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EastEnders Wiki
EastEnders Wiki

Ruth Aitken (previously Fowler) made her first appearance on 28 July 1994 and her last appearance on 11 February 1999. She was the second wife of Mark Fowler. The character was played by Caroline Paterson.


Ruth, who is from Edinburgh, Scotland, comes from a strict Presbyterian family headed by a minister father, Hugh Aitken. She comes to London with her friend Anna because she does not want to comply with her father's ideals. Anna contracts HIV and Ruth visits her in a hospice.


Ruth is first seen in July 1994, visiting Anna at a hospice. There, she meets Mark Fowler, who has HIV. She and Mark bond and he comforts her when Anna dies. They start a relationship and she becomes a childminder.

In 1995, Ruth and Mark get engaged. Ruth's father insists that they marry in Scotland, but her family are not welcoming when they discover Mark's HIV status. They respond with trepidation and ignorance, refusing to distinguish between AIDS and HIV, despite Mark's best efforts to explain. Believing he is contagious, they do not let him stay in their home, suggesting that he represents everything they have spent their lives battling. Ultimately, Ruth and Mark marry without her parents' blessing.

Ruth and Mark soon start to argue because Ruth (initially tells Mark that she is happy about not having children) has second thoughts about having children. They visit a counsellor, who tells them their options, and they decide to be foster parents. They are given their first foster child, 6-year-old Jessie Moore, whose mother, Nicole Moore, is in prison on remand. Jessie refuses to speak and wets the bed. Mark and Ruth try to get her to engage with them and they eventually make progress.

In December 1997, Ruth returns to Scotland to visit her father, who has had a stroke. While she is away, Jessie receives a letter from her mother - saying that she will be released from prison. When Ruth returns after her father's death in February 1998, she is furious that Jessie has visited her mother in prison and will probably be returning to her mother soon. Ruth and Mark argue and Ruth grows closer to Mark's cousin, Conor Flaherty, who is staying with them. Nicole visits and tells them that she is taking steps to get Jessie back. When Mark and Ruth try contesting Nicole's decision, they are told that fostering is about reuniting children with their parents. Both become depressed and Mark's jealousy over Ruth's relationship with Conor makes things worse. When Jessie returns to Nicole, Mark and Ruth's relationship declines swiftly. Amidst constant arguing and jealousy, Mark moves out. Ruth gets drunk and tries to seduce Conor but he turns her down - he admits that he finds her attractive but he says he cannot have sex with someone whose previous partner is HIV positive and berates her for being irresponsible. Ruth is deeply offended and when Mark finds out what has happened, he declares that their marriage is over.

Ruth spends much time partying, clubbing and enjoying her freedom. Her wild behaviour attracts barman Huw Edwards but she rebuffs his advances. Eventually, Ruth's partying and neglect of her property means that she cannot pay her bills. Mark's mother, Pauline Fowler, gives her money hoping that she and Mark will reconcile but it becomes clear that this will not happen. Ruth begins an affair with Conor but, after they have sex, he worries that Ruth will get pregnant and insists that she take the morning-after pill. Ruth protests and eventually lies that she has taken it. The affair ends but she is pregnant. When Conor's daughter, Mary Flaherty, accidentally tells Mark this he is furious and beats Conor up and informs him of the pregnancy. Conor suggests that he and Ruth resume their relationship and bring up the child together, but she refuses - choosing to be a single parent. Ruth returns to Scotland, rejecting Mark and Conor as she leaves in February 1999. Soon after, Conor and Mary leave Walford, looking for Ruth.

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