Colin Russell is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Michael Cashman between 5 August 1986 and 23 February 1989, followed by a brief return in 2016. Colin is portrayed as a middle-class yuppie with a kind heart. The character is Walford's first on-screen gay resident and he featured in the UK's first homosexual kiss on a soap opera, which caused controversy in the British press.


Colin Russell was born in 1951 in London. He had a brother Bill Russell. When Colin told his mum Ena Russell that he was gay, she and Colin's Dad disowned him. Dot Cotton cared for Colin and stood by him.


Colin, a graphic designer, moves in to 3A Albert Square in August 1986. He is one of several middle class characters who move to working class Walford in the late 1980s, attracted by relatively low property prices. Colin is homosexual but he keeps this from the other residents of Walford initially, causing embarrassment for Debbie Wilkins when she makes a pass at him. In November, Colin acquires a younger boyfriend named Barry Clark who he meets off-screen at a disco. Barry moves in to Colin's flat, and when Dot Cotton discovers they are sharing a bed, she is mortified and spreads rumors that Colin has AIDS. Some of the community shun Colin, refusing to speak to him as a result. Despite this altercation, Colin and Dot forge a close friendship when Colin supports Dot following her husband Charlie's bigamy.

In 1988, Colin starts feeling ill, he even is unable to get up off the sofa one time. He goes to see Dr Legg who refers him for tests. The results are posted to the doctor and Colin has MS. However Dr Legg says the next attack could be 20 years away so lies to him. In January 1989 Colin finds this out and is furious but comes to terms with it. He departs Walford in February 1989 with his new lover Guido Smith. Colin then cut all ties with Walford.

It was announced in August 2016 that Cashman would reprise the role of Colin for a brief stint in September. He made his return to Albert Square, Walford, on September 8th. Now using a walking stick due to his MS, he invited Dot to his wedding to a man called Eddie and visited her when she said she couldn't attend because it conflicted with her religious beliefs. Also, Colin visited The Vic and had a brief chat with Johnny Carter. They talked about how gay people seem to be treated unfairly. Colin returned to Dot's place and together they reflected on Colin's previous time on the square, his relationship with Barry Clark, and Dot's help with supporting him when his parents had disowned him because of his sexuality. He, Dot and Sonia go to the wedding and Dot states that he and Eddie looked wonderful and that Colin spoke his vows beautifully.

See also


Ian Beale | Sharon Watts | Kathy Beale | Martin Fowler | Phil Mitchell | Bianca Jackson | Sonia Fowler | Peter Beale | Ben Mitchell | Billy Mitchell | Mo Harris | Patrick Trueman | Bobby Beale | Jean Slater | Ruby Allen | Denise Fox | Max Branning | Shirley Carter | Jay Brown | Rainie Branning | Jack Branning | Dotty Cotton | Whitney Dean | Tiffany Butcher | Dotty Cotton | Tina Carter | Linda Carter | Mick Carter | Kush Kazemi | Ollie Carter | Keegan Baker | Karen Taylor | Bernadette Taylor | Callum "Halfway" Highway | Mitch Baker | Stuart Highway | Bailey Baker | Habiba Ahmed | Iqra Ahmed | Ash Panesar | Sheree Trueman | Isaac Baptiste | Vinny Panesar | Jagvir Panesar | Suki Panesar
Characters (Selected)
Saeed Jeffery | Debbie Wilkins | Tony Carpenter | Kelvin Carpenter | Naima Jeffery | Sue Osman | Mehmet Osman | Ali Osman | Vicki Fowler | Zoe Slater | Chrissie Watts | David Wicks | Simon Wicks | Ricky Butcher | Diane Butcher | Liam Butcher | Dean Wicks | Babe Smith | Courtney Mitchell | Grant Mitchell | Nancy Carter | Johnny Carter | Tanya Cross | Lauren Branning | Michelle Fowler | Alfie Moon | Annie Smith | Lofty Holloway | Mary Smith | Bianca Jackson | Stacey Fowler | Lee Carter | Louise Mitchell | Lisa Fowler | Dot Branning | Keanu Taylor | Bex Fowler | Kat Slater | Andrew Cotton
Characters (Selected)
Andy O'Brien | Lou Beale | Pete Beale | Arthur Fowler | Cindy Beale | Steve Owen | Tiffany Mitchell | Ethel Skinner | Angie Watts | Roy Evans | Paul Trueman | Mark Fowler | Barry Evans | Nana Moon | Den Watts | Dennis Rickman | Johnny Allen | Pauline Fowler | Frank Butcher | Archie Mitchell | Bradley Branning | Tony King | Pat Evans | Heather Trott | Derek Branning | Stan Carter | Lucy Beale | Nick Cotton | Jim Branning | Charlie Slater | Peggy Mitchell | Arthur Chubb (Fatboy) | Ronnie Mitchell | Roxy Mitchell | Steven Beale | Abi Branning | Harold Legg | Hunter Owen | Mel Owen  | Leo King | Denny Rickman | Daniel Cook | Harry Slater
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