Here remains a record of all the original characters and cast from EastEnders when the show initially premiered in February 1985. The listing is classified by departure date, with the most recent departure being at the peak of the list, and the first farewell being at the ground of the list.
Ian Beale is the longest serving character in the show and from the original cast, who has prevailed in the show for over thirty years without having any breaks in tenure. Sharon Mitchell is the second longest serving character, although she has had several breaks firstly in 1995 after being in the show for ten years, and then returning in 2001 and took her second break in 2006 and later reinstated as a present cast member in 2014. The third longest serving character is Kathy Beale, who was the first longest-serving cast member until 1998 when she took a skimpy departure but making several guest appearances between 1999 and 2000 before leaving permanently, and then after fourteen years it was announced that Gillian Taylforth was reprising her role in the show's thirtieth anniversary in 2015 and ever since she has remained in the show. The fourth and final original cast member who is currently appearing in the show is Dr. Harold Legg who was a central cast member until 1989 and after that was a recurring cast member until 1997 when he left the show permanently, although he made brief guest appearances in 2000, 2004, 2007 and then returned in 2018. Lofty Holloway and Mary Smith made a brief return in 2019 for Harold Legg's funeral.
From the original cast Nejdet Salih, Bill Treacher, Leonard Fenton, Andrew Johnson, Peter Dean, Shreela Ghosh, Anita Dobson, John Altman, Sandy Ratcliff, Gillian Taylforth, Letitia Dean, Adam Woodyatt, Susan Tully, Tom Watt, Oscar James, Linda Davidson, Paul J. Medford and Shirley Cheriton are still alive.