When luck was being handed out Kathy was, er, unlucky ..; It's a tough life for the Square's broken sparra.
Condemned to scrimpin' and savin' in Albert Square, life doesn't just deal cruel blows to this Cockney sparra - it drops 50-ton bricks on her sadly-streaked head.
Kathy, played by Gillian Taylforth, is currently hooked up with Phil, the resident alcoholic grease monkey.
She's begged him to give up the bottle for the sake of their baby son Ben, but the binges have got the better of him and it seems Kath is about to circle the Square once more.
Not that it's always been like this for the EastEnder gal.
There was a brief period when Kathy Beale's life was a bowl of fresh cherries - supplied by her old man, Pete, the fruit and veg stall-holder.
A bevvy or two in the Vic, beans on toast with the Fowlers, and her only son Ian showing an interest in cooking were enough put a smile on Kath's scrubbed face.
But time and a torrent of trouble over the past 12 years have trowelled deep furrows in her forehead and played havoc with her hair.
The first spanner in the works was delivered by Nick Cotton, a nasty, greasy little oik who broke into Dr Legg's surgery, and became privy to information about Kath's past.
Resorting to blackmail, Nick forced our Kath to tell Pete she had been raped when she was 14, and the resulting child had been given up for adoption.
Shelving the anonymous offspring for a future episode, Kathy's card was marked by the scriptwriters.
Two years later, Donna Ludlow, Kathy's daughter, arrived at The Vic.
She was a compulsive liar who spun a web around the Square, and Kath wasn't having any of it.
Hardly the response of a Samaritan, you would think. But such is Kath's luck, she is is one of the few women to get sacked from a volunteer job.
Donna would eventually turn to drugs that killed her and Kathy to drink, which she served liberally from behind the bar of James Willmott-Brown's pub, The Dagmar.
More at home treading the divots on the polo field than dishing out liquor as the landlord, Willmott-Brown seemed totally plausible to sweet-natured Kath.
He confided in her about the break-up of his marriage - and then raped her after last orders.
Although Dirty Den would later firebomb his bar, Kathy would never be the same again.
As viewers know, however, Kath has more bounce than Mr Blobby, and she's a darn sight more popular, particularly with the menfolk.
Hence Willmott- Brown's obsession with her, rival fruit and veg man Laurie Bates's infatuation, and market inspector Tricky Dicky's determination to get her away on a holiday he won at the Traders' Christmas Ball.
Never one to turn down a suitor, Kath has fallen hook, line and sinker every time, only to be badly treated by the dreadful swine.
Yet Kath was the one who talked sense to Pat Butcher when she met car dealer Roy.
She always lent a shoulder to 'Chelle when things got tough. And when Tricky Dicky focused his amorous intentions on her daughter-in-law Cindy, and fuelled the rumour that he was the real father of her twins, Kath supported her son, Ian.
What with running the "caff", losing her ex-husband in a car crash, seeing her son destroyed by his marriage to an adulterous floozie and then giving birth to a deaf baby, it's amazing that catastrophic Kathy hasn't done the bunk and moved to El Dorado.
But don't hold your breaf!
Phil Mitchell, played by Steve McFadden, may just be the one to push her over the edge and out of Walworth once and for all.
Too many chances have taken the tweet out of the Cockney sparra.
She overlooked the fact that Phil had been in a marriage of convenience.
She took him back when she learned that he had been responsible for setting Frank Butcher's car lot on fire, accidentally killing a vagrant.
She even swallowed her pride when Phil slept with his sister-in-law Sharon.
But the unpalatable truth that he is drowning in drink marks the end of the road for ever-capable Kath.
And who could blame her?
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jan 25, 1997|
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