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British actress.
Born May 12, 1942.

Spoiler alert: the later parts of this entry contain discussion of plots of BBC Television's EastEnders broadcast up to April 4, 2003. Those viewing EastEnders in other countries should check how far behind British television they are, before reading further.

Famous for her huge pendulous earrings and bleached-blonde hairdo, Pam St. Clement is instantly recognisable to millions of British television viewers as Pat in the soap opera EastEnders. In the show since 1986, she has been through numerous storylines and husbands, but even before showing up in Walford she had enjoyed a long career of film and television roles.


Pam was born May 12, 1942 in Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, UK. Thus, like most of the cast of EastEnders, she is not a native East-Ender. She has worked as an actress since the start of the 1970s, and early in her career was sometimes credited as Pamela St. Clement.

Before EastEnders, she had experience in television soap opera, playing Mrs. Eckersley in Emmerdale (then called Emmerdale Farm) in 1979. She also tried science fiction, appearing as Frau Heinitz in one episode of The Tripods (season 2 episode 3), adapted from the John Christopher novels.

She played a newspaper deliverer in an episode of detective show Shoestring, "The Farmer Had a Wife" in 1980, alongside star Trevor Eve and a brief appearance by a very young Daniel Day Lewis. She also appeared as an artists model in a BBC Play For Today called "Not for the Likes of Us", broadcast in 1980, in which it is rumoured she appeared nude (although I have been unable to confirm this).

She had a minor part in women's prison drama Scrubbers in 1983, alongside Amanda York, Kathy Burke, Miriam Margolyes and Robbie Coltrane. Other small roles include The Onedin Line, Doomwatch (both 1972), Van Der Valk (1977), Minder (1980), Private Schultz (1981), and as a Mother Superior in the film of Biggles (1986), aka Biggles: Adventures in Time.

Pam describes herself as bisexual and contributed to "STONEWALL 25: The Making of the Lesbian and Gay Community in Britain", edited by Emma Healy and Angela Mason (London: Virago, 1994).

Her leisure interests include horse-riding and shooting. She is also a keen conservationist and active in fundraising for nature and medical charities such as the Global Wildife Trust and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Despite all her other experience, the part that made Pam a household name was her role as Pat Harris Beale Wicks Butcher Evans in EastEnders. She made her first appearance in June 12, 1986, a year after the show had begun.

The character of Pat was born 28 December 1942 in the East End of London, and has managed four husbands, two children and two grandchildren, as well as a number of lovers and enemies, and rather fewer friends.

Pat's children are David Wicks (Michael French) and Simon Wicks (Nick Berry), both fathered by Brian Wicks (who never appeared in the show). They have given her one grandchild each, Bianca (Patsy Palmer) (father David Wicks, mother Carol Jackson (Lindsay Coulson)) and Steven Beale (Edward Savage) (father Simon Wicks, mother Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins)).

Her four husbands were:

Pete Beale (Peter Dean): Married in 1963, and soon divorced after she had a number of affairs. Pete was one of the main figures in the early days of EastEnders, long after they had separated.

Brian Wicks: Married in 1966, they split up 20 years later, just before her arrival in the show.

Frank Butcher (Mike Reid): Her teenage love, and another character to arrive in the show in his middle age. They finally married in 1989, and ran the Queen Victoria public house together. He ran off after financial problems led to him paying Phil Mitchell ({Steve McFadden]) to set fire to his car lot, and the burnt body of a homeless man was found in the ashes. Eventually he returned and they had another affair while she was married to her fourth husband Roy.

Roy Evans (Tony Caunter): Pat married the dependable used car dealer Roy in 1996. The dapper and wealthy Roy fell for Pat while she was still pining over Frank, but he bided his time and won her heart; they wed in 1996. After many trials and squabbles, he died in 2003.

Other love interests have included Kenny Beale, Pete's brother, who she had an affair with in the 1960s, and Den Watts (Leslie Grantham), who she had a brief relationship with before her arrival on show.

Her principal enemies in recent years have been:

Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor): she had an affair with Peggy's husband Frank, resulting in a spectacular showdown in the Queen Vic.

Mo Harris (Leila Morse): In her youth, Mo was married to Pat's late brother Jimmy Harris. Pat disapproved and tried to break them up. When Mo and her grandchildren the Slater family arrived, there was instant trouble between her and Pat, but more recently they have been less confrontational.

Like many in the show, Pat has enjoyed a varied career: she has been landlady of the Queen Vic, a bookkeeper, a cleaner, and ran her own taxicab firm. In her younger days, she was a prostitute, and later she tried to warn Frank's daughter Janine (Charlie Brooks) off a life on the game.

Pat's character

Pat is a born survivor, who has had four husbands and out-lived them all (except possibly Brian who has never featured in the show). She has survived working on the streets, and turned her life around to become a respectable member of society, intelligent and worldly-wise, offering advice to all those around her (which, like most advice, tends to be ill-received or ignored).

But despite her strength, the producers of EastEnders seem to delight in reducing her to tears, in slapping her down and forcing her to remain in the Square. While drink-driving she hit and killed a teenage girl, earning six months in jail, and delighting fans of the show who thought Pat would have been dream casting in legendary Australian soap Prisoner (aka Prisoner: Cell Block H).

Her affair with Frank during her marriage to Roy was an attempt to recapture the spirit of her youth, but we saw this all fall apart in early 2001. She decided not to leave Roy, but Frank's farewell letter to Peggy was discovered and Peggy exacted her revenge with a dramatic speech in the Queen Vic and a slap for Pat. The scene when Roy found out about the affair and abused Pat's monstrous dangly earrings has gone down in television history.

Roy took her back but their happiness did not last for long. Two years later he collapsed and died of a heart attack after hearing how she had concealed from Roy and his son Barry (Shaun Williamson) the infidelity of Barry's wife Natalie (Lucy Speed). Barry was already grief-stricken due to his break-up with his wife, and blamed her for his father's death, throwing her out onto the unseasonally snowy streets of Walford in March 2003.

Once more, Pat's interfering nature and inability to put herself in the place of others had proved her downfall. Her independence makes her strong, but also means she keeps secrets and is not able to confide fully or anticipate the effects of her actions. She is a hard woman, and it seems likely she will be alone for the rest of her life; perhaps she is always alone.

Pam St. Clement's unique contribution to the show has been to play Pat as a woman who is always somewhat sympathetic despite this coldness. Pat has never filled the traditional part of the middle-aged woman in soap, the stereotypes of matriarch or gossip. She has been allowed to fall in love, to break men's hearts and have her own heart broken. Pat is neither villain nor caricature, but a complex, flawed woman, and both she and the actress who plays her have won a place in many viewers' hearts.

Main sources:

  • "BBC Eastenders". BBCi. http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders (April 8, 2003).
  • Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/ (April 8, 2003).
Hilarious, but possibly inaccurate, fansite:
  • Sebastian Butt. "Rose of England". http://www.geocities.com/pam_fans/ (April 8, 2003).

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