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Mel Owen is a major protagonist of the BBC British soap opera EastEnders. She started out as one of the show's central protagonists from 1998 to 2002. Then in her second stint, she became an anti-hero from January 2018 to November 2019 when she was ultimately killed-off in the latter.
She was a central character in 1998 and went on to serve as one of the main protagonists in 1999-2002. She returned as a anti-hero in 2018 and anti-hero turned major antagonist in 2019.
She was portrayed by actress Tamzin Outhwaite.
Mel Healy first came to Albert Square in Walford, a fictional borough within East London, from October 1998. She settled in the square as 1999 emerged and developed close interactions with both gangster Steve Owen and local resident Lisa Shaw, the former of whom she had a relationship with and the latter of whom she became best friends with overtime.
As time went on, Mel began working for businessman Ian Beale and they became engaged; Ian hoped to move on from the ordeal he suffered from his late first wife, Cindy, that had occured long before Mel had arrived on the square. By then, Mel had briefly split up with Steve after he killed his ex-girlfriend Saskia Duncan and framed his employee Matthew Rose for the crime. Mel and Ian were set to get married at the 1999 Millenium Celebrations. But when Mel started having doubts, however, Ian tricked her into believing that his young daughter Lucy is dying of cancer in order to emotionally force Mel to agree into marrying him and become a mother figure for Lucy and her brothers Steven and Peter respectively. They eventually got married, but it lasted only for hours when Mel discovered that Ian had lied about Lucy dying of cancer and broke up with him as the clock struck midnight.
By 2000, Mel had begun working at The Queen Victoria public house for Lisa's criminal boyfriend Phil Mitchell and his mother Peggy. That same year she began dating fellow hardman Dan Sullivan. But in the end they broke up after Mel learns from Lisa that Dan had grassed Phil to the police for a motor scam and manipulatively played the hero in getting them out of it. After Phil cons Dan from his ownership of the pub, Dan realizes that Mel indirectly caused the events of his downfall and confronts her. He threatens Mel when Steve intervenes and threatens to kill him. Afterwards, Mel reconciles with Steve and the two begin planning their wedding.
On Christmas 2000, however, Mel has a one-night stand with Phil as his relationship with Lisa falls apart due to his behavior. Mel calls Phil out for being out of control and accuses him of becoming just as bad as his brother Grant. Earlier on Mel sorted out her differences with Ian after he goes financially bankrupt and Phil refuses to help him out, which shocks Mel since Phil is Ian's stepfather who married Ian's mother Kathy not long ago. Around the same time, Mel's friendship with Lisa gets partly strained because of Phil and this in turn causes Lisa's future husband Mark Fowler to come to their defense against Phil.
On the day of her wedding, Steve finds out about Mel's one-night stand with Phil. They get married regardless, but later on Phil is shot by an unknown assailant and Mel finds herself coming to believe that one of the people she knew did it, narrowing it down to Steve, Dan, Ian, and Mark. However, it is soon revealed that Lisa was the one who shot Phil, despite his godson Jamie coming to believe that Steve is the culprit. In the aftermath, though, Phil frames Dan for shooting him and plans to incriminate Steve as the fall guy as well. In the build-up to Dan's trial, Mel helps Steve co-manage his nightclub the E20 and at one point defends Lisa when she gets tormented by Mark's nemesis Nick Cotton. In July 2001, Mel learns that Steve's estranged mother Barbara has died. She notices his callousness and learns that Barbara had mistreated Steve and his sister, Jackie, in the past.
A few days later, Dan is found not guilty for shooting Phil and sets out to get his ultimate revenge against both Phil and Steve for conspiring against him. Dan learns that Mel, being Steve's husband and having had a one-night stand with Phil, is the source to his goal and kidnaps her. Mel finds herself held ransom for three days, during which Dan reveals to her that Steve cheated on her with a woman named Karen; had brought The Vic being her back and also sold the E20 without her consent as well. Dan gets his £200,000 ransom money and invites Mel to come with him to Spain, but she refuses and Dan flees with the money on his own. Mel then returns to the square and confronts Steve for all his lies, also coming to believe that Steve had shot Phil on the night of her second wedding. Mel, having been given 1/4 of Dan's ransom money by him, breaks up with Steve and leaves the square to recoup from her ordeal.
Mel soon returned in November 2001, not long after Lisa had given birth to her and Phil's daughter Louise. She originally refuses to reconcile with Steve and begins dating entrepreneur Nathan Williams, but in the end Steve manages to woo Mel back into a reconciliation. The couple later plan to flee the square in 2002 as Steve's feud with Phil escalates. However, Steve is killed in a car crash and vehicle explosion during a climatic high-speed vehicle chase with Phil. Upon learning of her husband's death, Mel is devastated and she blames Phil for Steve's death. After his funeral, though, Mel learns that Steve slept with Phil's sister Sam to get revenge on Phil for their one-night stand. She then learns that Steve sold the E20 to his business partner, Beppe Di Marco, rather than her on the day he did. Later on at Lisa and Mel's wedding, Mel is arrested after it transpires that Steve has incriminated her for his criminal activities that include drug trafficking and money laundering.
In 2002, Mel plans to leave Walford after Phil uses his lawyer Marcus Christie to bail her out of jail for £30,000. She later confines to Lisa in her belief that Steve had shot Phil, only for Lisa to confess to being the one who shot Phil all along. Afterwards, Mel leaves the square for good.
Years later in 2018, Mel reappears with her and Steve's son Hunter not long after Phil had done a heist with his partner-in-crime Aidan Maguire. It turns out that Mel is acquainted with Aidan's ex-wife Ciara Maguire due to Hunter living with her. Mel also reunites with Phil's wife Sharon Watts and his cousin Billy along with Ian. At one point, she comforts Ian after learning that Lucy was killed by her youngest brother Bobby and that Steven had died a year ago thanks to his business rival Max Branning.
As time goes on, Mel is forced to tell Hunter the truth about his father after Ciara tells him about Steve. Thereafter she buys the nightclub to reopen it as the E20 in Steve's honor. Months later, it transpires that Mel is engaged to Ciara's brother Ray Kelly. They plan to get married in the end of the year when Mel discovers that Ray is a corrupt policeman and bigamist who lied to her and Hunter all along. Ray later abducts Mel and Hunter before attempting to kill them, but Hunter kills Ray by shooting him dead to save Mel. Following Ray's death, Mel helps cover-up the crime to protect her son. But Hunter later confesses at the bequest of Max's brother Jack, whom Mel had started romancing with at this point.
Later on, Hunter escapes prison and instigates a siege on the day Phil's future-son-in-law Callum Highway has a failed wedding with his fiance Whitney Dean. In the siege that follows Mel attempts to comfort Hunter to no avail, as he takes Louise hostage before shooting her brother Ben and then her boyfriend Keanu Taylor for trying to stop him. Mel could then watch in horror as Hunter is killed by a police marksman. Afterwards, she swears revenge on the Mitchells for disregarding Hunter's death. She begins blackmailing Sharon after learning of her affair with Keanu behind Phil's back, and at one point Sharon is forced to sell her share of the club to businesswoman Ruby Allen.
In November 2019, Mel decides to tell Phil the truth about Sharon's affair with Keanu. But then Sharon follows Mel to try and stop her, which leads to a car chase between them that similarly mirrors Steve's car chase with Phil back in 2002. But then Mel crashes into a vehicle and her car gets caught on fire. Sharon manages to rescue Mel before the car explodes. But then Mel hears Hunter's voice, mistakenly believes that he is alive, and walks back onto the road where an oncoming lorry emerges; Sharon fails to warn Mel in time as the lorry ends up colliding onto Mel, killing her instantly. The square thereafter finds out about Mel's death and her funeral takes place a few weeks later.
- Tamzin Outhwaite (the actress who played Mel Owen) was nominated and had won several awards for her character's performance.
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