EastEnders' Martin Fowler (James Bye) is haunted by the ghost of Christmas past after causing a hit and run car accident on Monday 23rd December, bringing back terrible memories of running over Jamie Mitchell 17 years ago.
Fuelling his descent into the dark side, Martin and partner in crime Tubbs were driving back from a dodgy debt collection job when they accidentally knocked down a pedestrian. The incident leaves the volatile Mr Fowler riddled with guilt as he re-lives one of the darkest chapters of his life, confessing what he's done to ex-wife Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) and unlocking the tragic events of Christmas 2002 for the pair of them. Need a reminder on that?
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Back in the early 2000s, Martin (then played by James Alexandrou) was a teenage tearaway who had thrown himself into a life of petty crime after giving away his and Sonia's baby daughter, named at birth as Chloe (they later got her back and renamed her Bex).
Sonia moved on and had settled down with Phil's dreamy godson Jamie. Shortly before Christmas 2002 he was about to propose but as he departed Walford East tube station clutching an engagement ring, boy racer Martin came careering round the corner en route to a party with pal Spencer Moon (Alfie's little brother) - texting while at the wheel, he lost concentration and ploughed into unsuspecting Jamie…
Martin was mortified and Jamie was rushed to hospital, eventually succumbing to irreversible spleen damage and dying on Christmas Day with a distraught Sonia by his side. A nation wept.
Naughty Mr Fowler was sent to young offenders' for a few months but didn't exactly learn his lesson, continuing his crimewave when he came out until the death of big brother Mark Fowler gave him a reality check and he cleaned up his act.
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Forgiven by Sonia for killing Jamie, the comfort Martin got from his ex after he lost Mark brought the pair closer together and they married in 2004, and set about getting custody of the daughter they gave away the following year.
Jamie still gets a mention now and then as the son Phil wishes he'd had (sorry, Ben), while Martin has opened up to Bex in recent years about how the car accident was the biggest regret of his life as it defined his troubled adolescence and made him question the path he'd taken in life.
Seeing as Martin is spiralling back in to the underworld at the age of 34 thanks to his uneasy alliance with Ben Mitchell, but with far more serious consequences, perhaps this latest motor mishap will put him back on the straight and narrow? Current Martin James Bye told RadioTimes.com there might be echoes of how Jamie's death brought his character closer to Sonia going forward…
"Martin is in a bad place so he needs someone to lean on, and I think with him and Sonia a reunion is always on the cards because of the history they've got. We'll see."
Nothing like mowing down an innocent pedestrian to reignite the old passion, eh?
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