Nigel changes his mind again, and asks Julie if he and Clare can move to Scotland with her and Josh. Clare is overjoyed and Josh and Julie return to collect the Bateses a few weeks later.
Following Clare's return to Walford a decade later, in 2008, she reveals that as she had aged, Josh had taken her place in Nigel's affections.
|Portrayed by||Leslie Schofield|
|First appearance||9 December 1997|
|Last appearance||3 August 2000|
Jeff is an atheist who disapproves of his son, Alex (Richard Driscoll) being a vicar. He first arrives in Albert Square in December 1997 to try and rebuild bridges with Alex. One of Jeff's daughters, Melanie (Tamzin Outhwaite), makes a reappearance in his life and the three of them gradually begin living as a family again. Jeff has a brief courtship with Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) but is rejected when he proposes to her. Jeff leaves Walford in August 2000.
|Marianne||29 August||Rosemary Martin|
|Patrick||22–25 September||Garrett Keogh||See EastEnders episodes in Ireland.|
|John Flaherty||23–25 September||Unknown|
|Hazel Foster||21 October||Jean Rimmer||The grandmother of Joe Wicks. After Joe leaves Walford, Mary Flaherty visits Hazel in Bolton to try and track him down.|
|Melanie Thomas||13–14 November||Ava Healy||Ian Beale's opponent in the election for a seat on Walford Council. She wins the seat and later annoys Ian by approving Alex Healy's application for a shelter for homeless people in Bridge Street, called Bridge House, which Ian is strongly opposed to.|
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