It was the cusp of Y2K and all British women wanted to do was avoid the Millennium bug, slip on an asymmetric top and risk goatee rash…
Yes, for the best part of the late nineties and early noughties there was a strange public infatuation. We were head over heels for EastEnders’ Lothario Beppe di Marco – never had accuracy in shaving been so lusted after and never would it be again (god knows, Robert Downey Jr has tried).
While modern day Beppe would have a man bun – one of those gorgeously testosterone-charged mops of hair that inexplicably beguiles the opposing sex – in 1999 it was selective shaving that had us mesmerised.
The fairer sex were daydreaming about splitting a risotto with the Italian stallion despite the fact that he looked like he’d lost a game of magnetic iron filings on his face.
Women nationwide wanted to party down the E20 with Beppe until their Von Dutch hats fell off.
Of course, it was that Millennial aphrodisiac Beppe – real name Michael Greco – and his enamouring jaw foliage that won the Sexiest Male Award at the British Soap Awards in both 1999 and 2000.
However, it was little old us that would award him the ultimate accolade – Sexiest Soap Star EVER – in 2004.
After meeting Beppe in 1998, audiences enjoyed a furious and tumultuous association until producers forced the relationship to come to a fervid end after four glorious years.
The trouble was nobody cared for a Carbonara in Walford regardless of the animal magnetism of the di Marco chin hair (and that raspy, whispering voice) and there was only so much drama that could unfold within the confines of an Italian restaurant. By 2002, the whole di Marco family had ‘moved to Leicester’. And so it was over, and all audiences had left were memories.
But whatever happened to real life Beppe – actor Michael Grecco – who moved not to Leicester but to LA to pursue his acting Stateside? Did that dream ever become a reality?
Well, he did land a minor role in a US western series with Kevin Costner. He also credits acting for helping him become a world class competitive poker player.
Hollywood is still home and, lo and behold, he’s currently gearing up to reprise his role as Beppe for TV mockumentary British Andy.
Ladies, hang on to your knickers, Walford’s come-hither Continental is well and truly back. Well, in cameo form anyway.
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