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"She almost asked for it!"
~ Joe Macer's quote to Dot Cotton after she discovers that he killed his former wife and her best friend Pauline Fowler, just moments before Joe himself dies when he falls off a bedroom window to his death.

Joe Macer is a fictional character and recurring antagonist of the BBC British soap opera EastEnders. He started out as a supporting protagonist in 2005 and a central charater in 2006 before becoming the main antagonist in January 2007, more specifically in the "Who killed Pauline Fowler?" storyline when Joe was revealed to be Pauline's accidental killer; they married for a short while until a subsuqent break-up ended with Joe hitting Pauline on the head with a frying pan off-screen, which consequently led to her death.

He was portrayed by Ray Brooks.


Joe Macer first came to Albert Square at Walford, a fictional borough in East London, from August 2005; there he encountered local resident Pauline Fowler at a tap dancing competition at a salsa night hosted by the square's gangland boss Johnny Allen.

When they meet, Joe and Pauline fell in love with each other and the pair soon got married. Joe later tells Pauline that he was formerly widowed after the death of his ex-wife Jools from 1982, thus leaving him estranged from his two daughters Megan and Shelley. As time goes on, Joe bonds with Pauline's son Martin and his wife Sonia Jackson; he also supports Pauline over the loss of her other son, Mark, a year ago and the absence of her daughter Michelle and granddaughter Vicki.

By 2006, Joe supports Pauline when she comforts her friend Sharon Watts over a tragedy - that her adopted brother-turned-husband Dennis Rickman had been murdered by Danny Moon on the orders of Johnny, who had earlier killed fellow crime boss Andy Hunter on the same night when Pauline's sworn enemy Den Watts was murdered by his wife Chrissie. Eventually when Johnny is brought to justice for his crimes thanks to his archenemy Phil Mitchell and his brother Grant, both of whom were formerly Sharon's ex-lovers, the square learns the truth about it; Joe comments that Johnny was a "complete and utter psycopath". As such, Johnny would later die of a heart attack in 2006 on the same night his daughter Ruby cuts all ties with Danny's brother Jake after her boyfriend Sean Slater told her that Jake killed Danny.

As time goes on, Joe's marriage with Pauline quickly collapses when she finds out that Joe had a criminal record in the past; he also feels that Pauline doesn't love him as much as she loved her deceased first spouse Arthur. Furthermore, he believes that Pauline is out of control in her efforts to break up Martin and Sonia's marriage due to feeling that Sonia is not good enough for him. Eventually, Pauline becomes a recluse as the situation worsens and she breaks up her marriage with Joe. The pair later argue when Joe begins insulting Pauline and her family, which results in Pauline attacking Joe with a plate. He leaves afterwards.

On Christmas Night 2006, Pauline is about to leave the square when she changes her mind just as an unknown assailant comes into her house. Later on she takes her dog Betty for a walk, but then suddenly collapses onto the snow and dies. When her death becomes public knowledge the next day, her family is devastated along with her closest friend Dot Cotton. Thereafter Joe learns about this and comments he is "glad that the old witch is dead", but nontheless appears to comfort her dearest ones as her funeral emerges on New Year's Day 2007.

In January 2007, Sonia is implicated as the prime suspect in killing Pauline and she is arrested by the police. That same night Joe visits Dot in a drunken state and they chat. Soon their conversation turns to Pauline, and Dot qucikly learns that Joe knows more about Pauline's death that the circuimstances are letting on. Her suspicions are further aroused when Joe begins badmouthing Pauline before recapping on the last time he saw her - when he hit Pauline on the head with a frying pan during an off-screen argument.

This causes Dot to realize, with Joe's admission to what he did to Pauline and due to the fact that Pauline had died of a brain hermonage, that Joe was the one who killed Pauline. She instantly confronts him and he begs her to keep quiet to no avail. Dot is about to phone the police when Joe stops her from doing so or calling anyone for help. But then Dot's husband, Jim Branning, comes in the room and sees the situation. Jim manages to rescue Dot from Joe, who ultimately collapses out of a window and falls to his death in the ensuing scuffle.

Following his death, Joe is exposed as Pauline's killer and Sonia is exonerated. She and Martin later depart the square with their daughter Rebecca at the start of February 2007. As Joe's funeral occurs off-screen, Dot laments how she is unable to forgive him for killing Pauline and nearly allowing Sonia to get wrongfully imprisoned for this as a result of neglecting responsability for the crime.


  • He made a total of 116 appearences during his time on the show.