Where are they now? Life after soap

by Lynn Connolly

With the return of Jeff Hordley and the reprise of his role as Dales villain Cain Dingle, we thought we’d take a look at what happened to some other soap stars who for one reason or another left their soapy role behind.

martin soniaLet’s take a look at a few EastEnders residents who’ve moved on and James Alexandrou, who played Martin Fowler for eleven turbulent years, has made a career in the theatre since he left the show.

He’s appeared in various roles as part of the British Shakespeare Company while consistently refusing all offers to appear on reality TV shows. His most recent work was in the stage play All Quiet On The Western Front.

Natalie Cassidy who played Martin’s wife Sonia in EastEnders also left the show to face an uncertain professional career and like James, she’s been drawn to the theatre. She’s been on numerous UK tours including The Vagina Monologues, Bedroom Farce and Gertrude’s Secret.

In 2007, Natalie launched her fitness DVD – Natalie Cassidy’s Then and Now Workout – which became the fastest-selling weight loss DVD ever released in the UK. Natalie’s often said she would consider returning to the Square if asked.

angieAngie Watts walked off the Square in 1988 and since then, Anita Dobson who played her has starred in a variety of TV and theatre roles. She’s been spotted in Red Dwarf, Rab C Nesbitt and her own sitcom series Split Ends, which didn’t do well and only lasted for one series.

She’s also starred in Dangerfield and Sunburn as well as parts in Casualty and Holby City. Most recently she starred alongside Darren Day in the musical Hello Dolly!

On to Corrie and the Street’s seen its fair share of comings and goings over its illustrious history. One ‘going’ that was under something of a cloud was thatbruce of Bruce Jones who played Les Battersby.

In 2007, Bruce was suspended by the show’s bosses for allegedly getting drunk while in the company of an undercover reporter.

Apparently, Bruce made “inappropriate comments” and revealed future storylines to the reporter. Since he left the show, Bruce has been performing a stand-up comedy routine in Benidorm and has also appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap and The Price of Fame.

Mavis Wilton was a long standing character on the show – from 1971 to 1997! – and Thelma Barlow who played Mavis has starred in lots of showsthelma-barlow since she left Corrie. But her most recent achievement was being awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in a ceremony in Middlesbrough from the University of Teesside.

Thelma has had various parts since the Street and has starred in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and has had cameo roles in Doctors, The Royal and Where The Heart Is in addition to a part on Doctor Who. She also debuted on the big screen in Mrs Henderson Presents.

Our last pick of ex-Coronation Street tenants is the inimitable Curly Watts who was played by Kevin Kennedy. Kevin’s had his fair share of troubles in kevin_kennedyreal life and battled alcoholism for many years however he’s always found solace in music, which was in fact his first choice of career.

He’s toured the world with his own band, Kevin Kennedy and The Bunch of Thieves and has carved out a career in musical theatre, playing parts in Rocky Horror, Amos Hart in Chicago and both the Child Catcher and Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

So on to Emmerdale exes and first up is Lisa Riley who played Mandy Dingle from 1995 to 2001. Since then, Lisa’s appeared in various dramatic roles rileyand soaps such as Fat Friends, The Bill, Holby City, and Doctors as well as appearing in several pantomimes.

Arguably her biggest success was as presenter of You’ve Been Framed from 1998 to 2002 but her most peculiar role was making a cameo appearance in Boyzone’s video for their hit When The Going Gets Tough. Lisa has also toured the UK with the Vagina Monologues.

Ben Freeman played Scott Windsor in the show but left due to “concerns about his availability” following an allegation of rape in 2006. Ben was scott_windoraccused of the rape of a teenager in Barbados, but was found not guilty by a court there in October last year and has since been permitted to return to the UK.

Despite having endured two harrowing years and an abrupt – but hopefully temporary – end to his acting career, he told the media that he wasn’t angry about it all. You can see what he had to say here.

Another ex-Emmerdale star who’s had run ins with the law is Cleveland Campbell who played Danny Daggert in the show. In September 2006, Cleveland was accused of causing grievous bodily harm after an alleged altercation at the 21st birthday party of ex-Hollyoaks actress Gemma danny_daggertAtkinson in Rochdale.

Cleveland appeared in court in September 2006 and entered a ‘not guilty’ plea.

However, his trial was halted when new evidence emerged which cast doubt on the reliability of one of the prosecution witnesses and the case against him was eventually dismissed in January 2007. He’s had a variety of roles since including an appearance on The Bill.

If there are any soap stars you’ve ever wondered ‘what happened to them?’ let us know and we’ll try to find out for you!

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.