EastEnders and Wendy Richard MBE today announced that she will leave the show in
a dramatic storyline which will transmit at Christmas.
Wendy first appeared as Pauline Fowler 21 years ago in the opening episode of
EastEnders which launched on BBC ONE on 19 February 1985.
She has been part of some of the most memorable storylines which have dealt with
ground breaking issues over the years including:
Giving birth to Martin when she was 40 years old
Mark's illness and subsequent death
Helping Arthur during his breakdown
Michelle's affair with Dirty Den which led to the birth of Vicki
Coping with Martin being sent to prison for killing Jamie in a car crash
Martin going off the rails during his teenage years.
Wendy said: "When Julia Smith, the very first Executive Producer of
EastEnders, first approached my agent to invite me to play the part of Pauline
Fowler I never would have thought that 22 years later I would still be playing
her, but nothing lasts forever and I've loved every minute of being part of this
fantastic show, and will stay in touch with the many friends I've made."
John Yorke, BBC Controller of Continuing Drama and Head of Independent Drama, said:
"Wendy has been at the centre of EastEnders for 21 years, and consequently
occupies a huge place in people's hearts.
"To be a star in one show is an
achievement that can sometimes be down to luck; to be a star in two separate
shows - at two different times of life - denotes a level of skill and expertise
that is easy to underestimate.
"Wendy is a consummate professional who has
proved herself again and again in both drama and comedy.
"There are many things
EastEnders will miss about Wendy, but above all it will be the sheer pride and
love she showed for her character, her fictional family, and of course the
Kate Harwood, Executive Producer, EastEnders, said: "For many years Wendy simply was
EastEnders for the audience and Pauline's indomitable nature typified the grit
and fight that embodies the EastEnders spirit as she took on the world and
battled through her many troubles.
"We thank her for everything she has done for
the show and wish her well."
Wendy Richard is also well known for playing the lovely Miss Brahms in BBC Television's Are
You Being Served? in the Seventies.
Her film credits include On The Buses, Carry
on Girls, Carry on Matron, the film version of Are You Being Served? and Gumshoe
with Albert Finney.
EastEnders Press Office