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Arthur Fowler.. that was your life; GONE WEST: the old EastEnders favourite bows out.

Poor old Arthur Fowler is about to pop his clogs in the place he loved most - his allotment.

Now the EastEnders veteran is poised to push up leeks after years of hassle in the soap.

Today the Record pays tribute to Arthur, for the 11 years of more bad- times than good times that he shared with the soap's fans.

ARTHUR FOWLER, you married Pauline on September 22, 1965. Your East End upbringing, living through The Blitz and suffering terrible poverty, stood you in good stead.

It might have been tough, but it was character building and you always bounced back with a smile, ready to help those in the same boat.

Life was normal in the Fowler household, at weekends you followed Third Division Walford Town FC ... the rest of the week was a struggle to give your family a decent life.

Back in 1987, came your first crisis.

After being on the dole for more than two years, you finally cracked up.

Millions of viewers were so deeply affected by your breakdown that they coined a new phrase - "doing an Arthur" - to describe life at the bottom of the barrel.

Then came your big mistake. You were tempted into nicking cash from a Christmas fund to spend on daughter Michelle's wedding to Lofty.

Like any dad, you wanted to do your best for your little girl ... Michelle had got pregnant at 16 after an affair with the Square's Dirty Den, landlord of The Queen Vic.

It was only natural that you were pleased Michelle would be getting a "dad" for your grand-daughter, Vicky.

But after lifting the money, you faced up to the consequences, serving a month in jail.

Nobody looked on you as a criminal ... a million unemployed dads secretly knew they would have done the same.

Out of jail, you worked with brother-in-law Pete - Kathy's late husband - on the fruit and veg stall in The Square. But in March, 1990, Pete bought out your share of the stall, leaving you facing the dole queue again.

Always a keen amateur gardener, you set up a gardening firm with son Mark in 1991.

At last, Arthur, life was looking up. You learned to drive and business was good.

But in 1992, storm clouds were gathering again ... this time in affairs of the heart.

You were employed to work in Christine Hewitt's garden. And, as business started to expand, you took her son, Jonathan, on

But then Jonathan opted out, Christine Hewitt stepped in while Pauline went off for a visit to New Zealand. And, as the nation knows, Arthur, you were heading into deep waters.

Christine laughed at your jokes and listened to you while Pauline took you for granted.

Your friendship deepened and Christine made a pass .

Ever the loyal and faithful husband, you were shocked and it looked like the affair would just blow over after she moved out of The Square, writing to apologise for her behaviour.

But when Pauline got back from New Zealand, she found the incriminating letter

It was inevitable that you would end up in bed - an event witnessed at Christmas, 1992 by 16 million viewers.

There was even a point when you thought about leaving Pauline to set up a permanent love nest with your steamy mistress.

The very idea of you having an affair shocked many who believed Arthur Fowler to be a decent man at heart.

In the spring of 1993, you lost your council cleaning contract and closed the business, taking a menial job at the market.

But your affair with Christine continued. She started working in Kathy's Bistro. Kathy sensed something going on and Christine admitted everything, much to your horror.

On your 50th birthday, the affair came to a head.

Christine pressured you to leave Pauline ... and you finally came clean with Pauline.

She kicked you out, forcing you to sleep on son Mark's sofa.

The affair with Christine was over - but it was months before you patched up your marriage with Pauline.

Finally, you moved back in December, 1993, but it was another 15 months before you once again shared a bed with your forgiving wife.

Predictably, more trouble was around the corner. Cousin Nellie moved in and you clashed from day one.

Yet more was to come. You were charged with driving without an MoT after crashing your car in April 1994.

But you couldn't afford to pay pounds 1000 for the repairs to the other car and, luckily, Nellie baled you out.

Gradually, your soft-side emerged again, when you realised Nellie was just a lonely old lady.

But more family troubles were looming when Michelle - whose marriage to Lofty didn't last - started talking about another husband.

You never liked the idea of her marrying teacher, Geoff, who was twice her age.

More heartache followed when Michelle gave Geoff the heave and moved abroad to live with Vicky.

Soon after, there was Mark and Scots lass Ruth's marriage to look forward to. You were pleased to see Mark happy again, despite knowing he is HIV.

Earlier, the whole family were saddened when Mark married his previous lover on her death- bed, hours before she died from AIDS.

Last summer, life looked rosy again when you were elected on to the committee of the Allotment Society and became a fundraiser for a "flowering wilderness" campaign.

By last August, the campaign was doing so well that you and Willy Roper, a fellow comm- ittee member, opened a bank account for the funds.

There was more happiness when Mark repaid the pounds 1000 he had borrowed and you took Pauline off for a romantic holiday to Halkidiki.

Sadly, Arthur, the homecoming was the start of the slippery slope.

By Christmas, you were jailed again for stealing pounds 20,000 from the "wilderness" fund, when all the time we new it was cheating Willy Roper.

You blubbed like a baby behind bars, and Willy took Pauline off on holiday to Jersey.

But Pauline finally won a confession from Willy and, just a short time ago, Arthur, you were released from jail.

But it was too late. By now you were a broken man, devastated by one crisis too many.

Tonight, years of stress finally take their toll.

Arthur Fowler, this was your life ...

We have loved you and felt sorry for you, wanted to shake some sense into you

But, finally, we all hope you Rest In Peace.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Ratcliffe, Sandra
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 21, 1996
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