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EastEnders' Then and Now! How much have the characters changed?

Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp)
Local hardman Grant Mitchell burst onto our screens back in 1990. Who can forget #Sharongate, when Grant discovered his wife was romping with his brother Phil? Grant's another favourite that recently returned to our screens - but for how long? (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Before and after: we take a trip down memory lane to see how EastEnders stars looked when they first stepped foot in the Square... and how they look now!

Have the years been kind to your favourite EastEnders stars? From Dot Cotton to Dean(o) Wicks, we take a trip down memory lane to see how much they've changed!

 

Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt)

Ian Beale is the longest-serving character in EastEnders - and a much loved one, too. Adam Woodyatt started playing hapless Ian in 1985 and celebrated his 3000th episode in May 2016. (Image credit: REX/Shutterstock/BBC)

Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt)

Ian Beale is the longest-serving character in EastEnders - and a much loved one, too. Adam Woodyatt started playing hapless Ian in 1985 and celebrated his 3000th episode in May 2016.

Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth)

Gillian originally played the EastEnders matriarch from 1985 - 2000, taking on a whole host of dramatic storylines. After being presumed dead, she made a shock return during the live episode in 2015! (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth)

Gillian originally played the EastEnders matriarch from 1985 - 2000, taking on a whole host of dramatic storylines. After being presumed dead, she made a shock return during the live episode in 2015!

Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp)

Local hardman Grant Mitchell burst onto our screens back in 1990. Who can forget #Sharongate, when Grant discovered his wife was romping with his brother Phil? Grant's another favourite that recently returned to our screens - but for how long? (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp)

Local hardman Grant Mitchell burst onto our screens back in 1990. Who can forget #Sharongate, when Grant discovered his wife was romping with his brother Phil? Grant's another favourite that recently returned to our screens - but for how long?

Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp)

Local hardman Grant Mitchell burst onto our screens back in 1990. Who can forget #Sharongate, when Grant discovered his wife was romping with his brother Phil? Grant's another favourite that recently returned to our screens - but for how long? (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp)

Local hardman Grant Mitchell burst onto our screens back in 1990. Who can forget #Sharongate, when Grant discovered his wife was romping with his brother Phil? Grant's another favourite that recently returned to our screens - but for how long?

Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa)

Jacqueline Jossa took over from Madeline Duggan for the role of Lauren Branning in 2010. Major storylines included a school-girl romance with Peter Beale, a tempestuous relationship with his sister Lucy, and alcoholism; all while being caught between her warring parents Max and Tanya. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa)

Jacqueline Jossa took over from Madeline Duggan for the role of Lauren Branning in 2010. Major storylines included a school-girl romance with Peter Beale, a tempestuous relationship with his sister Lucy, and alcoholism; all while being caught between her warring parents Max and Tanya.

Dorothy 'Dot' Branning (June Brown)

Ah, Dot Cotton Branning - the ultimate matriarch of the EastEnders family. Wringing out residents' knickers since 1985, Dot is probably the Square's most beloved character. Long may she reign! (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Dorothy 'Dot' Branning (June Brown)

Ah, Dot Cotton Branning - the ultimate matriarch of the EastEnders family. Wringing out residents' knickers since 1985, Dot is probably the Square's most beloved character. Long may she reign!

Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace)

EastEnders will never be the same without feisty minx Kat Slater/Moon. Since she burst onto our screens in 2000, Kat has been involved in some of the Square's most controversial storylines. We said farewell to Kat this year, but we can't wait for her and Alfie to return in spin-off Redwater in 2017. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace)

EastEnders will never be the same without feisty minx Kat Slater/Moon. Since she burst onto our screens in 2000, Kat has been involved in some of the Square's most controversial storylines. We said farewell to Kat this year, but we can't wait for her and Alfie to return in spin-off Redwater in 2017.

Alfie Moon (Shane Ritchie)

If Kat is Queen Victoria, Alfie is Prince Albert. The much-loved couple make their return next year. Alfie hasn't changed much, has he?! (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Alfie Moon (Shane Ritchie)

If Kat is Queen Victoria, Alfie is Prince Albert. The much-loved couple make their return next year. Alfie hasn't changed much, has he?!

Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner)

Since 2004, Stacey Slater/Branning/Fowler has been central to many of EastEnders' most shocking stories. She's battled drug abuse, postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder, had numerous affairs, and murdered her rapist Archie Mitchell. Lacey Turner is one of the soap's most decorated actresses, winning countless awards for her portrayal. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner)

Since 2004, Stacey Slater/Branning/Fowler has been central to many of EastEnders' most shocking stories. She's battled drug abuse, postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder, had numerous affairs, and murdered her rapist Archie Mitchell. Lacey Turner is one of the soap's most decorated actresses, winning countless awards for her portrayal.

Jane Beale (Laurie Brett)

Jane Beale hasn't half suffered over the years. As if being married to Ian Beale wasn't enough, she's had to cope with being shot by one of her stepsons and being brutally attacked by another. Laurie's been part of the EastEnders family since 2004. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Jane Beale (Laurie Brett)

Jane Beale hasn't half suffered over the years. As if being married to Ian Beale wasn't enough, she's had to cope with being shot by one of her stepsons and being brutally attacked by another. Laurie's been part of the EastEnders family since 2004.

Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald)

Look at little Abi Branning! The youngest daughter of Max and Tanya, Abi and the Brannings joined in 2006. She might be one of the youngest characters, but she's packed some drama into her teenage years. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald)

Look at little Abi Branning! The youngest daughter of Max and Tanya, Abi and the Brannings joined in 2006. She might be one of the youngest characters, but she's packed some drama into her teenage years.

Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo)

Dean(o) Wicks only appeared on our screens for a couple of years the first time around: from 2006 to 2008. He wasn't particularly friendly back then, but nobody imagined he would sexually assault his sister-in-law Linda Carter om his return in 2014. Matt Di Angelo's character is the one we all love to hate. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo)

Dean(o) Wicks only appeared on our screens for a couple of years the first time around: from 2006 to 2008. He wasn't particularly friendly back then, but nobody imagined he would sexually assault his sister-in-law Linda Carter om his return in 2014. Matt Di Angelo's character is the one we all love to hate.

Mo Harris (Laila Morse)

Who doesn't love Maureen 'Big Mo' Harris? She's been providing Albert Square lols since 2000, forever trying to offload knock-off gear to residents. After 16 years it doesn't look like Mo's set to go straight anytime soon, but her love for her family and hapless humour keeps her high on our favourites list. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Mo Harris (Laila Morse)

Who doesn't love Maureen 'Big Mo' Harris? She's been providing Albert Square lols since 2000, forever trying to offload knock-off gear to residents. After 16 years it doesn't look like Mo's set to go straight anytime soon, but her love for her family and hapless humour keeps her high on our favourites list.

Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden)

Is there a character that says 'EastEnders' more than Phil Mitchell? He's been on our screens since 1990 and is one of the soap's most infamous characters. Steve McFadden won the Outstanding Achievement Award for his portrayal of Phil at the British Soap Awards this year. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden)

Is there a character that says 'EastEnders' more than Phil Mitchell? He's been on our screens since 1990 and is one of the soap's most infamous characters. Steve McFadden won the Outstanding Achievement Award for his portrayal of Phil at the British Soap Awards this year.

Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack)

Samantha Womack as Ronnie Mitchell has been on and off our screens since 2007. The femme fatale of the Mitchell clan, Ronnie's got up to allsorts, from murder to baby-swapping. Rumour has it she might get her comeuppance soon… (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack)

Samantha Womack as Ronnie Mitchell has been on and off our screens since 2007. The femme fatale of the Mitchell clan, Ronnie's got up to allsorts, from murder to baby-swapping. Rumour has it she might get her comeuppance soon…

Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean)

Sharon Watts/Rickman/Mitchell is one of the most iconic characters in the soap, played by Letitia Dean - appearing in the first episode in 1985. (Image credit: BBC/REX/Shutterstock)

Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean)

Sharon Watts/Rickman/Mitchell is one of the most iconic characters in the soap, played by Letitia Dean - appearing in the first episode in 1985.

Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy)

Look at cheeky little Natalie Cassidy here! The actress became a household name when she joined EastEnders in 1993. The trumpet-playing youngster blossomed into the character we know and love today. (Image credit: REX/Shutterstock/BBC)

Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy)

Look at cheeky little Natalie Cassidy here! The actress became a household name when she joined EastEnders in 1993. The trumpet-playing youngster blossomed into the character we know and love today.