90s soap stars: from Adam Rickitt to Todd Carty — where are they now?

90s soap stars artwork
90s soap stars — what happened to these famous faces after they waved goodbye to Soapland? (Image credit: Future)

EastEnders is giving us serious 90s nostalgia with the return of Cindy Beale. The legendary character, played by Michelle Collins, has been brought back to cause drama in Walford 25 years after she was killed off and fans couldn't be more excited. 

Cindy's epic return has made us think about other soap icons of that decade — from Coronation Street's Curly Watts and Emmerdale's Dave Glover to EastEnders' Tiffany Mitchell and Joe Wicks.

The actors who played these characters were seriously hot property back in the 90s, but what happened to their careers after they said farewell to Soapland? And where are they now?

Let us fill you in on everything you need to know...

90s soap stars — where are they now? 

Adam Rickitt

Adam Rickitt as Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street

Adam Rickitt as Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street. (Image credit: ITV)

Adam Rickitt was catapulted to fame in 1997 when he took over the role of Coronation Street's Nick Tilsley. With his rippling abs and blonde curtains, he quickly caught the attention of adoring fans.

Adam quit the cobbles after two years and enjoyed a brief career as a pop star — most millennials will remember his cheesy, but undeniably catchy, debut single, 'I Breathe Again'. 

He returned to Corrie in 2003 and made TV history when his character was involved in the soaps' first gay kiss with Todd Grimshaw.

After leaving Weatherfield for good, Adam spent three years playing Kieran Mitchell in New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street. In 2017, he bagged the part of Kyle Kelly in Hollyoaks, which he played until June 2020 when his character tragically took his own life.

Adam Rickitt on the red carpet

Adam Rickitt now.  (Image credit: Getty)

Adam's also dipped his toe into the world of politics, and in 2005 was approved as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party, even appearing on BBC's Question Time.

Away from public life, Adam has been married to ITV presenter Katy Fawcett since 2014, and the couple are proud owners of the craft beer bottle shop Dexter and Jones in Knutsford.

Martine McCutcheon

Martine McCutcheon as Tiffany Butcher in EastEnders

Martine McCutcheon as Tiffany Butcher in EastEnders.  (Image credit: BBC)

Back in the late '90s, Martine McCutcheon was the darling of Albert Square. When she landed the role of EastEnders' Tiffany Raymond in 1994 it was only meant to be for a few episodes, but fans quickly fell for the bubbly barmaid.

Martine announced she was quitting after four years, but was devastated to learn that the show's bosses were killing her character off. A whopping 22 million viewers tuned in to see Tiff's final episode on New Year's Eve 1998.

A successful career as a solo artist followed. Martine's debut single 'Perfect Moment' soared straight to number one and her album You, Me & Us went platinum.

Martine McCutcheon on the red carpet

Martine McCutcheon now.  (Image credit: Getty)

She won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. And, of course, who could forget her role as tea-lady Natalie in the 2003 smash hit movie Love Actually.

As well as continuing to act, Martine's worked as a TV judge, author, model, Loose Women panelist and in 2021 she competed in The Masked Singer UK season 2 as Swan.

She tied the knot with singer Jack McManus in September 2012, and the couple are parents to an eight-year-old son, Rafferty.

Ian Kelsey

Ian Kelsey as Dave Glover in Emmerdale

Ian Kelsey as Dave Glover in Emmerdale. (Image credit: ITV)

Ian Kelsey was the dish of the Dales back in the day and played farmhand Dave Glover from 1994 to 1997.

It wasn't long before Dave caught the eye of Kim Tate and the pair embarked on a steamy affair. But their days of rolling around in the hay ended when Dave perished in a fire at Home Farm.

Ian has had roles in several dramas including Casualty, Down to Earth, Blue Murder and Doctors. And most recently he played the part of con artist Vinny Ashford in Coronation Street.

Ian Kelsey on the red carpet

Ian Kelsey now. (Image credit: Getty)

Despite being killed off, dad-of-two Ian hopes Emmerdale will invite him back. Speaking to Inside Soap last year he said:  “I suppose what needs to happen is Dave Glover's twin brother needs to come back. He'd have a different walk but he'd look quite like Dave. I'd come back into the show and sweep Kim off her feet — can we make that happen?" 

Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls as Joe Wicks in EastEnders

Paul Nicholls as Joe Wicks in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC)

Paul Nicholls, real name Gerard Paul Greenhalgh, made his name in kids' TV shows such as Children's Ward and The Biz. But it was his arrival on EastEnders in 1996 that cemented his heartthrob status. 

Paul played Joe Wicks, a young lad living with schizophrenia, but it wasn't just his performance that impressed viewers. Paul was twice voted TV's sexiest actor and became a poster boy in school lockers up and down the country.

The actor quit the BBC soap in 1998 and went on to land roles in shows such as Holby City, Waterloo Road and Law and Order: UK.

Paul Nicholls wearing a white shirt against a white curtain

Paul Nicholls now.  (Image credit: Getty)

His most recent acting gig was playing the part of Raymond in the UK touring production of Rain Man.

Sadly Paul's experienced a series of terrifying health issues. In 2016 he suffered a cancer scare after doctors discovered a benign tumour in his throat, and has also been just hours from death after being trapped in a Thai rock pool. 

Thankfully he lived to tell the tale.

Angela Griffin

Angela Griffin as Fiona Middleton on Coronation Street

Angela Griffin as Fiona Middleton on Coronation Street. (Image credit: ITV)

Angela Griffin is a familiar face on British TV, but Corrie fans will best know her for playing hairdresser Fiona Middleton.

The character became a huge fan favourite and was Angela's breakout role. Arriving in 1992, Fiona stayed in Weatherfield for the next six years and set up her own salon on the Street.

She had a long on-off relationship with Steve McDonald and gave birth to a son, Morgan with policeman Alan McKenna. She later became pregnant by Steve, but didn't tell him about the baby.

Angela chose to leave the show in 1998 to pursue other acting roles and has rarely been off our screens since.

Angela Griffin with her hair up, smiling at the camera.

Angela Griffin now.  (Image credit: Getty)

She was an original cast member of Holby City, starred as DS Lizzie Maddox in ITV detective drama Lewis, and most recently reprised her role as headmistress Kim Campbell in Waterloo Road season 12.

In 2019, she appeared in Corrie via Skype to tell her daughter Emma Brooker that Steve was her father.

Angela is also a radio presenter and has hosted BBC Radio 2's Unwinds since August 2021. She married her actor husband Jason Gilligan in 2006, and they have two daughters Tallulah and Melissa.

Jack Ryder

Jack Ryder as Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders

Jack Ryder as Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC)

Jack Ryder is still best known for his role as mechanic Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders. Another 90s pin-up, Jack was dubbed a 'mini David Beckham'.

He stayed around in Walford for four years until his character was tragically run over by Martin Fowler and succumbed to his injuries on Christmas Day 2002.

As well as taking on various acting roles in the 20 years since his departure from EastEnders, Jack has also established himself as a film and theatre director.

Jack Ryder head shot sitting on an orange sofa

Jack Ryder now.  (Image credit: Shutterstock)

His marriage to Hear'Say singer-turned-actress Kym Marsh ended after six years, but Jack has since found happiness with a new partner. And in 2021 he became a dad for the first time, welcoming a baby daughter.

The 41-year-old now divides his time between London and France and works as an acting coach, offering tricks of the trade via his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Kevin Kennedy

Kevin Kennedy as Curly Watts in Coronation Street

Kevin Kennedy as Curly Watts in Coronation Street. (Image credit: ITV)

Corrie legend Kevin Kennedy spent 20 years playing the role of stargazer Norman 'Curly' Watts.

The iconic character joined the show in 1983 as a young paperboy and went on to become the manager of the Weatherfield branches of Bettabuy, Firman's Freezers and Freshco. 

He was also famously married to barmaid Raquel Wolstenhulme (played by Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire). 

In 2003 Corrie bosses made the decision to axe Curly and he bowed out in September of that year.

Kevin now lives in Brighton with his family and has continued to work as a TV and theatre actor. He played the part of aging hippie 'Pop' in several touring productions of We Will Rock You and most recently starred in the musical Rock of Ages.

It's been two decades since Curly left the cobbles, but there isn't a year that goes by without rumors of a potential comeback.

Kevin doesn't mind the speculation though.

In a recent chat with Manchester Evening News he said: "I find it very humbling that people still remember Curly. I would love to go back because I'm very fond of it. Coronation Street is a storyteller, I'm a storyteller, if there's a great Curly story that comes up it would be fun."

Todd Carty

Todd Carty as Mark Fowler in EastEnders

Todd Carty as Mark Fowler in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC)

Todd Carty took over the role of EastEnders' Mark Fowler in 1990, but was already known to millions for playing schoolboy Tucker Jenkins in children's drama Grange Hill. 

Mark was a pivotal figure in Albert Square and broke boundaries by becoming the first mainstream soap character to be diagnosed as HIV-positive.

In July 2002, it was announced Todd was leaving EastEnders by mutual agreement with the producers. Mark rode out of Walford on his motorbike in February 2002 and subsequently died off-screen in 2004.

Todd Carty at a press event wearing a dark suit and shirt

Todd Carty now.  (Image credit: Getty)

Post-soap, Todd played villainous PC Gabriel Kent in The Bill, guest-starred in Heartbeat, Holby City and Doctors and also reprised his role in Grange Hill. He's been a regular in panto, and then there was his unforgettable performance as a contestant on ITV's Dancing on Ice. 

Currently, Todd is part of an all-star cast in the touring production of the West End show Mousetrap as it celebrates 70 years on stage. The actor is playing the role of Major Metcalfe, alongside former Casualty actress Cathy Shipton.

Jacqueline Pirie

Jacqueline Pirie as Tina Dingle in Emmerdale

Jacqueline Pirie as Tina Dingle in Emmerdale. (Image credit: ITV)

Scottish-born Jacqueline Pirie brought drama to the village as Tina Dingle, the youngest child of Zak and Nellie.

Tina only stayed in Emmerdale for two years, but more than made her mark. Her most famous storyline came in 1995 when she faked being pregnant by Luke McAllister to get revenge for the death of her brother, Ben. 

She nearly became the lady of the manor after getting involved with Frank Tate, but decided to ditch him — and the Dales.

Jacqueline went on to play another soap vixen and joined the cast of Coronation Street as factory machinist Linda Sykes in 1998.

Linda also had a penchant for sugar daddies and wed boss Mike Baldwin, but had a forbidden affair with his son Paul.

After leaving Corrie in 2001, Jacqueline became a drama teacher and has been running her own performing arts academy for nearly 20 years.

Now living in Victoria, Canada, Jacqueline is also a published author and has written a series of highly acclaimed thrillers. Her third book, Silent Sisters is currently in the works.

Shaun Williamson

Shaun Williamson as Barry Evans in EastEnders

Shaun Williamson as Barry Evans in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC)

Shaun Williamson is widely known for his portrayal of hapless Barry Evans from EastEnders.

Barry arrived in the Square in 1994 and lurched from one disaster to the next. A gullible fool to the end, his fate was sealed when he married gold-digging Janine Butcher. She was in it for the money and ended up shoving poor Barry off a cliff to his death in 2004.

Shaun's been busy since EastEnders — he showcased his singing talents in Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes and Comic Relief does Fame Academy and competed in Celebrity Big Brother.

He also starred as a satirical version of himself 'Barry off EastEnders' in the Ricky Gervais's sitcom Extras.

Shaun Williamson at a press event wearing a suit and bow tie

Shaun Williamson now.  (Image credit: Getty)

Shaun's also a rather nifty quizzer. He spent a year competing in the UK Quiz Grand Prix as research for his book A Matter Of Facts. During this time he became a Top 50 ranked in the UK, and appeared on ITV's Beat The Chasers, scooping an impressive £120,000 for charity.

Away from the cameras dad of three Shaun lives with his wife Adele, who he married in 2018.

Laura Morgan
Freelance writer

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.