While many of us have a favourite soap, it seems bosses of the shows are keen to secure particular actors for upcoming storylines by paying them up to six-figure sums on an annual basis – yes really.
It’s no surprise they’re earning such large sums of money though as the majority of soaps air five-days-a-week. It may surprise you, however, that some soap actors earn far more than others and this isn’t necessarily down to a male and female divide.
One particular soap star earns almost half-a-million quid each year!
Here are the top 10 earning soap stars of 2018 starting from lowest to highest:
10. Letitia Dean (£150,000)
Letitia Dean is best-known for her playing the role of Sharon Watts in Eastenders. Sharon is the adoptive daughter of Den and Angie Watts. She began playing the role in 1985 up until 1995 and later reprised the role between 2001-2006; once again in 2012.
In 1994, her character became involved in one of the soap’s most memorable storylines – a love triangle between herself, Grant Mitchell and his brother Phil. However, it wasn’t the first time Sharon got herself in a sticky situation after falling for Ian Beale and later marrying his adopted brother Dennis Rickman. After the tragic death of her beloved Dennis, Sharon discovered she was pregnant and named the child Dennis Jr in honour of his late father.
While Leticia may be on just £150,000 at the current time, she was previously offered a sum of £300,000 to stay in the soap in 2004.
9. Lacey Turner (£160,000)
Lacey Turner is best known for her portrayal of Stacey Slater in Eastenders and has been part of the soap since 2004. Lacey originally auditioned for the role of Demi Miller, but despite being turned down for the part, she was later given her iconic role of Stacey.
Discussing her feelings of playing the charatcer, she said: “I always dreamt of being on the show and so I can’t believe that I’ve fulfilled my greatest ambition!”
Lacey has been involved in a large number of intense storylines over the years which have included drug use, abortion and a strained relationship with her mum – but despite all of this, Lacey is still only 9th on the list of the highest-earning soap stars.
8. Gillian Taylforth (£180,000)
Gillian Taylforth is best known for her portrayal of Kathy Beale in Eastenders, but has also starred in Hollyoaks in the role of Sandy Roscoe.
She first appeared as Kathy back in 1985 and became one of the most recognised faces in soapland. She decided to leave Walford in 1998 and at this point, was one of the longest running characters in the soap.
While there was a hint of speculation that Gillian may make a return in 2005, these rumours were put to an end when it was stated that Kathy had been killed in a car crash in South Africa in 2006 – but Gillian wasn’t happy about the decision.
“I was a bit upset at first because it was 13 years of my life and I didn’t like the thought of being killed off. I thought she might come back to see Ian and have some illness. But that’s the way it goes.” she once said. She claimed that killing Kathy off was a ‘mistake'” she once said.
In 2013, Gillian joined the cast of Hollyoaks playing the role of Sandy, but her stint was short-lived when she made the decision to leave just a year later.
7. Scott Maslen (£190,000)
Scott Malsen is best known for his role as Jack Branning in Eastenders, in which he has acted in the soap since 2007.
Throughout his time in Walford Jack had always been in love with Ronnie, played by Samantha Womack, however, they both reported that acting intimate scenes was an extremely uncomfortable situation, due to being friends since a very young age.
After 6 years on the show, Scott decided to leave in 2013, but returned in 2015, stating that he would be staying on the show on a permanent basis: “I didn’t want to go back just 18 months after leaving. There is an element of snobbery with soaps. It means people in the industry don’t see you as an actor, they see you as a commodity.” he stated, but later added: “It was like I hadn’t left. It felt a bit strange because there are new characters who I don’t know – but that fits with the story”.
6. Linda Henry (£200,000)
Linda Henry is known for playing the role of Shirley Carter in Eastenders, a role she has played since 2006. This is the second character Linda has played in the BBC soap, after initially appearing as Lorraine Salter between 1991-1992.
What fans love about Shirley is that she simply doesn’t care about her airs and graces and is never one to stay out of a fight if she believes she’s in the right.
One of Shirley’s biggest storylines was coming to terms with the murder of her best friend, Heather Trott, in which she suffered from depresson. Unlike her typical fiesty nature, viewers saw a much more vulnerable side to Shirley that viewers had perhaps never seen before.
It seems bosses are keen to keep Shirley in the mix, as Linda is currently the 6th highest-paid soap star of 2018 and hasn’t as of yet left the role at any point to pursue other career ambitions.
5. Danny Dyer (£250,000)
In 2013, it was announced that Danny Dyer would be the newest landlord of the Queen Vic, playing the role of Mick Carter. He did, however, admit that he had turned down the offer four years previous.
It was stated in February 2017 that Dyer would be leaving the soap in order to “sort his life out”, therefore filming was halted for a numver of weeks until he was able to come back to work. In order to get around Dyer’s absence within the soap itself, it was stated that Mick’s daughter Nancy had been involved in a car crash and he would therefore would be going to visit her.
It was later reported that Dyer had been having troubles with alcohol and in August of last year, he admitted that he was unsure whether he would be returning to the soap, due to his unrily behaviour. At the time, he said: “This takes up my life this does. I ain’t signed yet. I’m meant to sign in October but I might elbow it.”, however, Dyer has made a comeback and is back in the role of Mick.
4. Rose Marcel (250,000)
Rosie Marcel is best known for playing consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Jac Naylor in Holby City, a role she has played for over 11 years. It seems her lengthy span on the soap has gone in her favour, as she is the 4th best paid soap actor at the current time.
Rose once said that she feels the need to apologise to her co-stars for the ‘awful things’ she says to them whilst in character. She told The Express: “I’d like to say sorry to… all my co-stars and anyone I have ever worked with on Holby. I feel terribly guilty for all the horrible things I have to say to them as my character Jac Naylor. She has no conscience whatsoever. She is a disgusting creature and I find myself begging for forgiveness after certain scenes.”
The TV doctor has faced her own health problems in real life though, after it was announced that she suffered from a rare blood disorder, which made the birth of her daughter fairly traumatic. She was forced to undergo a cesearan section: “Beau’s hand and foot came out first and the surgeon had to turn her around to bring her out. It was pretty violent. Apparently I was very inappropriate and was shouting for drugs and screaming blue murder” she told Hello! Magazine.
3. Adam Woodyatt (£250,000)
This guy needs no introduction – whether you’re a regular viewer of Eastenders or if you’ve never watched the soap in your life, you’re bound to have heard of legendary soap character Ian Beale, played by Adam Woodyatt.
He’s one of those characters we just love to hate – and let’s face it, the show just wouldn’t be the same without him. Due to the nature of his character, he has been referred to as ‘the weasel’ by the media on a number of occasions.
Ian has been one of the central characters in Eastenders since the very beginning in 1985 and is now the longest-serving character in the soap; hardly taking any time out since his first appearance 33 years ago.
Ian has had a rather turbulant life, after getting married five times to four different women and has even had to face the death of one of this three children, Lucy.
In 2010, he revealed that he wouldn’t be leaving the soap anytime soon, stating: “Why would I want to leave when I’m not going to get the chance to portray even half the range of emotions I get to here in a one-off drama or a six-part series? And you’re not going to get the same viewing figures either. You have your moments when things go wrong and you perhaps don’t want to work with a certain person. In any office there are going to be people who don’t get along but you get on with it and on the whole I enjoy it. Over the last couple of years we’ve had a really tight crew and it’s the best atmosphere I can remember. There have been peaks and troughs, like with any show, but right now things are good.”
2. Amanda Mealing (£300,000)
Amanda Mealing is the second highest-earning soap star for her role in Holby City and Casualty in the role of Connie Beauchamp.
She played the character of Connie between 2004-2010 in Holby and later reprised the role in the sister-show Casualty in 2014; in which her charatcer gained a higher carerr position in the hospital as a clinical lead.
Before joining the Holby City team, Amanda was already a high-profile star; making appearances in other well-known shows such as The Bill, The Darling Buds of May and the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral.
It’s not just acting that Amanda has been involved with when it comes to Holby though, as she’s also directed a few episodes too.
And, the highest earning soap star of 2018 is….drum role please…
1. Derek Thompson (£400,0000)
Derek Thompson plays the role of Charlie Fairhead in Casualty, since the show’s very first episode back in 1986. Not only is he the largest-earning soapstar, but also the BBC’s highest-paid actor. Raking in almost half a million pounds, you can’t turn your nose up at that sum!
Playing the role hasn’t been just work-based for Derek though, as he also met his future wife whilst on the set, Dee Sadler, who played the character of Maggie – a patient who had to be rescused from a cave and later taken into hospital.
Similarly to Adam Woodyatt who plays Ian Beale in Eastenders, Derek hasn’t had much of a break throughout his lengthy 32 year span – apart from a short six month break back in 2004. He is now one of the few remaining original cast members, therefore we’d say he’s definitely earned his fortune.