Eastenders' Pat to hang up her earrings
Friday 08 July 2011
EastEnders veteran Pam St Clement is to bow out of Albert Square, more than a quarter of a century after making her debut as no-nonsense Pat.
The actress, 69, one of the longest serving stars of the show, will leave Walford later this year.
St Clement said she had other things she wanted to do but said leaving the soap would be like a "bereavement".
During her colourful years in the show, Pat remarried several times, has gone to prison and enjoyed affairs with Walford characters such as infamous lothario Den Watts (Leslie Grantham).
St Clement joined the BBC1 show in 1986 - a year after it launched - and became noted for her dangly earrings and brassy bleached hairdo.
She was first seen after arriving in the Square to break the news to Pete Beale (Peter Dean) he was not the father of her son Simon Wicks (Nick Berry).
St 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."
Viewers have seen her marry Frank Butcher in 1989 and then her fourth husband, Roy Evans, in 1996.
Her most famous scenes over her long career have often been moments of high drama, often involving slaps.
In one memorable scene she and Peggy Butcher (Barbara Windsor) exchanged blows amid cries of "you bitch" and "you cow". In another climactic scene, Pat's affair with ex-husband Frank was exposed by Peggy in front of regulars at the Queen Vic, ending with slaps for the pair who had betrayed her.
Pat has also had a stint as the Vic's landlady, survived a heart attack, and been imprisoned for a hit and run.
The BBC would not say how she will leave the show at this stage. St Clement is second only to Adam Woodyatt - who plays Ian Beale - as the longest-serving member of the cast.
John Yorke, controller of BBC drama production, said: "It's always a sad day when one of our stars leaves EastEnders but when those stars are as important as Pam St Clement and the character as iconic as Pat Butcher the blow is doubly hard.
"Part of EastEnders' 'creation myth', she has been integral to the programme's success from the very beginning; her love of Frank, her 'take no prisoners' nature and her earrings have made her a part of British culture.
"For most actors that would be legacy enough. The fact that Pam is also a total professional, an endless champion of the programme and a joy to work with is an added bonus."
Executive producer of EastEnders Bryan Kirkwood, said: "Over the years we've seen her develop from a shrew into a matriarch, and Pat's colour, warmth and steel have given EastEnders some of its most memorable stories. Pam will be missed by everyone in Walford, and we wish her the very best of luck in everything that comes next."
He said her departure would be a "not to be missed" and "fitting" storyline.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
This little boy loves books so much that he cries when his mother stops reading to him
Does this Game of Thrones season 6 filming location give away an important character death?
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up