Steve McFadden — things you didn't know about the 'EastEnders' legend

Steve McFadden posing for photographers.
Steve McFadden has played EastEnders tough guy Phil Mitchell for more than 30 years. (Image credit: PA)

When Steve McFadden first joined EastEnders as tough guy Phil Mitchell he was only supposed to stay for three months. Fast-forward 30 years and he is still at the centre of most Walford dramas... and Albert Square just wouldn't be the same without him.

Over the last three decades Phil has been at the heart of some of the biggest storylines EastEnders has seen, including 'Who shot Phil?' and 'Sharongate' where it was revealed that he was having an affair with his brother's wife, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean)

Most fans of the actor will know that:

  • Steve studied acting at RADA.
  • He has won countless awards for playing Phil.
  • He's a huge Manchester United fan.

But what else do we know about Steve? Here are several things you probably don't know...

1. Steve McFadden has loads of fans, especially students!

Steve McFadden as Phil Mitchell in EastEnders

Steve is a huge hit with university students!

Who do uni students love more? Steve McFadden or the character he plays, Phil Mitchell? We're not actually sure! But the man has a big fan following and has previously been booked for personal appearances at university campuses across the country. Let's face it, if you're a fresher and you get a selfie taken with Steve/Phil during your first week, it's gonna be tough to top that experience!

2. Steve McFadden likes to be beside the seaside

When Steve's not filming EastEnders, it's quite likely you'll find him fishing or sailing down in Falmouth, Cornwall, as he loves being out on the water.

"I first went to Falmouth in 1966, I was fishing in the harbour at Falmouth Bay when I was six," Steve told Cornwall Alive. "I’ve got a little boat down there, a place to stay and loads of friends and family. I get down as often as I can. It’s my second home, if it wasn’t for EastEnders it would be my first choice of residence, but because of the show I have to be in London more."

3. Steve once sang a cover version of Sia's Cheap Thrills on the radio!

What are the chances of seeing Steve appear on The Voice one day? After all, he has performed a cover version of Sia's hit single, Cheap Thrills live on Capital FM radio. We reckon the Aussie songstress should hit Steve up for a duet!

4. Meet the Super Mitchell Bros!

Steve's character Phil is the inspiration behind the genius website that is Utter Philth - a collection of animated memes and gifs dedicated to the EastEnders tough guy.

"About ten years ago I did a few photoshopped film posters with Steve Mcfadden's Phil in, and every now and then would do one just to email to mates for a laugh," explains site creator Douggy Pledger in an interview with Vice. "I had enough together to start off a website, then just got a bit carried away."

We'd be happy watching this Super Mitchell Bros video several times a day. Check out the bit where Phil collides with Dot and she goes, 'Ooh, I say!'.

5. He made his first appearance in EastEnders on 20th February 1990

Steve's first appearance as Phil Mitchell was shown on 20th February 1990. His onscreen brother Grant (played by Ross Kemp) arrived a couple of days later, and it wasn't long before the residents of Albert Square fell for the cheeky charm of the burly brothers, unaware of the havoc the Mitchell brothers would wreck on Walford in the years to come!

"I had this really difficult line. It was 'This place is ripe for the picking' which is an awkward bit of phrasing," he told us once. "I was really nervous. EastEnders started when I was at RADA aged 25 and each day I was coming home and watching it as I was learning to act.

"And then, after two years as a jobbing actor, there I was with all these famous people. I was only supposed to be there for three months with an option to stay three more, but they liked Phil and Grant and that was quickly extended to two years and it’s just rolled on."

6. Steve played a copper in The Bill

Before he was in EastEnders, Steve had guest roles in other telly shows including BBC1's Bergerac and ITV's Minder and The Bill. Plus did you know, Steve has also voiced characters in the popular Grand Theft Auto video games series?

7. Steve is the king of panto

Steve McFadden as Captain Hook

Steve McFadden makes an excellent Captain Hook.

Every year Steve takes a break from EastEnders to appear in panto. "It's different from doing EastEnders," Steve said when he played Captain Hook in Plymouth in 2017.

"It's lovely to have the live audience and it's a completely different skillset, so they're barely comparable. That said I do bring some Phil Mitchell onto the stage, and a bit of Steve and a bit of Hook as well, that's what people get! A bit of fear and a bit of fun."

Steve McFadden's Fact File 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actor....

How old is Steve McFadden?

Steve McFadden's age is 62. He was born on 20th March 1959.

Is Steve McFadden married?

Steve McFadden is not married.

Does Steve McFadden have kids?

Steve McFadden has five children, one son and four daughters.

Where was Steve McFadden born?

Steve McFadden was born in Maida Vale, London.

How tall is Steve McFadden?

Steve McFadden is 5 foot 7 inches tall.

EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on BBC iPlayer now. 

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Picture credits: Main image of Steve McFadden - PA images 

More things you didn't know about EastEnders actors...

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* Linda Henry — things you didn’t know about the ‘EastEnders’ star

* Toby-Alexander Smith - things you didn't know about the EastEnders actor

* Gwen Taylor — things you didn't know about the British actress

* Lacey Turner - things you didn't know about the EastEnders star?

* Maisie Smith – things you didn't know about the EastEnders and Strictly star

Simon Timblick

Simon has long been a fan of soap operas, and especially loves OVER-THE-TOP plots involving evil twins, hair-pulling catfights and natural disasters.

Anyone remember the Sunset Beach earthquake/tidal wave?

Or when Krystle Carrington got locked in the attic and replaced by look-a-like Rita in Dynasty?!

Simon has written for a variety of TV and childrens’ magazines/websites including Inside Soap, Nickelodeon, What’s On TV, Radio Times, Metro, Girl Talk, Disney Girl, Toxic! and Digital Spy.

He has reported LIVE from the red carpet at The British Soap Awards interviewing glammed-up stars from soapland, and hosted a Facebook LIVE session for Metro with Home and Away legend Ray Meagher (Alf "Stone the flamin' crows!" Stewart) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Aussie soap.

Simon is also co-author of The Treasures Of Coronation Street (Carlton Books)

And the writer and director of (very!) low budget fright flick, Midsummer Night's EVIL and the sequel webisodes series, The Hatchet Woods HORROR.