Mel Owen
Melanie Owen Returns
Portrayed by Tamzin Outhwaite
Introduced by Matthew Robinson
Gender Female Female
First Appearance 19 October 1998
Duration 1998–2002, 2018–2019
Episode Count  ?
Address 43 Albert Square
Status Alive
Age 47
Date of Birth 15 January 1972
Occupation Businesswoman
Classification Present; regular
HusbandIan Beale (1999-2000)
Steve Owen (2001-02)
Ray Kelly (2019; off-screen)
RomancesBilly Mitchell
Nathan Williams
Dan Sullivan
Phil Mitchell
Jack Branning
Max Branning
SonsHunter Owen
FatherJeff Healy
MotherJane Healy
BrothersAlex Healy
SistersKatie Healy

Melanie Jane "Mel" Owen (nee Healy, previously Beale) is the second wife of Ian Beale and mother of Steve Owen's son Hunter. She was only married for half an hour and than tried to divorce. She left the show in 2002, and made a return on 11 January 2018. On July 11, 2019, it was announced that Outhwaite will be leaving the show once again and Mel will depart in the autumn.


Mel arrived in Walford and was surprised to bump into her dead brother living down the road. Although not as surprised as we were when she married Ian!

Mel Healy was your typical good girl. A vicar's sister, blonde-haired, pretty and with a taste for bad men. As a sister of the cloth, she should have known better than get involved with ne'erdowells like Steve Owen, Dan Sullivan and Phil Mitchell (her best friend's man… oh dear). And she certainly shouldn't have married Ian Beale, which can only be attributed to temporary insanity. She wisely dumped him minutes after the wedding, on discovering that he'd lied about his daughter Lucy having cancer, just to snare her.Though it seemed like the real deal with Steve, she discovered after his death that he had set her up and was responsible for her arrest for drug smuggling charges. She managed to escape the long-arm of the law by fleeing to Portugal, pregnant, and leaving Phil to pay her bail bond.


Mel had a troubled past: She owned a business that went bankrupt, was abused by a boyfriend and was estranged from her family for some years, traveling around the Greek Islands, before reuniting with her brother, vicar Alex Healy and their father, Jeff, in Walford in October 1998.

Mel becomes involved with Ian Beale. Melanie finds the children hard to deal with at first but grows to love them. Ian and Mel plan to marry but Melanie gets cold feet, realising she doesn't truly love Ian. Ian hears her say this and blackmails her into marrying him by telling her that Lucy has cancer. The pair marry on New Year's Eve 1999, in a double wedding with Barry and Natalie Evans, but at their reception, she discovers a letter, giving Lucy the all-clear, and leaves Ian as the clock strikes midnight and the new millennium begins.

Mel leaves Ian hours after they wed. Mel then has brief flings with Billy Mitchell, Nathan Williams, Dan Sullivan and Phil Mitchell, despite Phil living with her best friend, Lisa Shaw, at the time. However, her on/off flirtation with Steve Owen is the only relationship that lasts and they marry in March 2001, despite Steve finding out that she had slept with Phil on Christmas Day 2000 in a drunken one-night stand. On their wedding day, Phil is shot by a mystery attacker and Steve is the prime suspect. Melanie suspects it is him but he protests his innocence. Phil recovers from the shooting and confronts the culprit who turns out to be Lisa. Steve forgives Mel and on Phil's instruction, he decides to frame his enemy Dan. Dan Sullivan is wrongly imprisoned for Phil's attempted murder, and after his release, believing that it was Steve who actually shot him, kidnaps Mel in revenge. Dan demands a large sum of money and Steve grows desperate. During her few days of captivity, Dan tells Mel about Steve's dodgy dealings and criminal activities. Phil comes to her rescue and Dan flees. Mel takes time out after burning down her and Steve's club, E20, as revenge for Steve's lies. He woos her round, however, and they plan to emigrate to America with Lisa Shaw, her boyfriend Mark Fowler, and Lisa's daughter, Louise Mitchell. However, Mark changes his mind and Lisa is torn as to what to do, the plan is falling apart but Steve absconds with Louise but Phil follows them and a car chase ensues; Steve swerves and crashes. Phil rescues Louise and is about to go back for Steve but is too late – the car explodes with Steve inside and he dies.

Mel is heart-broken when Steve's web of deceit and lies are uncovered after his death. She discovers that Steve was having an affair with Phil's sister, Sam, and that Steve sold their club and house behind her back. On her friend Lisa's wedding day to Mark Fowler, Melanie is arrested for drug connections after she is implicated in Steve's drug smuggling; Mel had unwittingly signed Steve's paperwork, linking the drug smuggling back to her. Facing a long spell in prison, Phil bails her for £30,000 when she discovers that she is pregnant. She then discovers that Lisa was responsible for shooting Phil and that both knew it was not Steve, despite her continued suspicions. Feeling betrayed by everyone, she toasts Steve before going to Portugal so Phil loses the £30,000. Later that year, Lisa and Louise join Mel in Portugal.

After discovering Ben stole the money from Phil's heist, she gets in touch with Ciara and tells her she knows everything. Melanie follows Ben to the ferry terminal, to his suspicion. He hides behind some posters in order to lose Melanie; it works In late January, Mel agrees to rent 43 Albert Square from Jack Branning who then asks her out for a drink however she declines as she says she 'is older and wiser'. After her son Hunter has sex with Louise Mitchell, she seduces Phil Mitchell, in order to prevent him from attacking Hunter. She says that if Phil harms Hunter, she will leak the tape to Phil's wife Sharon.

Mel's former husband Ray Kelly is mentioned several times throughout 2018, as his ex partner Mel Owen's son Hunter Owen stays in contact with him. Ray arrives at E20 Nightclub as Mel is about to respond to Jack Branning's marriage proposal. Ray tells Mel he came because Hunter told him she was in trouble, but Mel says it was a lie. Ray leaves, but Mel later calls him. They meet and talk about their past, and he says he left his job in the police because he made mistakes after she left him and that letting her go was a mistake. She says it is too late and pushes him away when he goes to kiss her, but she then kisses him.

A man named Jeff Reynolds then comes to Walford into a café and talks to Ray, calling him Simon. Ray then tells Jeff that he doesn't know him and must have the wrong man. Hunter then gets suspicious of Ray and why he is always sneaking around. Hunter then listens to Ray's phone call and becomes even more suspicious. Hunter then looks in the back of Ray's car and finds loads of money and a passport with Ray being named Simon Wright. When Hunter confronts Ray about it, he says that he is still in the police force but doesn't want to worry Mel about it. Ray then takes Hunter out and gets him drunk, much to Mel's despair. That night, Ray takes Hunter home and meets up with Jeff and tells him to leave and never come back, but he tells Ray that he is buying a flat in the area from Jack. Ray then beets up Jeff and tells him to leave and never come back. The next day, Jeff asks Jack for his money back from his deposit off the flat but Jack says its out of his hands. Jeff later runs off when Ray comes towards him, making Jack suspicious. Jack threatens to tell Mel about this but later on, Ray arrives at Jack's house and tells him that he can make his life a misery if he doesn't get off his case. Ray then tells Jack that he will tell everyone about what happened to his daughter Penny Branning. Jack and Ray start to fight just as Jack’s children Amy and Ricky walk into the room.

Mel then asks Jack to do some digging on Jeff and find his criminal record. Jack does this but it turns out that he hasn't got one. Later on, Mel hears Ray on the phone to a doctor with the surname Matthews. She thinks nothing of it and goes into the café for a coffee. She overhears a nurse Sonia Fowler talking about how Dr Matthews is busy today. Mel goes to the hospital to Matthew's ward and discovers Ray with a woman and young child. The next day, Mel returns to the hospital and discovers Ray has been living two lives and he has another family. Mel speaks to a woman named Maddie Wright, who asks Mel if she can borrow 10p. They get chatting and Mel asks her if she is married. Maddie tells Mel she has a husband named Simon and they have a four year old son named Jake but her husband wanted to name him Ray. Mel tells Maddie that she did have a husband but he cheeted on her, Madie replies telling Mel she hopes she made him pay.

In January 2019, Ray is arrested for bigamy by PC Nawaz after Nicola and Maddie report him to the police. Whilst driving the police car to the station, Ray fakes a heart attack. PC Bentley and PC Nawaz stop the car and roll him onto the ground. He grabs PC Bentley's taser and tasers him. PC Nawaz pulls out her baton, but Ray threatens her with the taser. He locks them in the car and walks away.

Whilst he is doing this, Mel reveals to Jack and Hunter that Ray has two other wives and tried to kill her. Ray returns to the house, where he turns the place upside down looking for his brown bag. Hunter finds him in there, and tries to stab him.Ray overpowers him, beats him and puts him in the boot of his car. Ray phones Mel from a forest and tells her to bring his brown bag to her, which has his money and gun in it. Mel agrees. Ray sends Mel a photo of Hunter, bloody in the boot of his car.Mel turns up at the location with the bag and the gun drawn. She hears wedding music. She ventures to the source, and finds a phone. She turns the music off, and dumps the bag. Ray jumps out at her, and she points the gun at him. Ray tells her the gun isn't loaded. She shoots the gun at a tree. She makes Ray lie down and she ties him up. She asks where Hunter is, and Ray tells her that Hunter was taken away by a friend. Mel makes Ray phone the friend. Ray says he will be 15 minutes, so Ray and Mel talk. They reminisce. Mel grows impatient and tells Ray she is phoning his friend. Ray warns her not to. A pizza company answer. Mel realises she has been duped. She points the gun at Ray again and asks where Hunter is. A cry rings out, and she runs towards it. She finds Hunter with his hands bound. She unties him and helps him walk to her car. She finds her tyres have been slashed. She asks Hunter for Ray's keys, and he has them. Ray jumps out at them, and they rush into his car. Ray starts hammering at the car door and window with a spade, as Mel fumbles about with the keys attempting to start the car. She manages. She accelerates but crashes into a tree. She then moves backwards but hits Ray. She gets out of the car and feels for a heartbeat on Ray, but cannot find one. She digs a grave for him and puts him in it. She fills the grave. She cries and drops to her knees, just as Ray sits up from his grave. Ray pulls Mel to the ground and attempts to strangle her. A loud bang rings out and Ray falls to his side. Hunter is seen standing behind him with a gun. Ray has been shot. Mel takes the gun off Hunter and tells him to start searching for the round. They find it. Mel buries Ray in the grave she made for him earlier. They drive back to the Square in Ray's car, and Jack knocks on their door when they get there. He asks them where they have been, and they tell him they went for a long drive, although Jack is suspicious. Hunter and Mel get inside and bag all the clothes up to get rid of them. Hunter tells Mel that he has broken the gun up and put bits of it in bins all around the Square. Jack knocks and tells Mel to come and have a drink with him in the kitchen. He doesn't take no for an answer. DS Barnes comes round and tells Mel that Ray has escaped, and suggests they helped him escape. Mel denies this and sends DS Barnes packing. Mel goes to collect the bags of clothing to take away and Hunter goes into the kitchen. Hunter pulls out the gun from his pockets and puts it to his throat. Mel smashes a glass, and she hears a bang. However, she imagined it.

Character development

On October 24th 2017, it was announced that Melanie Owen would return to EastEnders after almost sixteen years away at some point in the festive/New Year period. Tamzin Outhwaite (7 Seconds, Hotel Babylon), who has played Melanie since her introduction in 1998, said "EastEnders is in my DNA and I always knew deep down that someday I would revisit Mel." John Yorke said he was "thrilled and flattered" to have Outhwaite reprise the role and looked forward to exploring her absence and "who Melanie Owen is now". John Yorke promised an "incredible" storyline for Mel when she returns and said it would "awaken a lot of old ghosts, some great memories, and a whole new series of adventures too". Originally, Mel was credited as "Melanie Owen", but since her return, she's credited as simply "Mel Owen".

First and last lines

"Excuse me? I believe you have a vacancy, is that right?" (First line to Louise Raymond)


See also

Ian Beale | Sharon Mitchell | Kathy Beale | Dot Branning | Martin Fowler | Phil Mitchell | Sonia Fowler | Robbie Jackson | Mel Owen | Ben Mitchell | Billy Mitchell | Kat Moon | Mo Harris | Bex Fowler | Patrick Trueman | Louise Mitchell | Bobby Beale | Stacey Fowler | Jean Slater | Ruby Allen | Honey Mitchell | Denise Fox | Max Branning | Janet Mitchell | Shirley Carter | Jay Brown | Rainie Branning | Jack Branning | Dotty Cotton | Will Mitchell | Whitney Dean | Tiffany Butcher | Amy Mitchell | Dotty Cotton | Kim Fox-Hubbard | Lily Fowler | Ricky Mitchell | Tommy Moon | Dennis Rickman | Tina Carter | Linda Carter | Mick Carter | Bert Moon | Ernie Moon | Kush Kazemi | Pearl Fox-Hubbard | Ollie Carter | Arthur Fowler | Keegan Baker | Ted Murray | Karen Taylor | Keanu Taylor | Bernadette Taylor | Chatham Taylor | Riley Taylor | Hope Fowler | Abi Branning | Arshad Ahmed | Mariam Ahmed | Callum "Halfway" Highway | Hayley Slater | Mitch Baker | Stuart Highway | Adam Bateman | Cherry Slater | Evie Steele | Mica Fox-Hubbard | Bailey Baker | Habiba Ahmed | Iqra Ahmed | Ash Kaur
Characters (Selected)
Saeed Jeffery | Debbie Wilkins | Tony Carpenter | Kelvin Carpenter | Naima Jeffery | Sue Osman | Mehmet Osman | Ali Osman | Vicki Fowler | Paul Trueman | Zoe Slater | Chrissie Watts | David Wicks | Simon Wicks | Ricky Butcher | Diane Butcher | Andrew Cotton | Peter Beale | Liam Butcher | Dean Wicks | Babe Smith | Courtney Mitchell | Grant Mitchell | James Willmott-Brown | Johnny Carter | Tanya Cross | Lauren Branning | Michelle Fowler | Alfie Moon | Annie Smith | Lofty Holloway | Mary Smith
Characters (Selected)
Lou Beale | Andy O'Brien | Pete Beale | Arthur Fowler | Cindy Beale | Steve Owen | Tiffany Mitchell | Ethel Skinner | Angie Watts | Roy Evans | Mark Fowler | Barry Evans | Den Watts | Dennis Rickman | Johnny Allen | Pauline Fowler | Frank Butcher | Archie Mitchell | Nana Moon | Bradley Branning | Pat Evans | Heather Trott | Derek Branning | 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
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