EastEnders favorites have often changed their appearance after leaving the soap and moving on to other avenues in their careers, but some notable stars have had complete transformations.
From the abusive Trevor Morgan, played by Alex Ferns, to Danny Dyer’s evil Aunt Babe, played by Annette Badland some actors are unrecognizable from their days working on Albert Square.
Fans will also remember Bradley Branning actor Charlie Clements became a fan-favorite on the BBC soap, but soon after his character’s dramatic death the star opted to leave fame behind altogether.
Other EastEnders icons who look nothing like their Walford counterparts anymore include Gemma Bissix, Johnny Carter star Sam Strike, and Nasty Nick Cotton’s on-screen son Ashley, played by Frankie Fitzgerald.
OKAY! takes a look back at the actors changing appearances over the years.
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Trevor Morgan – Alex Ferns
EastEnders fans could never forget the truly evil Trevor Morgan, played by Scottish actor Alex Ferns.
One of the most villainous characters ever to grace Albert Square, Trevor was a horrible domestic abuser married to the loveable Little Mo (Kacey Ainsworth).
Viewers bared down for months as they watched Trevor gaslight, manipulate, verbally abuse, and use physical violence against his wife.
After begging for the sadistic character to finally get his comeuppance, Trevor died in a house fire that he himself had started to try and punish Mo and his son Sean.
20 years later, Alex looks worlds away from the role as he gets set to burst back onto screens in the new DC comic book film The Batman.
Featuring gray hair and a big bushy beard, the star is playing Commissioner Pete Savage in the movie. He also had a notable role in the award-winning Chernobyl.
Bradley Branning – Charlie Clements
Bradley Branning swiftly became a fan-favorite on the soap with his adorable slow-burning love story with Stacey Slater.
The couple fell in love and got married, but in truly devastating scenes Bradley was killed when he fell from a the roof of the Queen Victoria pub in Albert Square after trying to flee from the police as the huge ‘who killed Archie’ storyline came to to head.
Stacey was heartbroken and took months to move on, but 34 year old actor Charlie Clements hasn’t had the same problem – going on to work on various theater shows, the actor built up a successful career post-EastEnders.
Now though, Charlie looks worlds away from loveable Bradley, as he has become a bearded sushi chef instead.
While still sporting his signature red mane, the actor has well and truly shed his squeaky-clean Bradley image.
Sharing images of himself in a chef’s uniform, Charlie has joked that working in a kitchen was his “other day job”.
While he continues to pursue West End roles, and had a successful run in Mousetrap last year, the actor continues to cook to bring the bacon home. Before making the Japanese dishes, he also worked as a chef in a local garden center.
“It was just a way of supporting the family,” Charlie told The Sun last year. “At the end of the day the kids and the family come first. I’ve never been afraid of work and never been work shy,” adding acting will always be his “first love” from him.
Clare Bates as Gemma Bissix
Gemma Bissix first appeared on EastEnders as nine year old little girl Clare Bates, a character who became a firm favorite on the square following her arrival in 1993.
She left in 1998 but returned 10 years later, having grown up to be a bubbly blonde most of Walford’s bachelors lusted after.
Having risen to fame on the soap, the 38 year old star eventually moved on to Channel 4’s counterpart Hollyoaks, where she then played Clare Devine.
Fans will remember the star’s East London look featured cropped bottle-dyed locks and sassy market clothes from the stalls, just like most of the other women living in Walford.
But nearly 14 years since she was last on the soap, Gemma is barely recognizable as her character, instead choosing a more sophisticated look. She is often seen on red carpets with her sleek highlighted tresses, and chooses elegant blouses.
The star also wears thick black frames and understated makeup – and looks simply stunning!
Johnny Carter-Sam Strike
Johnny Carter only joined the soap for a year back in 2014, but actor Sam Strike had an incredibly scene-stealing turn as Mick and Linda Carter’s son as he came out as gay to his parents in emotional scenes.
At the time, the fresh-faced youngster kept a squeaky clean look, complete with teen style of T-shirts and jeans.
He wore his dirty blonde locks in a casual style, and also donned a silver chain, but nowadays, Sam has overhauled his look for an edgier vibe.
Complete with a myriad of tattoos decorating his arms and an ample amount of stubble on his face, the actor shares cool snaps on his Instagram page wearing biker outfits.
He can also be seen smoking in his images and rarely smiles, opting to smolder for his fans instead.
Now 28, the star focuses on modeling and other roles, but he will always be known for his sensitive portrayal of a character struggling to come out as gay to his dad.
Essex-born Sam revealed at the time that he was ready to step away from Albert Square because he didn’t feel the character was “totally necessary” or had anywhere else to go, saying that despite that he learned a lot and was left with a “whole new respect” for soaps.
He told Digital Spy at the time: “When I was in talks about leaving, I spoke to the people that I’d been working with the most – including Dom the executive producer and the Carters. I said to them that if there was anything they really wanted me to do we’d do that, as I didn’t want to leave people high and dry.
“At that time I didn’t feel that Johnny was totally necessary, but I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot. I have a whole new respect for soaps and the vast quantity of work they have to do. It’s a real feat that they pull off sometimes!”
Ashley Cotton – Frankie Fitzgerald
Frankie Fitzgerald first played Nasty Nick Cotton’s son Ashley 18 years ago.
The actor, who took over the role of child star Rossi Higgins, came on the square as a troubled teenager with lots in common with his dad.
At the time, Nick was serving time in prison for drug offenses and Ashley decided to make a visit to Walford so he could see his grandmother Dot Cotton.
With his dad in jail, Ashley struggled to settle down – even with heavily-religious Dot’s supportive guidance. But he came to a tragic end when he stole Mark Fowler’s bike, as the brakes had been tampered with.
Frankie went on to play roles in other long-running TV serials, such as Holby City and Casualty, and the star looks widely different to his character in EastEnders.
In no doubt a career highlight, the actor also starred alongside Tom Hardy in the movie Legend.
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Aunt Babe – Annette Badlands
Aunt Babe was a tough lady and her addition to Walford brought no end of problems for the Carter family, particularly Danny Dyer’s pub landlord Mick.
The iconic character became one for the history books on the BBC soap as she was seen blackmailing Pam Coker over her husband Les’ crossdressing. Actress Annette Badlands, 71, eventually left the soap in 2017 after three years.
Since her exit, the star has refused to slow down, taking to Hollywood and joining the award-winning and critically acclaimed Apple TV series Ted Lasso, which continues to rack up accolades from awards season.
In the hugely-popular comedy, Annette plays Mae the Landlady, but it was at the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) that fans were left bowled over by her glamorous appearance.
A far cry from the cheap and cheerful clothes Aunt Babe used to don, the actress opted for a fuchsia pink long-sleeved ballgown to attend the event virtually, which was based in Santa Monica, California.
Teaming her stunning outfit with a black faux croc clutch, matching flat shoes and accessorizing with a gold watch and some drop earrings, the actress looked beautiful as she posed for snaps.
What’s more, since appearing on the BBC soap, Annette has decided to embrace a full head of silver white locks.
The actress is also known for her appearances in period dramas such as Outlander.
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