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~ Pauline's furious outbust on her first husband, Arthur, after she discovers his affair with Christine Hewitt; moments before she ends up hitting Arthur on the head with a frying pan in one of the show's most iconic moments of all-time.

Pauline Fowler is a fictional character and central protagonist of the BBC British soap opera EastEnders; she first appeared in the very first episode in February 1985 and serving as one of the show's longest-serving characters until Pauline was eventually axed and killed-off on Christmas 2006.

Since her first appearence, Pauline was a member of the established Beale/Fowler family who was married to Arthur Fowler; they were the parents of sons Mark and Martin along with a daughter named Michelle. Her storylines included a perpetual feud with family friend Den Watts; discovering Arthur's affair with Christine Hewitt; a longstanding friendship with her colleague Dot Cotton; coping with family problems such as Mark's HIV positive trauma and his eventual death, along with both Arthur's wrongful imprisonment and his death as well; a problematic marriage with her second husband Joe Macer; a long-running rivalry with her estranged daughter-in-law Sonia Jackson; and becoming reclusive to the point where all her family and friends turn against her for her growing cynical worldview.

Despite being one of the show's longest-serving protagonists and not an outright villainous character, Pauline has often developed an antagonistic and self-righteous trait to the point where she extends this behaviour onto her children; at times she feels her own judgment is always right and everyone else is wrong. As such, she can often become an anti-hero because of resolve to do things right in her own way and prove others wrong by any means neccesary.

The character was portrayed by the late Wendy Richard.


Pauline Fowler first appeared in the show's very first episode in February 1985; she is a member of the established Beale/Fowler clan led by her mother Lou Beale who live in Albert Square at Walford, a fictional borough in East London. Also part of the family are Pauline's brother Pete Beale, her husband Arthur, their children Mark and Michelle, her nephew Ian Beale, and his mother Kathy Beale. In terms of her lifestyle, Pauline's marriage with Arthur is somewhat complicated and she works at the local laundrette along with her best friend Dot Cotton. Later on, she gives birth to her and Arthur's youngest child - whom they named Martin.

Over her years in the square, Pauline has been coping with personal problems and family affairs. This includes discovering that Michelle got pregnant at the age of 16, and the disclouse of the child's father is kept secret for months and months on end. During this time, Pauline supports Michelle through this matter and also acts as a family friend for Michelle's best friend Sharon Watts. Eventually, she deudces that the father of Michelle's baby is in fact Sharon's adopted father Den Watts. She confronts Den for this discovery and slaps him, thus a long-running feud emerges between them as Pauline would continue to hold a grudge on Den for getting Michelle pregnant. Even still, she comforts Michelle when the latter soon gives birth to her and Den's baby - Vicki.

In 1988, Pauline is distraught when Lou passes away. Thereafter she begins to inherit some of Lou's cranky and hypocritical nature to the point where she becomes just as self-righteous as her own mother at times. As such, Pauline has complex reactions to Arthur's shenanagins and downtrodeen streak. That same year, she comforts Kathy when the latter is raped by her former boss James Willmott-Brown. Then in the 1990s she finds out that Mark has HIV and supports him throughout the occasion. Also she is distraught when Pete dies in a car crash offscreen. In 1995, Pauline is distraught when Michelle decides to emigrate to the United States with Vicki; they part ways and this was the last time Pauline and Michelle would see each other in the square.

During this time, Pauline's long-running marriage with Arthur falls apart when he has an affair with her old friend Christine Hewitt. He eventually admits the truth to Pauline, who reacts hysterically and dramatically; she picks up a frying pan and smacks Arthur with it as he fruitlessly tries to reconcile with her. They eventually reconcile a couple of months later, but Pauline is deveastaed when Arthur dies of a brain hermonage not long after he is exonerated for being wrongfully convicted by his partner-in-crime Willy Roper for embezzlement.

By the 2000s, Pauline is supported by Mark in their efforts to nutrue Martin into a well-behaved boy and not a wayward nusence. In 2000, she and Dot are devastated when their closest friend Ethel Skinner passes away. Months later she is unhappy when Dot's villainous son Nick Cotton, also Mark's sworn enemy, returns to the square from prison and causes trouble again. This culminates in Nick being banished from the square after he attempts to kill Mark, only to end up unintentionally causing the death of his own son Ashley instead. At the same time, she comforts Ian after he suffers financial bankrupcy and is humilated by his stepfather Phil Mitchell. She is also spketical of Phil's ex-girlfriend, Lisa Shaw, when she marries Mark in 2002.

Soon enough, Pauline's relationship with Martin gets into trouble when it is discovered that he got his friend Sonia Jackson pregnant when she was still dating Phil's godson Jamie. This in turn causes Pauline to develop a perpetual distate of Sonia due to her family background. Sonia later gives birth to her and Martin's baby Chloe, whom Pauline threatens to take custody off until the baby is later taken into care. In December 2002, Pauline is devastated when Martin faces prison trouble after he accidentally runs over Jamie; the latter would later sccumb to his injuries and die in hospital on Christmas Day 2002. Then in 2003, Pauline is upset when Mark's HIV declines and he decides to leave the square; they part ways and Pauline soon grieves for her eldest son when he dies in 2004.

In 2003, Pauline is shocked when her granddaughter Vicki comes to the square. Then she meets Sharon's adopted brother Dennis Rickman months later. And later in October 2003, Pauline is unhappy when it turns out that Den is alive after he was presumed dead from a shooting caused by the square's criminal organization known as The Firm - specifically from their gangland boss Jack Dalton. Their feud resurfaces as Pauline continues to resent Den for what happened with Michelle, as well as being closest friends with his long-suffering wife Angie back in the 1980s. She is later relieved to hear that he is dead for good in 2005 after he is murdered by his second wife Chrissie, but continues to support Sharon nontheless. This continues in 2006 when Pauline comforts Sharon over Dennis' murder, organized by crime boss Johnny Allen.

By 2006, Pauline has married again to her old friend Joe Macer. But this doesn't last long when it transpires that Joe has a past offenders record, and she promptly breaks up with him. Pauline's feud with Sonia also reaches breaking point after she marries Martin, and in turn Pauline resolves to destroy their marriage since she feels Sonia is not good enough for Martin. This includes faking an illness to make Martin feel that his mother is more reliable than his wife, but he eventually discovers the deceit and they disown each other; Martin gets one over his mother by revealing to Pauline that Michelle got pregnant and that Phil's brother, Grant Mitchell, is the child's father.

As Christmas 2006 emerges, Pauline becomes increasingly reclusive to the point where she loses her nearest and dearest all over the square. She also clashes with the Mitchell Brothers' mother Peggy Mitchell in terms of her behaviour and slaps her. Later on she plans to leave the square when Sonia confronts her; they argue and Sonia slaps Pauline for insulting her. Pauline later has a change of heart and takes her dog Betty for a walk, but suddenly collapses on the snow; it later turns out that she has died from a brain heromonage when Dot finds her motionless, alerts Martin about this, and he confirms in horror that his mother is dead.

Following her untimely demise, speculations are raised over how Pauline died; the police later conclude that someone had killed her by hitting her on the head with a frying pan. After her funeral, Sonia is implicated as the prime suspect and is arrested. But she is eventually exonerated when Pauline's killer is revealed to actually be Joe, as he was the one who hit Pauline on the head during an on-screen argument between then; Dot discovers this and attempts to alert the authorites before calling her husband Jim Branning to help apprehend Joe, but this instead leads to Joe being killed after he falls out of the window to his death in a scuffle between them.

After Joe's death, Pauline's will reading takes place and Martin earns a significant inheritance. Since then Pauline has been mentioned on countless occasions by her nearest and dearest around her.



  • Wendy Richard (the actress who played Pauline Fowler) was nominated for several awards for her character's acclaimed performance.