Although you may think it would be difficult for a TV actor to switch jobs, many of those who have appeared on Eastenders have done just that, after choosing to give up their acting career once and for all. While some have decided to stay in the entertainment industry, others have chosen to take on normal jobs either out of choice or sue to the lack of acting opportunities that came their way.
In this article, we will look at some of the soap’s actors such as Michelle Ryan who will never be returning to the square.
EastEnders actors who embarked on new careers:
Susan played the role of Michelle Fowler up until 1995, but departed from the role with the ambition of going on and do other things. Her character moved to Alabama after 10 years on the square and at the same time, find out that she was pregnant with her best friend Sharon’s ex’s baby.
Over the years, it was constantly reported that Susan may make a return to her iconic role, but these claims were put to bed when the character of Michelle recast and played by a new actress- Jenna Russell in December 2016.
The baby-faced actress who was just sixteen years old when she made her first appearance on the soap, but is now completely unrecognisable after changing up her look dramatically.
It’s been 21 years since we last saw Susan, but she looks completely different now!
Now aged 48, the actress is sporting a completely different hairstyle to her trademark wavy brunette locks and has opted for a cropped blonde bob.
Instead of continuing to act when her stint in Eastenders came to an end, Tully chose to switch her career completely and try her hand at directing.
This may have been the best decision the former actress ever made – and now has a whole string of directing credits under her belt which have included Silent Witness, Secret Diary of A Call Girl and The ‘A Word’.
Best-known for playing the role of Sean Slater, Rob was one of the biggest heartthrobs in the soap during the late 2000’s. The actor starred in the role between 2008 to 2010, but the BBC discovered that Rob had been up to no good and sacked him from the soap.
The actor reportedly was caught sending inappropriate images to a model friend and was thrown off the show as a result of his behaviour.
Rob was unemployed for a while before aiming to make it big in Hollywood – a route that many ex-Eastenders stars have tried and failed. Luckily for him, despite the huge public shame he faced, the actor gained a role on the US vampire series True Blood and an action movie Pacific Rim, which became a smash-hit.
Rob, who has now moved on to new things claims he really ‘misses Sean’.
Talking to Daybreak back in 2013, Rob said: : “I still go back and see all the guys. I’ve always said that I would never be against the idea, and I even came up with a way!
“There’s been a few occasions where I’ve been asked to consider going back, but I left to achieve other things and do other stuff. It wasn’t an easy transition. I was unemployed for two years afterwards, begging for work and I couldn’t get a job.” he said.
“Now I’m finding, actually doing other things, I do miss Sean a great deal and I have come up with ways that he could come back, even for one episode. Never say never.”
Following Rob’s big break in America, his career can only go upwards from here…we can’t wait to see what’s next for the former Eastenders actor.
Taking over from the role of Lucy Beale originally played by Melissa Suffield from 2004-2010, Hetti Bywater was killed off the soap in 2014 – a gripping storyline which commemorated the soap’s 30th anniversary.
The storyline entitled ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale’ was long-running over a number of years before it was revealed that Lucy’s younger brother, Bobby had committed the crime.
During her stint on the show, Hetti took on a part-time job as any youngster may do whilst studying, but you really wouldn’t expect it from a prime-time soap actress, now would you?
On her evenings off, Hetti was spotted collecting glasses at a pub in Islington, North London, but a snap captured the young and ambitious actress looking slightly bored behind the bar.
A source told The Sun: “She was clearing glasses while punters watched football and smoking fags outside with colleagues.”
However, after leaving the soap, Hetti didn’t go back to being a standard barmaid – in fact, her acting career soared, as she next appeared in the Sky series Delicious alongside Dawn French and Emelia Fox.
Danniella is best-known for playing the role of Sam Mitchell on the BBC soap, however, the actress’ personal life hasn’t gone too smoothly over the past two decades.
The young, fresh-faced actress made her debut on Eastenders in 1990 and her last appearance on the soap was back in 2016.
Alike many of those in the entertainment industry, Danniella was a party animal and became addicted to cocaine during the 1990s, which eventually eroded her nasal septum.
Spending roughly £250,000 on drugs during this period alone, the actress once said: “I was always in clubs and everyone was doing coke and it was glamorous – except obviously, it wasn’t at all. I was just very young, very stupid and very easily led…I think there should be someone at EastEnders to say to young people when they come in, ‘Look, your life is about to change, you’re going to be invited places, and you’ll be offered drugs.’ Someone who can tell them what sort of people are about, and what sort of papers, and how quickly what you’ve worked for all those years can be gone.”
The actress recently admitted that due to the years of drug use, her face is now ‘rotting away’ and is in desperate need of more facial surgery.
“They need to take a piece of bone out of my skull and put a plate into my face but they’ve got nothing to stick the plate on at the minute because the bone’s not strong enough,” she told the Cambridge News.
Taking a short break from her acting career, Danniella was spotted in a London pub helping out a friend behind the bar and according to The Sun, has now been arrested for threatening behaviour, after being spotted by fans in the back of a police car.
The newspaper declared that the former Eastenders star took £10,000 from a former friend and also aimed to ‘trying to destroy her interior design business’ via her many social media platforms.
Sister of TV presenter and former Eastenders actor Joe Swash, Shana arrived on Albert Square as a 13-year-old in 2004, playing the sister of her real-life brother, Demi Miller.
After just two years, Shana was axed from the soap alongside her on-screen mum, Rosie, which resulted in a huge uproar from fans, who were infuriated with BBC for making the cruel decision.
Securing very few acting jobs after her contract came to an end, it seemed that getting a normal job was the only option for Shana. She taking out the bins at a London pub, with reports suggesting that she’s now working as a barmaid.
Although Joe has moved on to new things such as presenting ITV’s ‘I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here…Extra Camp!’, he once stated to The Sun that he would be interested in returning to Eastenders on one condition: “The timing would have to work for ‘EastEnders’ and it would have to be right for me. It would be a tricky one but it would be a nice decision to make,”.
“I think they need to bring the whole family − the whole shabang − back. It would be nice to work with my sister Shana (who played Demi) again.”
Do you remember Nick Cotton’s son and Dot Cotton’s grandson, Ashley? The troublesome teen first made an appearance on Albert Square at the beginning of the millennium. His time on the soap was cut short, however, when he was killed in a motorbike accident after just a year on the square.
Previously sporting spiky hair and an earring, Frankie Fitzgerald is now showcasing a much more suave look.
Although he takes on the occasional acting job, he’s decided to use the skills he has learned while working in the industry to help youngsters. Now a teacher at a performance school named Centre Stage, Frankie trains children from the age of four onwards.
Michelle Ryan who played the role of Zoe Slater on the soap between 2000-2005 has certainly attempted to go on to bigger and better things since leaving the soap 13 years ago.
Most remembered for her love-hate relationship with on-screen mum, Kat Slater played by Jessie Wallace, Michelle attempted to make her break in Hollywood and had mixed success. She gained the lead role in the remake of 70s classic TV series, Bionic Woman. She beat out thousands of hopefuls for the part but the show was slammed by critics and received poor ratings. Reviewers called it “clichéd”, and “dark and depressing”.
Michelle did however go to star in four episodes of Merlin and appeared in a string of Independent Hollywood films.
She has never looked back with regret on making the decision to leave the soap. In an interview with The Daily Star, she said: “It’s not part of my life anymore, I won’t be going back. I feel it would be the right thing to recast the role. There will be some actresses out there that are desperate for that break.”
Now Michelle appears to be going down the route of recording audios. She has returned to the cast of Doctor Who but her character, Lady Christina de Souza’s comeback will be in a series of audio productions.
When she last appeared on the classic TV series in 2009, Michelle’s character disappeared after flying off on a double decker bus. Now we will learn what happened to her!