What happened to Mark Fowler in EastEnders?

21 December 2021, 09:36

Mark Fowler was played by Todd Carty
Mark Fowler was played by Todd Carty. Picture: Alamy
Heart reporter

By Heart reporter

Did Mark Fowler die in EastEnders? Here's what we know about Todd Carty's character...

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EastEnders fans will remember Mark Fowler joining The Square all the way back in 1985.

While he was originally played by David Scarboro, the actor sadly died by suicide in 1988 and Mark was recast two years later.

Former Grange Hill star Todd Carty took over the role until Mark was written out of the soap in 2004.

Todd Carty played Mark Fowler in EastEnders
Todd Carty played Mark Fowler in EastEnders. Picture: Alamy

Joining as a teenager, Mark was part of some huge storylines, including his marriages to Gill Fowler (Susanna Dawson), Ruth Fowler (Caroline Paterson) and Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin).

He also had a long-time feud with love rival Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and ended up as a suspect in the Who Shot Phil? plot.

The character also had to deal with the death of his father Arthur (Bill Treacher), and had a close relationship with his mother Pauline (Wendy Richard).

But what happened to Mark Fowler? Here’s what we know…

Mark Fowler made his EastEnders debut in 1989
Mark Fowler made his EastEnders debut in 1989. Picture: Alamy

What happened to Mark Fowler in EastEnders?

Mark Fowler tragically died in 2004 from an AIDS-related illness.

He was the first mainstream soap character to be diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1991 and lived with the condition for 13 years before dying.

Opening up about the storyline, actor Todd said at the time: "I feel that the storyline educated people at a time when there were lots of misconceptions about HIV and AIDS…

“My main concern was that they'd get it right and, overall, I think they did – because it showed someone living with HIV, as opposed to dying of it.”

The soap worked with the Terrence Higgins Trust and EastEnders was widely praised for the storyline, with writers exploring anti-retroviral drugs, safe sex and prejudice.

Mark died of an AIDS-related illness off screen in April 2004.

There has later been criticism over the plot, with head of policy at the Terrence Higgins Trust, Lisa Power claiming it was ‘not reflective of what was happening at the time as the condition was more common among the gay community’.

She also added: “He was perhaps killed off too early as advancements in drugs are helping people live for much longer...

“Saying that, one decent soap episode is worth a thousand leaflets in schools. That is why we would always go out of our way to help scriptwriters. TV and films can be very powerful."