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Willy Roper is a fictional character and major antagonist of the BBC British soap opera EastEnders.

He appeared as the secondary antagonist from June 1995 to June 1996, during which he served as the main antagonist in the storyline where established character Arthur Fowler is wrongfully imprisoned for embezzlement; with Willy Roper being the actual culprit of the crime and having framed Arthur as the perpetuator.

The character was portrayed by Michael Tudor Barnes.

History

Willy Roper first came to Walford in June 1995 during the funeral of Tom Palmer, a deceased man who had an allotment prior to his death. Soon enough, Willy befriended local resident Arthur Fowler after learning that the latter resides next-door to the allotment that belonged to Tom earlier on.

For the next while, Arthur and Willy became friends as they worked together in an allotment commitee - with Willy going as far as to have Arthur campaigned in being successfully elected as the secretary of the allotment committee. Arthur soon begins raising money for the community and ends up managing to earn £20,000 through all his hard work. However, Willy begins to use this oppotunity to start his own illegitimate business plans upon becoming tempted by Arthur's success enough to exploit this matter.

It soon turns out that Willy has been nursing his sick mother for quite some time now. When he is desperate to settle his financial issues for her treatment, Willy ends up defrauding £20,000 from Arthur's charity account. Thereafter the money is publcibly declared missing and the police are called in to investigate the matter. Upon learning of this, Willy incriminates Arthur as the perpetuator behind the money theft and Arthur is consequently arrested for the crime; Arthur is later sentenced to prison for the crime he didn't commit after suffering a mental breakdown over the prospects of the situation.

Following Arthur's wrongful imprisonment, Willy begins to acquaint himself with Arthur's wife Pauline. They soon begin a relationship and Pauline even considers marrying Willy despite her undying love for Arthur. However, Pauline and Arthur's son Mark soon becomes suspicious of Willy's motives and ends up deducing his financial problems. This causes Mark to question whether Willy was responsible for the crime that Arthur has been framed for. Eventually, Pauline discovers the truth as well after finding counterfeit credit cards that belonged to Willy. She is furious, but at Mark's suggestion resolves to clear Arthur's name by entrapping Willy into admitting his crime.

Later on, Pauline summons Willy for a date at their house. She manages to seduce him with alcohol as well as the false prospects of the two having sex together. When the embezzlement crime is eventually brought up, Willy ultimately confesses that he was the one behind it - not Arthur as his family believe the case to be. He goes on to describe how he incriminated Arthur for the crime, to which Pauline expresses surprise with whilst attempting to avert revealing her knowledge about it. Later on, though, she and Mark report Willy to the police for his confession; this works successfully and Willy is arrested for the crime, thus clearing Arthur's name in the process.

Willy is charged for the embezzlement crime, but is released on bail. Arthur is neverthelss exonerated and is prepared to be released as well. On the day before his release, however, Arthur ends up getting involved in a prison riot - during which he got attacked in the head amid the incident. He survives and is released from prison. A few days later, Arthur decides to confront Willy over his actions; he concludes that getting revenge on Willy is not worth it and leaves him alone to think about his future in prison.

Unforauntely, the prison riot that Arthur was involved in ended up having devastating consequences a few days later; Arthur ends up suffering a brain haemorrhage and is rushed to hospital, where he dies the following day. News of Arthur's death saddens the community, particuarly that of his family, and his funeral is held a few days later. During the ceremony, Willy is seen attending the event out of guilt for what he put Arthur through. When Mark spots him in attendance, he confronts Willy over his actions and punches him in revenge for indirectly causing the events of Arthur's death. A guilt-ridden Willy then leaves the area.

Towards the end of 1996 in November, both Pauline and Mark recieves news about the circuimcstances of Willy's trial; he has been found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison for embezzlement.

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Trivia

  • He made a total of 59 appearences during his time on the show.
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