Only Fools and Horses

BBC EastEnders, Only Fools and Horses and Grange Hill stars who are now living ordinary lives

From Albert Square to B&M, Grange Hill to double glazing, these former TV stars are now living totally normal lives

It’s hard to believe that stars of immensely popular, iconic British TV shows could ever fade into obscurity. However, even some of the most memorable actors from much-loved programmes such as EastEnders, Only Fools and Horses and Grange Hill are now firmly out of the limelight, living and working normal jobs among regular members of the public.

From B&M security guards to chefs, double glazing salespeople to firefighters, several actors who played some of our favourite TV characters over the years are now living very normal lives. Here’s what nine former stars of London-based TV shows are up to now – living and working among us.

Tony Discipline (EastEnders’ Tyler Moon) – Firefighter
In 2020, former EastEnders start Tony Discipline revealed on Instagram that he is now a firefighter with the London Fire Brigade. Tony, 32, played Tyler Moon in the BBC One soap from 2011 to 2013.

He shared a simple Instagram snap with no caption where he posed in firefighter uniform next to a big red LFB fire engine. Some fans thought he might have taken on a new acting role, but Tony later revealed that he had, in fact, joined the fire brigade.

Patrick Murray (Only Fools’ Mickey Pearce) – Driver

Patrick Murray, who played Mickey Pearce in Only Fools and Horses, has been out of the spotlight for many years with his family in Thailand. He revealed on a 2018 episode of Loose Women that he had lived in Thailand for 10 years, meeting his wife and having a daughter, but he didn’t see either of them for two years while he worked to get them a visa to live in the UK.

Patrick, now 64, had taken a break from acting and had to find another job to prove he could support his family if they came to the UK. Patrick said on Loose Women: “I went to Thailand and I didn’t come back for 10 years.

“I met my wife Josie and we’ve been together for four years. But I wanted her to be educated over here. I wanted to get her a visa but it was hard so I had to come back here. Being out of the industry for so long, the work dried up so I went back to driving an executive car, a Mercedes, to do it.

“I only saw my baby on the phone for two years, I was a Skype dad.” Thankfully, Patrick’s hard work paid off and the family were reunited in the UK. He has since kept a low profile.

Michelle Herbert (Grange Hill’s Trisha Yates) – Double glazing salesperson

Michelle Herbert, now 55, is best known for playing fiercely independent and boisterous Trisha Yates on Grange Hill. However, since the 1990s, she has lived in Dundee with her family where they run a double glazing business, All Glass and Glazing. In 2015 she had to have a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Michelle Herbert as Trisha Yates in Grange Hill
Michelle Herbert as Trisha Yates in Grange Hill (Image: BBC One)

Katie Jarvis (EastEnders’ Hayley Slater) – B&M security guard

Hayley Slater, cousin of Kat, appeared on EastEnders in 2018 and 2019 played by Katie Jarvis. After her run on the soap Katie Jarvis, now 29, revealed that she was working in B&M Bargains as a security guard, in their Romford store.

She faced some backlash over the choice of job, but insisted that she had always worked ‘normal’ jobs alongside acting such as working on a doughnut stand and as a waitress. “That’s the life of an actor – I like to be busy and learn new things,” Jarvis said on the Victoria Derbyshire show in 2019. “As long as you’re working, that’s all that matters, no-one should be shamed for what they do. Security guards put themselves at risk, there’s a lot goes into it.”

Tom Watt (EastEnders’ Lofty Holloway) – Journalist/Writer

Tom Watt, now 65, is one of the original EastEnders’ actors, playing Lofty Holloway from the start of the soap in 1985 until April 1988. Since his departure from the show, he had various acting roles such as a minor part in 1992 movie Patriot Games, and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movie.

He also played various other TV roles including Space Precinct (1995), Happy Birthday Shakespeare (2000), TLC (2002), Doctors (2009) and New Tricks in 2010. However, he also went on to become a successful sports journalist, working for talkSPORT, BT Sport and BBC Radio 5 Live.

He was a ghostwriter for David Beckham’s autobiography in 2003, has authored several other books and is now a writer and consultant for EA Sports.

EastEnders cast in 1985, including Tom Watt as Lofty Holloway
EastEnders cast in 1985, including Tom Watt as Lofty Holloway (Image: BBC)

Donald Waugh (Grange Hill’s Joseph ‘Hughesy’ Hughes) – Charity founder

After his run on Grange Hill, Joseph ‘Hughesy’ Hughes actor Donald Waugh had a successful stage career, including performing in the original West End cast of Cats. He then went on to work in a range of creative industries before a battle with alcoholism left him homeless. He lived on the streets for several years.

Happily, he is now back on his feet. He founded his charity, Pavement2Catwalk, to use creativity to help those struggling with homelessness, addiction, and mental health, or living with a disability.

Hetti Bywater (EastEnders’ Lucy Beale) – Bartender

Hetti Bywater played Lucy Beale from 2012 until she was murdered in 2014, sparking the hugely dramatic whodunnit storyline ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale?’ which ran until the killer was revealed to be her younger brother Bobby. She’s since been in one episode of Death in Paradise, and had a role in Sky One series Delicious, but was spotted working behind the bar in an Islington pub in 2017.

Charlie Clements (EastEnders’ Bradley Branning) – Chef

Charlie Clements is best known for playing Bradley Branning on EastEnders from 2006 to 2010, when he was killed off by falling from the roof of the Queen Vic on the show’s 25th anniversary. The 33-year-old recently revealed on Instagram that he had been working as a chef during lockdown to make ends meet, but has just hung up his chef’s hat as he begins to rehearse for a new acting role.

In the caption of a photo of himself in his chef whites on Instagram, Charlie wrote: “Last day as a chef today!! On to rehearsals next week… #actorslife #actor #acting #work #theatre.” Charlie has been cast in the play Mousetrap which is set to run in the West End later in May.

Lee MacDonald – (Grange Hill’s Zammo) – Locksmith

Zammo had arguably one of the most memorable plotlines in Grange Hill – a battle with heroin addiction. Actor Lee MacDonald was on the show for six years, and later made cameo appearances in the likes of Birds of a Feather, The Bill and a television version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has now worked for many years as a locksmith in Wallington, Sutton.

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