From Dot Cotton to Holly Valance, Kylie and Jason to Ant and Dec - the soap stars turned pop stars

EastEnders' June Brown has provided vocals for a new single (yes, really) but what of the long line of soap stars who tried their hand at chart success?

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From Dot Cotton to Holly Valance, Kylie and Jason to Ant and Dec - the soap stars turned pop stars
Written By
Susanna Lazarus

EastEnders legend June Brown may be on a six-month sabbatical from the soap, but she has no intention of slowing down. The 85-year-old recently turned her hand to music and recorded vocals for upcoming track Soho Heroes by her godson, Tim Arnold.

Arnold records under the name The Soho Hobo and is currently dating June’s Enders co-star Jessie Wallace. His new track is described as “somewhere between Blur and the Divine Comedy” and fans of the much-loved Dot Cotton can sample Brown's musical talents following its release on July 23.

June is treading a well-worn path of soap stars embarking upon music careers: some have achieved international stardom; others have rightly ended up in the bargain bin. But they are bonded by a love of cheesy pop and frequently showcase some terrible dance moves. Do you remember…

Anita Dobson – Anyone Can Fall in Love

Anita’s musical career was something of a one-hit wonder, but her charming ditty, Anyone Can Fall in Love, sung to the infamous EastEnders theme tune climbed to Number 4 in the UK charts back in 1986. Produced by hubby (and rock superstar) Brian May – bet that helped a bit – the well-known melody was supported by lyrics including “stay right here in one square forever”. What a shame Angie Watts didn’t take her own advice…


Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan - Especially for You

Kylie and Jason - aka Scott and Charlene, the power couple of 1980s Neighbours - both went on to achieve worldwide success in their own right, but who can resist another listen of their cheesy pop collaboration, Especially for You. Released back in 1988, the track topped the UK charts with a video featuring the crooning off- and on-screen lovers in matching high-waisted trousers, gazing into one another’s eyes as they belt out a string of pop-tastic lyrics. What’s not to love?


Martine McCutcheon – Perfect Moment 

Martine McCutcheon’s perfect pop moment came back in 1999 with the release of her first (and last) number one single. Perfect Moment – a slushy pop ballad – was followed up by two top ten hits and a double platinum album, You, Me and Us. But sadly for McCutcheon, who once roamed Albert Square as Tiffany Mitchell, the pop superstardom that once beckoned never fully materialised. Following poor sales, her recording contract was cancelled and she is now more likely to grace TV screens flogging probiotic yoghurts or fitness DVDs.


Adam Rickitt – I Breathe Again

You’re a soap star hoping to realise your life-long dream of chart success but you’ve been landed with a dodgy tune – what do you do? In Adam Rickitt’s case: take your clothes off. The Corrie heartthrob wore his birthday suit and perched in a glass box to sing I Breathe Again – a formula that clearly worked as it peaked at number five in the charts. Sadly - but unsurprisingly - his two follow up singles tanked and when his album dropped out of the charts after just one week, his record company duly dropped him and Rickitt skulked back to play Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street.


Holly Valance – Kiss Kiss

Holly Valance copied Adam’s tried-and-tested naked formula, relying on a couple of well-positioned light beams to protect her modesty in the x-rated video for 2002 hit Kiss Kiss. Valance transformed from clean-cut schoolgirl Flick Scully in Neighbours to a sizzling pop diva as she cavorted around in skimpy clothing surrounded by a posse of buffed-up male dancers. For a while Holly looked set to sustain her success, with notable hits Down Boy and Naughty Girl, but interest in her second album never materialised and she soon returned to her first love, acting.


PJ and Duncan – Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble

Although known to most as Britain’s favourite presenting double act, pint-sized Ant and Dec got their first taste of fame back in 1989 as best friends PJ and Duncan in children’s soap Byker Grove. After leaving TV, a bond on and off-screen led to a joint pop career –  a comparative success that spawned 16 singles and three studio albums. Their BRIT-nominated hit Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble peaked at number nine in the UK charts and featured a brightly-attired Ant and floppy-haired Dec bopping along to their hip-hop beats. There are simply no words to do justice to the choreography… 

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