EastEnders remembered legacy character Mark Fowler (Todd Carty) once again this week, as his younger brother Martin (James Bye) spoke to family friend Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) ahead of what would have been Mark's 55th birthday.


Mark's story has been revisited before, with Martin previously taking the time to talk fondly of him on the 18th anniversary of his death last year. And the BBC soap dedicated some more sweet scenes to Mark in today's episode (1st February).

As the day began, Sharon noted that Martin had been acting strangely that morning when she spoke to her half-brother, and Martin's best mate, Zack Hudson (James Farrar). But later that day, Sharon realised the significance of the date the following day, and she reached out to Martin.

Back at home, Sharon and Martin showed Zack a photo of Mark in his trademark leather jacket, and Sharon remarked that all the ladies fancied him. When she added that Mark was seen as a "mysterious bad boy" - although he was anything but - Sharon reminded Martin how much she "loves a wrong'un".

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Martin was not keen to hear this about his big brother, but as Zack joined the pair and talk turned to how Mark died all those years ago, Sharon pointed out that if he had got sick 15 or 20 years later, he would still be alive today. With Zack under the impression that Mark had cancer, Sharon informed him that the late Fowler had passed away from AIDS.

Viewers know that Zack himself was recently diagnosed as HIV positive, but is struggling to confide in his loved ones. But when an oblivious Martin remarked that Mark's condition wasn't something people liked to broadcast, Zack's inner shame increased.

But while Zack battles with his demons, fans might be wondering how Mark's journey unfolded on EastEnders. Read on for all you need to know on the beloved character.

What happened to Mark Fowler in EastEnders?

The eldest son of Pauline and Arthur Fowler, Mark returned to Walford after time away in 1990, reformed from his original bad boy ways. This was due to the fact that he had been diagnosed with HIV, forcing him to take responsibility for his health. His parents were shocked by the news, but their reactions were nothing compared to that of the community at the time.

Queen Vic landlady Peggy Mitchell (Dame Barbara Windsor) was disgusted by Mark's status, and publicly shamed him in the pub. The scene formed one of the most memorable EastEnders moments in its history, but thankfully the country has progressed since the 1990s and there is less discrimination surrounding the condition.

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Mark was able to live a healthy life for several years, marrying three times and being a strong support for his family. But sadly in 2003, Mark was informed by a doctor that his body was rejecting the medication he was taking to combat contracting AIDs.

He accepted that his health would soon begin to deteriorate, and decided to head off on the trip of a lifetime on his bike - not wishing to put mum Pauline and brother Martin through the pain of watching him die.

Mark rode away from Albert Square soon after, but in April 2004, Martin received a call telling him that his big brother had passed away in a hospice from AIDs-related non-Hodgkins lymphoma. His family and friends gave him a fitting send-off, and Martin is now the only original member of the Fowler clan still living in Walford.

Despite the upsetting circumstances, Mark's actual exit was one of the most heartwarming in soapland, and the character remains one of the most beloved in EastEnders' history.

Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers, and catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.


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