Brush with the old Bill; Why life after Arthur Fowler finds Bill Treacher back inside.IT'S been 10 years since he was in EastEnders, and, in fact, 10 years since he's been on television, but Bill Treacher is still approached on the street by people who remember him as the soap's Arthur Fowler.
There's even those who think he's still in the show.
"They never stop talking about him - in EastEnders - do they?" exclaims Treacher.
"I think that's why, he's still a strong presence. Pauline's getting married? Thank God for that. Maybe people will leave me alone," he laughs.
It's unlikely. During his 11 years on EastEnders, Treacher helped create one of the soap's most popular and enduring characters.
Such was the viewers' love for Arthur that even when Treacher handed in his notice to producers in 1994, he ended up working for another year.
On paper it's hard to see why the character was so well-loved. Arthur was a down-on-his-luck family man, henpecked by his wife Pauline, who merely strived to have a quiet life with his wife and three children. Nothing special there.
But his awful run of unforgiving bad luck endeared this unassuming old man to viewers. In a desperate move caused by his family's financial struggles he famously swiped the Christmas club money, leading to him having a breakdown and ending up in prison.
It was his first time there, but not his last. Later he was framed for embezzlement embezzlement, wrongful use, for one's own selfish ends, of the property of another when that property has been legally entrusted to one. Such an act was not larceny at common law because larceny was committed only when property was acquired by a "felonious taking," i. .
Even when he had an affair with the domineering dom·i·neer·ing
Tending to domineer; overbearing.
domi·neer Mrs Hewitt you felt it wasn't his fault - when he went to tend to her gardens he didn't stand a chance resisting the extra demands she started making on him.
Come 1994 Treacher, who's now 75, had had enough. The storylines had taken their toll on the actor and he'd decided it was time to leave the soap for good.
It took Treacher a while to recover from Arthur's relentless bad luck, and the actor even suffered from depression in the months after he left the show.
When old friend Alison Davis -a producer on The Bill who worked with Treacher on EastEnders - asked if she could send him some scripts for the cop drama, he said yes.
"Once I'd read the scripts I rang her straight away and said I'd love to do it."
Treacher is playing old lag Morris Leatherhead leath·er·head
See friarbird. , the cellmate cell·mate
A person with whom one shares a cell, especially in a prison. of imprisoned police officer Sergeant Dale 'Smithy' Smith, who has been accused of murder.
"Morris has been inside for some time and he's been asked, on the QT, to keep an eye on to watch.
See also: Eye Smithy," explains Treacher. "Smithy is a policeman but he doesn't know all the rules about what goes on inside, so Morris tries to show him the way. His life since EastEnders has become very relaxed, almost like a semi-retirement spending much of his time with his wife, actress Katherine Kessey, in their countryside house in Suffolk. Working in TV again seemed like a big undertaking.
"I wondered if the words would go in. It doesn't matter on film so much because there's not such a tight schedule.
THE BILL, Thursday, ITV (1) See interactive TV.
(2) (iTV) The code name for Apple's video media hub (see Apple TV). 1, 8pm
Bill Treacher plays old lag Morris Leatherhead, the cellmate of imprisoned police officer Sergeant Dale 'Smithy' Smith' Bill as Arthur Fowler with screen wife Pauline