Pauline Fowler (née Beale, previously Macer) made her first appearance on 19th February 1985. She was the mother of Mark, Michelle and Martin Fowler, the wife of Arthur Fowler, as well as the daughter of Albert and Lou Beale and the twin sister of Pete Beale. She was the grandmother to Vicki, Mark, Bex, Arthur, Hope and Lulu Fowler (deceased).

Pauline was portrayed by Wendy Richard.



Pauline and her fraternal twin brother Pete were born to Albert and Lou Beale on 11th March 1945. Pauline is younger by 5 minutes. They were born and raised in number 45 Albert Square. She went to Walford High School (Walford High) - the school her entire family went to.

When Pauline was a kid, she went into hospital to get her tonsils out, Pete did not know what to do with himself as he had not been separated from his twin for that long before. He felt like something important was missing and he wondered around waiting for Pauline to come home.

In 1956, she met Arthur Fowler, a local boy. She started dating Arthur in 1964, but he proposed to her later on when she was upset that she could not be a bridesmaid to her older sister Dora because she was ill. They married in 1965, the same year of the death of her father - Albert Beale. They had three children, Mark (born 1968), Michelle (born 1969) and Martin (born 1985).


During the first episode, Pauline learns that she is pregnant for the third time at forty. Her mother Lou Beale (Anna Wing) objects to this as Arthur is unemployed. Nevertheless, Pauline gives birth to Martin Fowler (Jon Peyton Price,James Alexandrou,James Bye) in July 1985. Pauline remains living at Number 45, the house she grew up in, caring for her ailing mother Lou, then with her son Mark (David Scarboro, Todd Carty) and his wives Ruth Aitken (Caroline Paterson) and Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin), and later with Dot Cotton (June Brown) and her friend Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin). Pauline has a lifelong hatred for sleazy pub landlord Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) for his treatment over his wife Angie Watts (Anita Dobson) and for sleeping with her daughter Michelle (Sue Tully, Jenna Russell) when she is sixteen. Michelle becomes pregnant and refuses to reveal the identity of the father. Pauline discovers Den handing Michelle an envelope of money in secret and concludes that Den is the father. Years later, Den reveals the truth to Pauline. When Lou dies in 1988, Pauline slightly adopts her mother's personality; sometime during the funeral, Arthur suggests changes and Pauline sharply agrees, but starts ordering him about. In fact, as well as her husband, she develops a strict personality towards her younger relatives, including her nephew, Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt).

In 1989, Pauline starts to suffer from chronic fatigue and rather than seeking medical assistance, she continues to ignore it. Whilst walking home from shopping, Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) runs her over in his Austin Mini. Pauline discovers that she has Fibroids and that it has a high possibility of being terminal. However in December 1989, Pauline spends time in hospital recovering from a hysterectomy and survives. In 1991, Mark (now played by Todd Carty) returns. Pauline is delighted with Mark's reappearance but is upset to discover that he has contracted HIV from who he believes is from his girlfriend Gill Robinson (Susanna Dawson). Mark continues to battle with his HIV until his death in 2004 and is subjected to hate - later from Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) in 1996, who instigates a hate campaign against Mark. Pauline and Peggy begin a feud which continues in 2002, when Mark acts as the father to his wife Lisa's daughter with Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) - Louise.

Despite having a stable and happy marriage with Arthur, Pauline discovers in September 1993 that he is having an affair with Christine Hewitt (Elizabeth Power). Hurt, embarrassed, and angry, Pauline responds by hitting Arthur in the face with a frying pan and then throwing him out of their home. Months later, Pauline invites her twin brother Pete Beale (Peter Dean) back to Walford on the day of the birth of his son Ian's new twin children Peter (Francis Brittin-Snell) and Lucy (Eva Brittin-Snell), but is upset to discover that Pete has been killed in a car crash. Arthur comforts Pauline and eventually they reconcile. The affair is never allowed to be forgotten, however, particularly when Pauline's relative Nellie Ellis (Elizabeth Kelly) comes to lodge and discovers his escapades.

More tragedy follows Pauline and Arthur when conman Willy Roper (Michael Tudor Barnes) (dubbed "Wicked Willy" by the British press) arrives in Walford and decides to con Arthur into signing fund money into various accounts, and leaves him to face the consequences when the money is declared missing. Arthur is wrongfully imprisoned for embezzlement in 1995 and Willy attempts to woo Pauline in his absence. Willy and Pauline spend time together but Pauline finds Willy to be a great comfort and refuses to stop seeing him socially. Following his mother's death, Willy asks Pauline to go on holiday to Jersey. Pauline's son Mark correctly figures out that his real motive is to put stolen money in an off-shore account under a false name, but Pauline refuses to believe Mark's accusations. While away, Pauline and Willy become very close, but this all changes when she discovers his counterfeit credit cards and her suspicions begin to raise. She does not inform Willy of her discovery, but immediately returns to Walford the following day after he confesses his love for her. Pauline tries to extract a confession from Willy and lures him under the semblance that she wants to rekindle their friendship. Whilst alone with Willy, Pauline uses alcohol to seduce the truth from Willy and he confesses to embezzlement and tells her how he had managed to frame Arthur. The police are informed and Willy is arrested and charged, though he is released on bail. Arthur is released but before Pauline can pass on the good news, she is told that he had been involved in a prison riot. Arthur is exonerated the next day, but his joyful reunion with Pauline is brief, as an injury he sustained in prison leads to a brain haemorrhage and he dies shortly after his release. His death ends an 11-year on-screen marriage, the longest run of any marriage in the serial. Arthur's death deeply affects Pauline and causes her to become a bitter woman.

A few years after the death of Arthur, Pauline becomes close to handyman Jeff Healy (Leslie Schofield). They begin a brief relationship, but Pauline turns down his offer of marriage when he proposes and he eventually leaves Walford. In 2001, Pauline's old school friend Derek Harkinson (Ian Lavender) arrives in Walford, and she hopes their relationship will progress to a romance, but it fails when Derek reveals that he is homosexual. He eventually moves in with Pauline becoming a replacement father figure to Mark and Martin and as Pauline's best friend. In 2000, Pauline's son Martin is revealed to be the father of Sonia Jackson's (Natalie Cassidy)'s daughter Chloe Jackson. Sonia decides to give Chloe up for adoption and a feud erupts between the Jacksons and the Fowlers. Pauline demands custody of the baby instead of her being adopted and this leads to a court hearing where Sonia asks that Chloe be returned to her and be raised with her boyfriend, Jamie Mitchell (Jack Ryder), if Martin asks for custody with Pauline to support him. However, the judge rules that the adoption should go ahead when Martin admits that he does not want to be a father. Problems continue for Pauline when Martin receives a six-month prison sentence after driving a car that fatally hits Jamie. However, he only serves two months, being let out early for good behaviour. Once released, Martin resumes his criminal lifestyle by robbing a shop, blackmailing Kareena Ferreira (Pooja Shah) and growing cannabis in Arthur's shed, assisted by his best friend Asif Malik (Ashvin Luximon).

During her later years on the show, Pauline becomes more involved in building friendships with the other middle-aged women around the Square, becoming friends with Dot and even mending fences with former sister-in-law Pat Evans (Pam St Clement). In 2005, Chloe (now Rebecca)'s adoptive parents are killed in a car accident, causing Martin and Sonia to track her down. Pauline demands to be part of Rebecca's life. She goes to see Rebecca in secret and takes part in misleading Rebecca's adoptive grandmother Margaret Wilson (Janet Amsden) in an effort to have Martin and Sonia named as Rebecca's guardians in Margaret's will. Although the plot backfires, later, upon Margaret's death, Martin and Sonia are given custody of Rebecca and this initiates Pauline's feud with Sonia. Not long after, Pauline embarks on a relationship with Joe Macer (Ray Brooks) whom she meets at salsa classes. Subsequently, Pauline and Joe tie the knot in February 2006, but even this fails to stop Pauline from giving regular digs at Sonia or Naomi Julien (Petra Letang) after she discovers their affair. Just two months after the wedding, Pauline and Joe's marriage is shown to sour after she discovers Joe's criminal past, but they reconcile soon afterwards.

Pauline becomes depressed and lonely and seizes the opportunity, whilst in hospital to mislead her family into believing that she has a brain tumor in order to ruin the restored relationship between Martin and Sonia. When the truth is uncovered, Pauline is left alone. She separates from Joe, sells the family veg stall, and decides to join Michelle in Florida. However, she changes her mind and decides to remain in the square to be with her family. After an argument with Joe in which he hits her with a frying pan, Pauline collapses and dies of a brain hemorrhage in the snow and next to Arthur's bench. Pauline's granddaughter Rebecca suspects that Sonia has caused Pauline's death, following a confrontation between her and Pauline leading Sonia to slap her. As a result, Sonia is arrested in the middle of her funeral. However Sonia is cleared and she, Martin, Rebecca and Pauline's dog Betty reunite to start a new life away from Walford. Joe confesses to Dot that he caused Pauline death, after hitting her on the head with a frying pan. He eventually falls to his death during a confrontation with Dot and her husband Jim Branning (John Bardon). In 2007, after Pauline's death, Dot buries her ashes at Arthur's grave. Later on, her nephew Ian and his children move into her house.

Behind the Scenes

  • Pauline Fowler is one of the original twenty-three characters invented by the creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland (1940–2007) and Julia Smith (1927–1997). Holland had drawn on his own London background for inspiration, naming three of the original characters after his own relatives, specifically his aunt Lou and her children, Holland's cousins, the fraternal twins Pete and Pauline. This family setup of a woman named Lou Beale, with twin children Pete and Pauline, was recreated on-screen as the first family of EastEnders, the Beales and Fowlers.

First and last lines

"Right. When did you say officially Doctor?" (First line)


"Come on Betty." (Last line)


See also

Original characters
Lou Beale | Pauline Fowler | Arthur Fowler | Michelle Fowler | Mark Fowler | Pete Beale | Kathy Beale | Ian Beale | Den Watts | Angie Watts | Sharon Watts | Ethel Skinner | Dr Legg | Dot Cotton | Nick Cotton | Sue Osman | Ali Osman | Saeed Jeffery | Naima Jeffery | Lofty Holloway | Tony Carpenter | Mary Smith | Kelvin Carpenter | Andy O'Brien | Debbie Wilkins | Pat Butcher | Simon Wicks
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