List of EastEnders characters (1997)

The following is a list of characters that first appeared in the BBC soap opera EastEnders in 1997, by order of first appearance.

Neelam Kapoor

Neelam Kapoor
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Jamila Massey
Duration 1997–98
First appearance 3 March 1997
Last appearance 28 July 1998
Occupation Shop proprietor

Neelam Kapoor is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Jamila Massey.

Neelam and her husband built themselves a profitable clothing business, but left it in the hands of their son, Sanjay, in the late 1980s and emigrated to their native India. However Sanjay proved to be a poor businessman and after some bad monetary investments, his business went bankrupt. Sanjay kept this from his parents and moved to Walford to open a clothing stall in 1993.

In February 1997 Sanjay heard news that his father had died. He travelled to India for the funeral and returned early in March with his mother in tow. Gita was horrified. She had always had a tempestuous relationship with Sanjay's interfering mother and she was furious that he'd brought her to live with them without her consent. Neelam, sensing Gita's disapproval, went out of her way to be as obliging as possible and she was even understanding upon hearing the clothing business had floundered. Gita begrudgingly began to accept Neelam's presence but found her domineering mannerisms a little irksome.[1]

Neelam pitched in with the running of the Kapoor's market stall before buying the First Til Last grocery store in August 1997. Neelam was adamant that the shop should be run as a family business, so she fired the resident shop assistant, Carol Jackson, which didn't go down well. Neelam continued to irritate Gita as the year wore on by instructing her on the upbringing of her daughter, Sharmilla, and accusing her of being a bad wife to Sanjay. Sanjay allowed Neelam to pamper him and cater to his every whim, which infuriated Gita further. By October Gita could take no more so she decided to leave Walford for a holiday with her sister, but not before telling Neelam a few home truths about Sanjay's adultery before departing. Neelam was appalled, but she was only to happy to believe her precious son when he claimed Gita was merely lying.

Gita was due to return in January 1998, but she went missing in suspicious circumstances and the police suspected foul play. It transpired that Gita had merely run away after falling pregnant with another man's baby. Sanjay tracked her down and Gita was persuaded to return to Walford with her new baby. Neelam was furious about Gita's immoral behaviour and would not condone Sanjay taking on another man's child as his own. She tried to convince him to divorce Gita and fight for custody of Sharmilla. Sanjay defiantly refused to do this, so Neelam sold her shop to Terry Raymond and left Walford to live with her extended family in Bristol, disowning her son on the way out. Her last appearance was in July 1998.[2]

Courtney Mitchell

Courtney Mitchell
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Carissa O'Meara (1997–99)
Josephine O'Meara (1997–99)
Megan Jossa (2006)
Introduced by Jane Harris (1997)
Kate Harwood (2006)
Duration 1997–99, 2006
First appearance 11 March 1997
Last appearance 9 June 2006
Classification Former; regular
Date of birth 11 March 1997

Courtney Mitchell is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders. She is the daughter of characters Grant (Ross Kemp) and Tiffany Mitchell (Martine McCutcheon). From her birth in 1997 until 1999, Courtney was played by identical twins Carissa and Josephine O'Meara. She was written out of the soap when Ross Kemp decided to quit. When Grant and Courtney returned in 2006, Courtney was played by Megan Jossa until they departed once again in June that year. Jossa said: "I couldn't believe it when I heard I had got the part... it's going to be amazing and I can't wait."[3] Described as "charming, intelligent yet spoilt", Courtney "loves being the centre of attention and hates sharing the spotlight with anyone".[4]

Courtney was born prematurely by caesarean section in March 1997. At first it was unknown whether her father was Grant Mitchell or Tony Hills, but a DNA test revealed that Grant was her father. Grant and Tiffany separated and Tiffany was about to leave with Courtney on New Year's Eve 1998, but while chasing Grant who had snatched Courtney, she was struck and killed by Frank Butcher's car.

Grant and Courtney move to Rio de Janeiro in October 1999, and Courtney lives with her dad and stepmother Carla, before returning to London on 27 March 2006 with Grant. Beyond mischievous, Courtney often refuses to do as she's told, backtalks, and argues with her cousin Ben. Ben actually tells Courtney that her father killed her mother. Initially she refuses to believe Grant's claim that Tiffany's death was an accidentoften refusing to do as she is told, answers back and continually bullies and argues with her cousin, Ben. Ben tells Courtney that Grant killed her mother, Tiffany, causing various problems in Courtney's behaviour and she initially refuses to believe Grant when he said Tiffany's death was an accident.

When Grant's wife Carla arrives, Courtney shows her blatant dislike. Grant decides that they should move to Portugal for a fresh start. But he dumps Carla on 9 June 2006 after discovering that she plans to fleece him and run off with another man, so just Grant and Courtney move to Portugal. Courtney was last heard on the phone to Peggy in 2010.

Polly Becker

Alex Healy

Annie Palmer

Lorna Cartwright

Irene Raymond

Susan Rose

Susan Rose
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Tilly Vosburgh
Duration 1997–99
First appearance 25 August 1997
Last appearance 14 February 1999

Susan Rose, played by Tilly Vosburgh, is the ex-wife of market inspector Michael Rose and mother of Matthew Rose.

She arrived in Walford in 1997 along with her son Matthew. She started suffering from multiple sclerosis and Michael and Matthew ended up caring for her. Michael and Susan's relationship took an upward turn as a result of this and they soon rekindled their relationship. When a new market inspector Lisa Shaw arrived in Walford in late 1998, Michael became attracted to her, and soon after, he and Lisa started an affair. Michael ended the affair with Lisa within weeks after Susan wanted Michael to move away with her to Leeds. Susan and Michael left Walford together in 1999 and Susan was unaware of Michael and Lisa's fling. Although Michael occasionally returned to Walford to support Matthew who was on trial for the murder of Saskia Duncan, although the real culprit was Steve Owen. Susan did not return and has not been seen since.

Matthew Rose

Julie Haye

Conor Flaherty

Mary Flaherty

Maggie Flaherty

Sean Flaherty

Eamonn Flaherty

Brenda Flaherty

Collette Flaherty

Gerry McCrae

Eamonn Flaherty Jr.

John Flaherty

Declan Flaherty

Carl Flaherty

Kylie Flaherty

Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Chelsey Paden
Duration 1997–98
First appearance 7 October 1997
Last appearance 5 May 1998
Date of birth 3 February 1991

Jessie Moore had been put into foster care when her drug addict mother was imprisoned on remand for various offences. In October 1997 Jessie was housed with Mark and Ruth Fowler in Walford. Six year old Jessie was a deeply troubled child, who was extremely shy and refused to speak initially. She was also a bedwetter and Mark and Ruth seemed unable to get her to open up to them, but they eventually managed to make progress and they became extremely attached to her.

In 1998, Jessie's mother, Nicole, telephoned the Fowlers and asked Jessie to visit her in prison. Mark refused to allow this, but the social worker assured him that Nicole had completed her de-tox programme and that contact between her and Jessie was particularly important. Jessie visited and became excited to learn that Nicole would soon be released from prison.

Nicole paid Jessie an impromptu visit on the day of her 7th birthday in February 1998. Nicole had found herself a bedsit and wanted to take Jessie back. Mark and Ruth tried to contest Nicole's decision, but they were told that reuniting children with their parents was what fostering was all about.

Nicole spent several weeks visiting Jessie to rebuild their relationship and eventually Ruth and Mark realised how close they were. They retracted their opposition and Nicole was given custody of Jessie in March 1998. Ruth was particularly saddened by Jessie's departure and she bought her a necklace to remind her of the time they had spent together.

Hazel Foster

Hazel Foster
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Jean Rimmer
Duration 1997
Appears on 21 October 1997

Hazel Foster was the mother of Lorraine Wicks, who Mary Flaherty visited in Bolton to try and track down Joe.

Ros Thorne

Ros Thorne
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Clare Grogan
Duration 1997–98
First appearance 3 November 1997
Last appearance 10 April 1998
Occupation Private Investigator

Ros Thorne was a Scottish private detective who Ian Beale hired to trace his two sons, Steven and Peter. Steven and Peter had been taken by their mother, Cindy, following her failed attempt to have Ian killed by a professional hitman in 1996.

Ian and Ros discovered that Cindy was residing in Italy and followed her there in November 1997. While hunting for Cindy, Ian and Ros became attracted to each other. They had a brief sexual encounter, though their relationship never progressed into anything serious as Ian was preoccupied with his children. After days of searching, Ros eventually found Cindy working in an Italian bar and she and Ian concocted a plan to abscond with Ian's children. They lured Cindy into a trap, while Phil and Grant Mitchell kidnapped Steven and Peter and brought them to the airport to reunite with their father. Despite a few hitches, Ian managed to bring the children safely back to Walford, with Cindy in pursuit.

Cindy threatened to take Ian to court for custody of the children. Ian continued to use Ros to investigate Cindy and her new partner, Nick Holland—a rich businessman who was funding the custody case. Ros also began investigating Ian's hitman, John Valecue, who was now being held in prison for an unrelated murder. Valecue was unwilling to admit that Cindy hired him to kill Ian, as his sentence would likely increase if he admitted to his involvement. However, after Annie Palmer threatened him with severe repercussions from her associates within the prison, Valecue eventually confessed. Cindy was arrested and imprisoned, and Ian was given custody of his children. Ros was not seen again following the completion of the case.

Melanie Thomas

Melanie Thomas
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Ava Healy
Duration 1997
First appearance 13 November 1997
Last appearance 14 November 1997
Occupation Councillor

Melanie Thomas was Ian Beale's opponent in the election for a seat on Walford Council. She won the seat and later annoyed Ian by approving Alex Healy's application for a shelter for homeless people in Bridge Street, called Bridge House, which Ian was strongly opposed to.

Nick Holland

Nick Holland
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Dominic Taylor
Duration 1997–98
First appearance 12 November 1997
Last appearance 10 April 1998
Occupation Businessman

Nick Holland first appeared in 1997 when Cindy Beale met him in Italy while on the run after escaping from Walford with her children. They became lovers, and Cindy became pregnant with his child.

When Cindy's ex-husband Ian Beale tracked her down and stole the children back from Cindy and returned to Walford, Nick at first tried to help Cindy and came with her back to Walford to get custody of the children. But during the trial Cindy was arrested for attempted murder of Ian and Nick realised what Cindy was really like.

Nick returned to Italy after the trial ended. After Cindy died while giving birth in prison, Nick never came back for his daughter also named Cindy Williams, who was sent to live with her grandparents in Cornwall.

Josh Saunders

Josh Saunders
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Jon Lee
Duration 1997–98
First appearance 18 November 1997
Last appearance 30 April 1998
Occupation Student

Josh Saunders is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Jon Lee between 1997 and 1998.[5] Josh was a love interest for the character Clare Bates.[6]

Josh was introduced as part of a storyline to aid the departure of the long-running characters, Nigel and Clare Bates (played by Paul Bradley and Gemma Bissix). Actor Paul Bradley had decided to leave the serial, reportedly for fear of being typecast.[7] The writers of EastEnders wanted to give Nigel a happy ending, so a character named Julie Haye (Karen Henthorn) was invented to be a love interest for Nigel, whilst her son, Josh, was invented to be a love interest for Nigel's daughter, Clare.[8]

Josh, was played by Jon Lee, who went on to find greater fame as a singer in the successful pop band, S Club 7.[9] Lee has said that he won a part in EastEnders “by complete accident really.”[10] He played the role of Josh for six months. When the storyline reached its end, the Bates family joined Josh and his mother for a new life in Scotland. Josh last appeared in April 1998.[11]


Josh Saunders was first seen as a pupil rescuing Clare Bates from a gang of bullies—her former friends who became her enemies after she refused to socialise with them. Clare developed an instant crush on Josh, and she spent the following few weeks trying to impress him. They started dating, despite initial objections from Clare's father. It transpired that Josh was actually the son of Clare's teacher, Julie Haye. Clare was mortified by this initially, and she refused to speak to Josh for a brief period. She soon came to accept the situation, and was even pleased when her father, Nigel, began dating Josh's mother.

Josh found himself caught in the middle of his warring parents—his father, Eliot, had been furious when Julie announced that she was planning to move to Scotland with Josh in 1998. Josh's father was Jewish, and Josh was obliged to have a Bar Mitzvah to appease his father before he left for Scotland. Josh was initially opposed to this, as he was not remotely interested in religion. He started missing his Bar Mitzvah tutorials, which did not please his father; he was told that performing the ceremony was ultimately his choice, but if he did not do it before he left, his family would not be present to support him. Josh decided to go ahead with the Bar Mitzvah. It took place in March 1998 and Clare was present as his guest.

Nigel and Julie's relationship ended when Nigel began to have second thoughts—he felt that he was betraying his deceased wife. Julie and Josh left Walford for Scotland in April 1998. Clare was upset to see Josh go, they said their goodbyes, but just at the last minute, Nigel changed his mind again, and asked Julie if he and Clare could move to Scotland with her and Josh. Clare was overjoyed and Josh and Julie returned to collect the Bateses a few weeks later.

Following Clare's return to Walford a decade later, in 2008, she revealed that as she had aged, Josh had taken her place in Nigel's affections.

Jeff Healy

Jeff Healy
EastEnders character
Portrayed by Leslie Schofield
Duration 1997–2000
First appearance 9 December 1997
Last appearance 3 August 2000
Date of birth 26 March 1945
Occupation Handyman

Jeff Healy is played by Leslie Schofield, introduced in 1997. The character was axed in 2000 by executive producer John Yorke.[12]

He is an atheist who disapproves of his son being a vicar. He first arrived in Albert Square in December 1997 to try and rebuild bridges with his son Alex. One of Jeff's daughters, Melanie, made a reappearance in his life and the three of them gradually began living as a family again. Jeff had a brief courtship with Pauline Fowler but was rejected when he proposed to her. Jeff left Walford in August 2000.


  1. ^ "EastEnders TUE 04-MAR-97 episode description", URL last accessed on 2007-03-30.
  2. ^ "EastEnders TUE 28-JUL-98 episode description", URL last accessed on 2007-03-30.
  3. ^ "Grant's daughter back in 'Enders". BBC Online. 19 January 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Mitchell kids to return to Walford". Digital Spy. 19 January 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  5. ^ O'Brien, Dierdre (13 April 2003). "Fashion: Join the club". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  6. ^ "Clare Bates". BBC. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  7. ^ "LOVE AT LAST FOR NIGEL THE NERD". The Mirror. 1997-11-16. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  8. ^ "Interview with Karen Henthorn". Walford Gazette. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  9. ^ "Jone Lee". Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  10. ^ "The Big Interview: Jon Lee". Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  11. ^ "Totty Watch". Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  12. ^ "Axe falls on five EastEnders". BBC News. 2 March 2000. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 

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