Martin Albert Fowler has been an integral character in EastEnders since we first met the residents of Albert Square all those years ago. We have watched him grow up before our eyes. Today “Our Martin” (as Pauline would have called him) is 30 years old! Read along as we celebrate his time in Walford, a trip down memory lane of sorts!
In 1985, when EastEnders burst on to our television screens, little Martin was already causing chaos- an inking of what was in store for us as the years went by. He was an unexpected surprise and caused quite a bit of turmoil in the Fowler household before he even made an appearance! His Gran thought Pauline & Arthur irresponsible for having a child at their age, especially with Arthur on the dole. I fondly remember those scenes. Old Lou eventually did soften, but always wished that the lad had been called “Albert” after her late husband. Arthur spent a good deal of time trying to get out of the dog house during those first episodes!
Martin certainly has had his fair share of drama since then: the death of his grandmother Lou, his father’s mental breakdown and imprisonment for the theft of the Christmas Club money and his parents’ temporary separation. The poor mite even lost his father to a brain haemorrhage and his brother Mark, from HIV related complications. Life never seems to go smoothly for any of the resident’s in London’s famous borough!
Over the years, aside from becoming an expert fruit and veg man on the market; he has robbed shops, blackmailed other residents, grown marijuana and taken drugs supplied by Nasty Nick! His drug induced dancing in the Launderette with Asif and Ashley is something I will never forget! In 2003, while driving, he hit and killed Jamie Mitchell who was at the time engaged to Sonia. This resulted in a short prison sentence for our lad. You have to hand it to Martin though; only he could end up marrying the lady who’s fiance he has just killed!!
He may have been able to sweet talk Sonia, but he has never been known as a ladies man although he does have a few romances under his belt. They include Nicky Di Marco, Kelly Taylor, Carly Wicks, Sonia and most recently Stacey. And of course, there was crazy Sarah Cairns, who stalked him, managed to move herself in with the Fowlers and then ended up stabbing Martin! Serious stuff!
It was Sonia’s surprise pregnancy that resulted in Martin becoming a father to little Chloe, who we now know as Rebecca. Over the years he has had to deal with Sonia devoting her time studying to become a nurse and her relationships with Naomi and most recently, Tina Carter. It was her involvement with Tina that ultimately brought an end to their already strained marriage.
Martin was initially played by Jon Peyton Price from infancy until 1996. Price was then replaced by James Alexandrou until 2007. Alexandrou declined a return, so with his blessing, Martin was recast last December and James Bye assumed the role. Alexandrou is still acting and had a successful run as the evil Iago in Shakespeare’s “Othello” last year in London’s West End; but is now trying his hand at writing and directing. James Byes’ previous credits include The Great Train Robbery, The Hooligan Factory and Redemption.
Since Martin’s return in December, he’s been involved in various storylines such as his split with Sonia, his pursuit of a romance with Stacey Branning and, ultimately, her becoming pregnant with what we believe is Martin’s child.
When EastEnders Spy reached out to James Bye for a comment, he said: “It’s a gift to be given a character who has so much history with the show and I love that I get the opportunity to develop that further. There are some exciting times ahead for Martin…”
Happy birthday, Martin! We raise our pints to you! Here’s hoping that the next 30 years are good ones!
Watch the full July 30th 1985 episode of EastEnders, where Martin is born, below: