British actor.
Born March 20, 1959 in London, England.

Overweight, balding, violent, and thuggish, Phil Mitchell is an unlikely sex symbol, but as played by actor Steve McFadden he has been at the centre of the enormously popular BBC soap opera EastEnders for more than ten years. Despite the bizarre, convoluted and improbably storylines which Phil has been thrown into, and his ever-changing role from mechanic to alcoholic to thug to good father to smooth-talking manipulator to crap criminal to businessman, the fact that Phil has remained somewhat believable through it all must be in large measure to McFadden's portrayal of the thug with a heart that comprises various base metals and perhaps just a little vein of gold.

Like most of the cast of EastEnders, McFadden does not hail from the East End of London: he was born in Maida Vale in North London and raised in Harlesden, on the North West side of the city. As a young child, he was a keen actor, but as puberty approached, he gave it up aged 11 to pursue more macho pursuits. He returned to the stage aged 24, and spend two years at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London's most prestigious acting school. He has cited a number of influences on his acting, including Steve McQueen, Fred Astaire, Anthony Hopkins, Maggie Smith, Maggie Steed and Marlon Brando.

SPOILER WARNING: This contains information on storylines up to July 2003 in British screening dates.

Steve McFadden first appeared in EastEnders on January 20, 1990, when Phil Mitchell and his brother Grant (played by Ross Kemp) turned up in Albert Square, where they opened a garage at The Arches. Soon they were joined by sister Sam (first played by Danniella Westbrook, then Kim Medcalf) and mother Peggy (Barbara Windsor). In the following 13 years, Phil has been through a bewildering variety of storylines, romantic couplings, dodgy deals and feuds. But aside from his family, the main figures in his life were two women, Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) and Lisa (Lucy Benjamin), the mothers of his children.

Kathy wasn't Phil's first wife - in 1993 he had entered into a marriage of convenience with Nadia, a Romanian refugee, to get her into Britain - but she was his first major relationship on the show. They married in 1995 and had a son Ben, but the marriage was not happy. Phil drank heavily, and mistreated Kathy. He also had a number of affairs during his relationship and marriage to Kathy: with the returning Nadia, who he bought off and divorced, and with Lorna who he met at Alcoholics Anonymous. Eventually Kathy got fed up of the abuse and infidelity, and ran off to South Africa with Ben.

Phil also slept with his brother Grant's wife Sharon (Letitia Dean), and the relationship between the brothers was often fraught. Grant slept with Phil's wife Kathy shortly before her departure, and she told Phil. The two brothers had been planning a robbery together, and despite the trust issues, went through with the crime. They squabbled afterwards while fleeing the police, and Grant drove the car into a canal. Phil got free, but Grant was feared drowned; eventually Grant resurfaced and ran off to South America with his daughter Courtney (or rather, Ross Kemp who played Grant signed a big contract with rival network ITV and quit the show).

One suspects that Phil's romantic problems are related to his over-close relationship with mother Peggy, who adores him and is constantly interfering him his life. Could he ever meet a woman who could match up to her and her hairpieces? Certainly Phil's relationship with Lisa Shaw wasn't any happier: he treated her with contempt so that when he got her pregnant, she never told him about the baby. Instead Lisa, who showed signs of serious emotional problems, took up with the nice but dull Mark Fowler (Todd Carty).

But Lisa still carried a torch for Phil. Eventually she let the truth of baby Louise's parentage slip, and Phil decided to reclaim the fruit of his loins. This put him up against his god-son Jamie Mitchell (Jack Ryder), when Jamie helped Lisa escape to Portugal with Ben; Phil later went over after the mother and son and returned with the child and Lisa's passport but without Lisa.

When the police suspected him of murdering Lisa, they put an attractive young undercover police officer, Kate Morton (Jill Halfpenny) on the case. She pretended to be a manicurist to win the trust of Phil's mother Peggy (a very shrewd way to his heart), and she and Phil began a relationship. But she had begun to fall in love with Phil (which in the world of EastEnders is something that must happen to every woman), and had second thoughts about her assignment. Phil confessed to her that he obtained Lisa's baby through his clever talking rather than by pushing him off a cliff (this not a man noted for his eloquence who spent years saying little more than "ugg" as he reached for a whisky bottle). However, it is uncertain whether the show means to say that Phil's account is the truth.

When Phil found out that Kate worked for the police he dumped her, only coming across her again when he begged a favour of local gang boss Jack Dalton (Hywel Bennett) to help out young Spencer Moon ({Christopher Parker]) who had passed off counterfeit notes at Dalton's nightclub. Kate was working undercover there, but Dalton was already wise to her and Phil had to intervene to prevent Dalton having her killed. This put him in debt to Dalton, but reunited him and Kate; she quit her career in law enforcement (which one suspects that she was not temperamentally suited for, with her lusting for both Phil and Dalton's equally crooked ex-employee Dennis Rickman, played by Nigel Harman).

Phil's business dealings have been just as convoluted as his personal life, as he has fought with a number of cooler and better-looking rivals, mainly Steve Owen (Martin Kemp) and Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass), for control of the Queen Victoria public house, the cafe, snooker-hall, and other business ventures. Phil sold Dan his share in the Queen Vic for five pounds, but later Dan foolishly grassed Phil up to the police. In revenge Phil conned Dan out of the pub.

Phil slept with cocky businessman Steve's fiancee Mel Healy (the impossibly gorgeous Tamzin Owthwaite) just before she married Steve. Steve found out thanks to Phil loudly gloating in his face, but went ahead with the marriage. Steve bought half the Queen Vic from Peggy to spite Phil. However, when Dan Sullivan kidnapped Mel (everybody feuds with everyone else), Steve had nobody but Phil to turn to for help and he was forced to sell Phil his share in the presumeably-profitable bar. Steve planned to run off to the USA with Mel, taking Lisa, Mark and Louise with him to spite Phil Mitchell, but following a car chase with Phil, Steve crashed and he was killed.

Phil's other main antagonist (apart from Mark Fowler and his family; Jamie's girlfriend Sonia - actor Natalie Cassidy; and DCI Marsden and the Metropolitan Police) was Kathy's son Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), a young man when Phil married his mother. He always detested Phil and connived against him, his hatred even lasting past Kathy and Phil's divorce.

All these threads combined in one of the great EastEnders storylines, the question of "Who Shot Phil Mitchell?" Phil was shot and wounded on the steps of his house one evening, with the main suspects being spurned lover Lisa Shaw, dour greengrocer Mark Fowler, girlfriend-murderer Steve Owen, bad lad Dan Sullivan and whingeing bankrupt Ian Beale. The murderer turned out to be (SPOILER). The revelation of the killer attracted 22 million British viewers in April 2001.

In 2003, McFadden announced he would take a year's break from the show to try other acting roles, including pantomime as Captain Hook in Peter Pan in Woking. Phil's future is uncertain, but it would be no surprise were he to return for more of his usual blend of surly romance, good parenting and brutal intimidation.

Apart from Eastenders, McFadden has not worked much on screen. He appeared in small roles in the television shows Bergerac (1990), Minder (1989) and The Firm (1988) before EastEnders, and took a break from the soap to star in an episode of BBC crime anthology Murder In Mind, episode 1.2, "Flame" (2001). On film, he was uncredited as a crook in Great Train Robbery movie Buster (1988), and credited as Bouncer 2 in Kevin and Perry Go Large (2000).

He has one son Matthew, born 1986 to Sue Marshall, his childhood sweetheart, and a daughter Teona born 1997 to Angela Bostock; they separated a year later. Has also dated Lucy Benjamin, who played Lisa Shaw on EastEnders, for three years, breaking up in early 2003.

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