I was just thinking the other day that we haven’t seen Konrad Topolski in EastEnders for a while. Introduced in February as a potential love interest for Shirley Carter, the Polish shopkeeper was involved in a few storylines that centred around the Queen Vic and Shirley but after he found Shirley’s prison sentence had been extended he’s pretty much disappeared from our screens completely, even after Shirley returned.
I liked Konrad a lot. He brought a cheerful normality to Walford and considering how multicultural London is now, it was great to see a more diverse character who seemed to slot so seamlessly into the community. If he was only intended to be on TV for a short time and is now gone then I think it’s a shame and he’s going to be missed by me at the very least.
With that said, while I was musing about Konrad I realised that if this is it and he’s finished with EastEnders already, he’ll be mostly forgotten by the majority of viewers in a few years time. This got me thinking about other similar regular characters, who joined the show for a while and didn’t do much memorable before leaving, so I thought I’d do a list of ten such characters from the last eight years of Eastenders.
I understand that no matter what, some avid viewers will remember these characters easily enough but hopefully at least they’ll find it interesting to be reminded of details of their tenure on the show that might have slipped their mind. Out of fairness to past EastEnders characters, like Dua Lipa, I have some rules. All characters must have been in EastEnders for a minimum of two months to count as recurring in my definition, with a maximum time on the show being two complete years. I’ve also decided to leave out children and animals, so unfortunately for Shenice Quinn and Wellard Number 2, they won’t be making the cut. Lastly, I’m going in reverse chronological order, so my first character will be the most recent with my last being the least. I might do lists of this from other decades as well if I can actually remember any of them myself but today let’s get started with the 2010s:
Character #1: Linford Short
Played By- Leon Lopez
First Appearance- February 2016
Last Appearance- May 2016
Linford’s second name is pretty fitting and sums up his time in EastEnders because as you can see, Claudette’s foster son and Vincent and Donna’s foster brother had a very short time on Albert Square, only lasting three months. I have no issue with Claudette’s axing or Vincent’s 2017 transformation from a mysterious villain. to a friendly and loving family man but at the time of Linford’s arrival it was clear that then Executive Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins had much bigger plans for the Hubbards that failed to materialize for one reason or another.
Asides from taking up building work for Jack and almost being the one to lay concrete over where Vincent had left his mother’s unconscious body (it’s a long story), weirdly what is most notable about Linford is just how low key his exit was. After appearing in a brief scene in the cafe, where he joked around with fellow builder Andy about having a crush on Ronnie Mitchell, Leon Lopez, the man who played Linford surprised a lot of people by announcing that was his final scene and that Linford was done with EastEnders.
Lopez claimed afterwards that Linford had only been brought in for a short term run but if that’s the case it makes me wonder what the whole point was. A few months later when Claudette left, she claimed that she went off to live with Linford but with Vincent becoming a more subtle, less prominent character it’s hard to believe he’ll ever return to the square.
Character #2: Aleks Shirovs
Played By- Kristian Kiehling
First Appearance- January 2014
Last Appearance- April 2015
Aleks Shirovs in my eyes, is an underrated character that I will defend to the end of the earth. Introduced at the start of 2014, the menacing and mysterious market inspector from Latvia quickly became a firm favourite of mine, as soon as he started strolling around Walford in a suit, while wearing sunglasses in the middle of Winter and treating the job of market inspector like it was the most important job in England. I’m sure those who didn’t like Aleks felt like he was all style and no substance but I felt like the character had a lot of potential and could have had a lengthy run in Albert Square if the people behind the show had tried their best to get him to stay.
I kind of feel as if too much time was spent on Aleks’ being stuck in pointless market related feuds with Alfie and Tamwar, which was a shame because the concept of someone who came to England from Europe to better the lives of his family, before getting enchanted by the lifestyle in London was an interesting one and yet it only really was expanded on when he was about to leave. Despite him being essentially a villain, he was also able to build up a convincing relationship with Roxy that felt a lot more real than a lot of her previous relationships and had a sweet friendship with his eventual flatmate Jake Stone, a man who unfortunately is probably soon to be a forgotten character as well.
I’ll always look back on Aleks and his time on EastEnders pretty fondly but to the casual fan, his most important long term contribution to the show, was probably when he named Ronnie Mitchell’s only surviving child Matthew. We all know at some point Matthew Mitchell is going to come back into EastEnders as a major character and Aleks will always have been the one to name him so that’s something, I guess.
Character #3: Tosh Mackintosh
Played By- Rebecca Scroggs
First Appearance- February 2014
Last Appearance- December 2014
Another unmemorable character on my list, Fiona Mackintosh ironically shared a flat with the aforementioned Aleks but in my opinion did so little in EastEnders that she’s probably fading even quicker in most people’s memories than he is. Like with Aleks, on paper Tosh had a lot of potential that ultimately didn’t amount to much. Tosh was a lesbian and also a popular and capable firefighter but during her EastEnders tenure, her main storyline involved her relationship with the still around today, Tina Carter. In the past the relationship had involved domestic abuse and everyone knew it was only going to be a matter of time before it descended back into violence.
Annoyingly, a domestic violence story between two lesbians should have been something groundbreaking, since in my memory it had never happened in a British soap before but the problem was that it seemed like the commitment behind the scenes just wasn’t there. Viewers were tortured by months of Fiona constantly being let down by the immature and selfish Tina, so when Tosh actually did get violent you just wanted to see the relationship and the story end, as opposed to continue and escalate. Domestic violence is something that is sadly prevalent in all walks of life and I think in this situation, EastEnders should have went all in with its intensity instead of employing the half measures they did.
Tosh’s most memorable moment, perhaps surprisingly, was a light hearted one near the start of her EastEnders run, when she soaked an overacting Shirley Carter with her firehose after Shirley made the unwise decision of confronting her while she was at work, surrounded by her fellow firefighters. Shirley’s reaction to being hosed was absolutely hilarious and it’s worth looking it up on YouTube or something. Perhaps Fiona should have avoided a shelf life condemning, domestic violence story entirely and been more of a fun character, who stayed positive despite having to deal with the disappointment of her parents who hated the fact she was a lesbian. Her issues with her parents alone could have made her character a lot more sympathetic but this was sadly only touched upon in a few episodes and fizzled out quickly
Character #4: Sam James
Played By- Cornell S John
First Appearance- May 2013
Last Appearance- December 2013
Hello everybody and welcome to 2013, a time when many forgettable characters made their way onto Albert Square, at the behest of the much maligned former Executive Producer Lorraine Newman. First up is a man who proved right the golden rule that you can’t trust someone who has a second name that is normally a first name, Sam James. A plumber by trade, Sam made his way to Walford to reconnect with two characters who arguably could also make a forgettable characters list, Dexter and Ava Hartman. Sam was Dexter’s father and had went out to get a pint of milk when Dexter was a baby and never came back home again.
At least Ava had strong connections to Walford, in comparison to the largely isolated Sam, being Cora’s daughter and hence related to Tanya, Lauren and Abi and even though few viewers liked Dexter, at least he had a strong personality and had something resembling charisma, unlike the bland and generic Sam. Like some characters on this list, it became quickly apparent that Sam James wasn’t connecting with the audience and he quickly departed in December, when it was revealed that he had only hunted down his ex wife and son in order to receive a kidney transplant from Dexter. This heinous act might have been shocking and interesting if anybody actually cared about the Hartmans, so unfortunately Sam left with his most memorable moment being a joke about looking more like Lionel Ritchie than Lionel Messi, during a father-son game of football with Dexter.
Character #5: Steve Lowe
Played By- Michael Simkins
First Appearance- February 2013
Last Appearance- April 2013
It might be a little unsporting to include someone who had such a minor and brief role in EastEnders but Steve Lowe is so hard for me to remember, that I’m not sure if I’m imagining him having a Scottish accent or not. That type of hard to remember is deserving of a place in any top ten forgettable characters list, so Bianca’s parole officer, who had a brief relationship with Carol that amounted to very little, just had to make the cut.
My favourite and most memorable moment involving this character. was when he realised that Carol was emotionally damaged from the death of her teenage son Billy, since he had a daughter who also passed away far too young. The pain that a bereaved parent feels, is the sort of pain that nobody who hasn’t suffered it could possibly imagine or even begin to comprehend and two people meeting each other in a later stage of their life who had went through the same issue was heart wrenching and well done television. Sadly this connection wasn’t enough for Steve and Carol to work out in the long term however and the parole officer left just two months after he debuted, never to be seen again.
Character #6: Sadie Young
Played By- Kate Magowan
First Appearance- August 2013
Last Appearance- January 2014
Back in 2013 I used to frequent the soap section on the Digital Spy Forums and even for a Forum that loved to over hype certain characters, the furor that surrounded Sadie was gigantic. She had barely been on the show for a few weeks before threads began to pop up announcing that she should be made the landlady of the Queen Vic sooner rather than later and should be a long term character, who was on the show for years to come. Obviously that kind of hype behind Sadie was hyperbolic and ridiculous but I did see where some of it came from. Strong willed and ambitious, while also possessing a level of tact and warmth, the new salon owner fit into the framework of Eastenders easily enough and if it wasn’t for the actress only being brought in for one specific story, maybe she could have became a great character instead of a tough to remember one.
Unfortunately for Sadie the story she was mainly brought in for wasn’t a particularly good one. After weeks of watching Lauren Branning flirt with Jake Stone, an alcoholic who attended an Alcoholic’s Anonymous group with Lauren, it was revealed that Sadie was Jake’s estranged wife and they both decided to try to get back together for the sake of their daughter Bella. Despite a storming first episode as an onscreen couple, that was probably Sadie’s highlight in EastEnders, where it was revealed that Sadie had accidentally killed a child in a car crash, after an argument with the drunken Jake, the couple quickly stagnated and eventually Jake went on to have a mini affair with Lauren that made for uncomfortable viewing.
As soon as Sadie found out about the affair, she was heartbroken and ended the marriage and the next day closed the salon before leaving with Bella, never to return. Sadie’s fate stings the most out of probably all the 2013 Lorraine Newman introductions because she had so much potential that was never able to materialize. Lesser characters have been at least allowed to have an emergency volunteer stint behind the Queen Vic bar.
Character #7: Nico Papadopoulos
Played by- Aykut Hilmi
First Appearance- April 2012
Last Appearance- August 2012
Yeah I don’t know how an actual onscreen character, who is part of the iconic Papadopoulos family could flounder either but Nico somehow managed to. Being fair to the nephew of the often spoken of but rarely seen Andonis Papadopoulos, being known solely as that and the guy who managed McKlunky’s chicken place, wasn’t a solid base to build a good new character around. The fact that he was solely put into a storyline centred around the E:20 spinoff standout Fatboy also didn’t do Nico many favours, in hindsight.
I was 19 at the time of Nico and really liked the fact that he was brought in to give Fatboy (one of my favourite characters) an adversary and a filler storyline but the issue was that once Fatboy quit McKlunky’s and delivered a few burns to Nico about how he’d rather be unemployed than work for him, there was zero reason for the cynical manager to be onscreen ever again, so Nico was, well he was never onscreen again. I’d say the highlight from Nico’s brief, nine episode time in Walford, was when he decided to use Lola Mitchell giving birth in McKlunky’s as a way of getting publicity for the chicken shop. That level of greed and snakery deserves some awe and attention.
Character #8: AJ Ahmed
Played By- Phaldut Sharma
First Appearance- July 2012
Last Appearance- January 2014
Just like Aleks, AJ Ahmed was another character who I felt fondly towards, even if I recognised that not everyone did. The brother of the much loved Masood Ahmed, AJ debuted in EastEnders in this crazy and over the top way, getting punched by Derek Branning in his very first episode which really helped to showcase his over the top, quirky persona. It’s easy to see that AJ was brought in to inject a bit of fun and humour into the Masood family, who had been going through a tough time over the last few years and for me in the most part it worked, especially when it became clear that AJ had deeper reasons for behaving like he did. AJ was terrified of allowing himself to get too close to anybody, actually ending his marriage because he hated the thought of having children and I felt like this inability to form lasting attachments to be quite endearing and sometimes relatable.
Sadly for someone I was extremely fond of, AJ was a bit of a Marmite character, with some people liking the humour he brought to EastEnders and others viewing him as being indicative of the negative aspects of Lorraine Newman’s unpopular reign as EastEnders Executive Producer, that focused too much on fun and light storylines, as opposed to darker and grittier drama. This meant that when Newman was replaced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins, AJ was axed almost immediately, with DTC stating that he didn’t fit into his vision of EastEnders.
DTC is entitled to his opinion but I do wish that he had given AJ a better exit at least. After deciding that he needed to loosen his emotional bonds with his family, AJ accepted a job as an assistant manager of a garage in Birmingham and since anywhere outside of London gets treated like it’s as far away as the moon, AJ left never to be seen again. This is a fair enough exit for a character who wasn’t even on the show for two years but weirdly just before he left, Masood and him found out that their mother had died over in Pakistan. For whatever reason, after a brief argument with Masood over the issue, AJ decided for no reason at all that he couldn’t go over with his brother to bury his mum, instead leaving for Birmingham looking like a complete coward. Perhaps the idea was that AJ refusing to even commit to helping bury his mother, summed up his time on EastEnders but in my opinion it just made him look way too selfish. You can be scared of commitment and still understand that you need to properly say goodbye to your mum.
Character #9: Andrew Cotton
Played By- Ricky Grover
First Appearance- August 2011
Last Appearance- August 2012
There was nothing wrong with Andrew Cotton or his time in Walford but he was another character who was brought in for one specific storyline and suffered for it because it was always clear he’d be largely isolated as soon as it was over. To be fair to Andrew, he was brought in with his mother Rose Cotton, who is the half sister of our iconic, beloved Dot Branning and a lot of Andrew’s shortcomings were due to Rose failing to be interesting or likeable in any way.
Introduced during the ridiculously fun week of Southend epiosdes (hate it all you want but they were so good!), the doorman quickly hit it off with Heather Trott and was involved in a sweet romance storyline with her, when he moved to Walford with his mother, which was what most of his screen time was devoted to. The problem with this was that Heather had been axed and was to be murdered by Ben Mitchell, so Andrew was living on borrowed time as well and was written to exhibit a worrying temper in order to make viewers consider that he could be the one to kill his new fiancee.
Andrew was pretty interesting after the death of Heather to his credit and took to the role of a grieving, angry man who lost the woman he loved, like a duck to water but after he was cleared as a suspect and Ben was arrested for Heather’s murder there was little else he could do, especially with his mother already written out, so he left Walford to chase a new life. My favourite Andrew moment was probably when he patched up his differences with Shirley, who he often clashed with in regards to how she treated Heather and decided to work together with her to bring Heather’s killer to justice. Sure ShirlDrew didn’t do any effective combined detective work to catch Ben but it was still a nice moment.
Character #10: Greg Jessop
Played By- Stefan Booth
First Appearance- October 2010
Last Appearance- October 2011
With all due respect to the man who played Greg Jessop, I’m pretty sure that if you looked up the words bland, generic or boring in the EastEnders dictionary, you would be greeted by the photo I just posted. Greg was brought in as the new husband to be for Tanya Cross and asides from him in storyline being the man to help redevelop the Queen Victoria after Phil Mitchell had burned it down, the majority of his screentime involved his relationship with Tanya and his efforts to keep her ex husband Max Branning away from their family.
The problem about Greg was, despite his muscular physique, he was actually pretty weak and unlikeable. Max regularly ran rings around him all the time (although to be fair in present time he’s running rings around all of Walford) and he essentially tried to force Tanya to have a baby with him, throwing childish strops when she said that she didn’t want a fourth child. All of this made it difficult to have sympathy for him, when Tanya had an affair with Max behind his back and his departure afterwards, brought about a sense of relief instead of loss. Strangely he returned to Walford a few months later for a single episode, after Lauren told him Tanya had been diagnosed with cancer and really needed him. Since Tanya had cheated on him, I can’t blame Greg too much for being unwilling to stick around but his behaviour then didn’t help make him any more likeable or memorable. Greg was perhaps the definition of forgettable.
Thank you so much for sticking around with me on this journey through some of the most forgettable EastEnders characters of the 2010s. Remember I would love to hear from you down in the comments section, whether it’s to reminisce with me about these past characters or to let me know who you think also belonged on the list, feedback is always appreciated and it’s always read. Thanks for reading again.