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TROUBLED Ben Mitchell was last seen in Walford last year but now he's back. Looking different. Again

Waterloo Road star Max Bowden, 24, is the sixth actor to play the EastEnders character, taking over from Harry Reid. Matthew Silver was the first in 1996, then Morgan Whittler in 1999, Charlie Jones in 2006 and joshua Pascoe in 2010.

We look at some other changing faces of soap


Dallas Barbara Bel Geddes was the original Southfork matriarch when the US super-soap began in 1978. Larry Hagman, a big fan, was thrilled to play her dastardly son, JR.

He recalled: "They said 'Barbara is going to play your mother' and I said, 'Well, that's a touch of class'."

But in 1983 she had quadruple bypass surgery, missed a third of the season and decided to quit.

Donna Reed, from It's a Wonderful Life, took over in 1984 but fans did not take to her glamorous style and Hagman disliked her.

When the show's ratings dipped, he persuaded a recovered Barbara to return and Reed was dismissed.

Donna Reed R Sh brcf She successfully sued for breach of her three-year contract but died the following year from pancreatic cancer.

Barbara carried on as Miss Ellie until 1990 and died in 2005 aged 82.

TRACY BARLOW Coronation Street

Born to Deirdre and Ray Langton in 1977, Tracy was played by Christabel Finch from when she was only 15 days old and for the next six years.

It was another two years before Tracy was recast and her parents famously explained her absence by saying she was "upstairs playing tapes".

She eventually reappeared as pigtail-wearing Holly Chamarette in 1985.

Dawn Acton, 11, took over in 1988 and stayed for over a decade, creating the bolshy brunette that Kate Ford inherited in 2002 and has played ever since.


Ian's troubled son has been played by four young actors.

After being portrayed by Kevin Curran from 2003-2006, Alex Francis took over until 2012 when he left to "concentrate on school commitments".

He was followed by Rory Stroud and Eliot Carrington from 2014.

Bobby is now serving a 10-year sentence for killing his sister Lucy.

VIVIAN BANKS The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Will Smith's aunt in the US sitcom was first played by Janet Hubert, now 63. But she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid, now 70, after season three in 1993. It was prompted by tension on set between Will and Janet.

He claimed: "Janet wanted the show to be Aunt Viv of Bel Air Show."


Everyone remembers Jason Donovan as Scott in the Aussie soap but most forget that Darius Perkins, then 20, got there first.

He was cast in the role in 1985 but allegedly fell out with bosses over his behaviour.

He was replaced a year later by 18-year-old Jason, who became an instant hit - especially with female viewers.

Scott's marriage to long-term girlfriend Charlene, played by Kylie Minogue, set Donovan and ratings records in 1987. But Jason, now 46, quit the soap two years later and went on to have a successful pop and stage career.

Darius starred as Gary Samuels in Home and Away and, in 2013, returned to Neighbours as Paul Robinson's shady associate Marty. Sadly, Darius died earlier this month from cancer, aged 54.

NICK TILSLEY Coronation Street

Warren Jackson played Gail and Brian's son, Nick since he was 14 days old but was replaced in 1997 after 15 years.

Producers, who wanted raunchier storylines, cast heart-throb Adam Rickitt, who was Nick until 1999.

Adam left to pursue what turned out to be a brief musical career, before returning for two years in 2002.

Adam, 40, now plays Kyle Kelly in soap Hollyoaks.

Ex-Footballers' Wives star Ben Price, 47, took over the role of Nick in 2009.

PEGGY EastEnders

Actress Jo Warne played the Walford matriarch for 10 episodes, between April and July 1991.

Jo But three years later the legendary Barbara Windsor stepped into the role and turned her into a soap icon. Babs left in 2016, when cancerstricken Peggy took her own life.


Victoria Sugden, the youngest child of local legend Jack and his second wife Sarah, came along in 1994.

Until she was two, she was played by Jessica Heywood.

Hannah Midgley took over in 1996 but the current Vic, Isabel Hodgins, 25, has played her the longest, having taken over in 2006.


Devon Anderson joined the soap as bad-boy Sonny in 2006 but left under a cloud in 2007.

Aaron Fontaine took over in 2014 when the character was reintroduced to Hollyoaks with very different characteristics.

Sonny had become a policeman and was now a detective sergeant, following in the footsteps of his late brother, Calvin. But Sonny was killed off in an explosion on a train at the end of that year.

Since then, Fontaine has starred in Holby City and Doctors.


Nancy Drew star Pamela Sue Martin landed the role of Fallon Carrington, Blake's fiery daughter, in 1981.

From left, original actress She left in 1984 having allegedly become bored with the role and Fallon was "killed off" in a plane crash.

But the following year, British actress Emma Samms turned up as an amnesiac Fallon, who was then spun off into The Colbys before returning to Dynasty in 1987.

In 2017, US actress Elizabeth Gilles took on the role of Fallon in a Dynasty reboot.

PETER BARLOW Coronation Street

It's hard to imagine anyone other than Chris Gascoyne as the brooding Barlow but since the character's birth in 1965 many actors have been cast in the role.

Baby John Heannau, John Heannau played baby Peter until he was five, with Chris Dormer briefly taking over in 1970 for a year. After Peter's mum Valerie died in 1971, Ken sent his son to live with his in-laws.

Mark Duncan was Peter in 1971 then Linus Roache in 1975. Joseph McKenna took the part in 1977 and David Lonsdale in 1986. Gascoyne arrived in 2000 and has been Peter ever since.


Jenna was originally an occasional character - Bobby Ewing's first true love, who ditched him at the altar to marry an Italian Count.

Morgan Fairchild played her in one episode in 1978 and Francine Tacker took over for two episodes in 1980.

But in 1983 bosses wanted to make the character more central to the series and Priscilla Presley, above, took on the role for five years.

Before her debut, she said: "Jenna is her own woman. She's self-reliant, she has lived in Europe and has a child. Just like me. Except she's a bit more sophisticated."


Donna Reed

Barbara Bel Geddes

Kate Ford

Christabel Finch

Janet & Daphne

Donovan and Perkins

Warren, Adam and Ben aka Nick

From left, original actress Pamela, 'amnesiac' Emma and rebooter Elizabeth

Baby John Heannau, Linus, Joseph McKenna and Chris Gascoyne

Morgan and Francine
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2019
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