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Pat Evans

Patricia "Pat" Evans (née Harris; previously Beale, Wicks and Butcher) is a fictional character in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders. She has been played by Pam St. Clement since 12 June 1986, just over a year after the show first aired. Pat was also played by Emma Cooke in a soap 'bubble' Pat and Mo: Ashes to Ashes, delving into the her past with sister-in-law Mo Harris, which aired in 2004.

Pat is a tough enemy, a good friend, a straight talker and a woman who won't be messed with. She's had a rough life and made many mistakes, but she's a survivor and she refuses to let her past grind her down. Pat has so far been married four times, making her the most-married character in the whole of EastEnders, until 2007 when Ian Beale completed his fourth marriage to Jane Collins.

Pam St. Clement has 125 pairs of earrings from which to choose and fans still send her earrings, which she sometimes wears in the programme.

Character creation

The character of Pat was conceptualised by the creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland and Julia Smith, in 1984. Although not one of the serial's original protagonists, Pat is referred to in the character outline of Pete Beale, who appeared on-screen in EastEnders' first episode, as written by Smith and Holland in their book, EastEnders: The Inside Story: "[Pete] married very young to Pat — it turned out to be a total disaster. They were too young, rushing into a difficult life for all the wrong reasons, and truthfully, [Pat] was a vicious shrew...[Pete] divorced [Pat] and married Kathy when he was 24...His two sons by his first marriage are nineteen and twenty and he hardly sees them..."

However, Pat was not seen on-screen until June 1986, over a year after the show first aired. The character's introduction was the result of a deliberate policy "to add an extra edge of toughness to the show." Prior to this point, Holland and Smith had began to feel that EastEnders was starting to get "a bit soft". During a meeting with scriptwriters, the programme makers decided to to try and recapture some of the soap's "original grittiness that seemed to be getting lost in its own success". Thus the character of Pat was introduced to "add a new hardness to the atmosphere."

Pat, played by actress Pam St. Clement, was initially introduced on a a three-episode trial basis. She was given an extensive backstory, heavily intertwined with various focal characters within the serial, including all of the Beale and Fowler family who mostly disliked her, particularly her ex-husband Pete Beale (Peter Dean), her son Simon Wicks (Nick Berry), and Pete's mother Lou Beale (Anna Wing). In addition, she was an old friend of Angie Watts (Anita Dobson), a former girlfriend of Angie's husband Den (Leslie Grantham) and, as a supposed fomer resident of Walford, she was known to most of the other regular characters such as Dot Cotton (June Brown) and Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin).

The character's initial three-episode stint marked the beginning of what has been described as one of the soap's most complicated storylines, the paternity of Simon Wicks. Pat immediately "threw a spanner in the works" by telling Pete that he was not Simon's biological father, as she had previously claimed. After causing havoc Pat then disappeared; however, she was reintroduced later in the year, returning as a regular character, barmaid of The Queen Victoria public house. St. Clement had reservations about returning to the soap. In 1995 she told The Independent, "I couldn't envisage how this character, who creates absolute havoc everywhere she goes and is not at home with herself or with anybody else in the Square, could possibly fit in". However she was persuaded to continue by producer Julia Smith, who said: "'We've only seen one layer of the onion skin—the defensiveness—now we'll start to peel away more and get to the vulnerability that lies behind it'."

Storylines

Backstory

Pat, the youngest of four children, was born in Walford to Lydia Harris on 28 December 1942. Her elder sister Joan had Down's syndrome, and was sent to a mental institute when Pat was four. Joan married a man named Michael who also had Down's. Ashamed, Lydia disowned Joan and claimed she died at the age of 22, refusing to allow Pat to attend her funeral.

Pat left school at 15 and, having been considered attractive, tried in vain for a modelling career. In the summer of 1958 she entered a beauty contest in Clacton at the age of 16 and as a result she won the "Miss Butlins" title. It was there that she met the love of her life, Frank Butcher, who was holidaying with his girlfriend June. They were besotted with each other and as a result Pat lost her virginity to him, leading to an affair that lasted until 1959 when Frank was forced to leave Pat and marry June after she fell pregnant with his child.

Pat grew depressed over their break-up and began drinking heavily. Things didn't improve when her beloved older brother Jimmy, whom she was extremely close to, married her best friend Mo Porter. She began to feel pushed out by everyone she loved as Jimmy and Mo started a family and she was constantly being used by Frank who would meet up with her from time to time in order to rekindle their affair, but he would always return to June which caused Pat more anguish.

As her alcoholism continued to grow, shady club owner Tony Cattani suggested a way of making money to Pat through prostitution after he caught men trying to proposition her. Subsequently Pat's mother Lydia disowned her, and although Jimmy didn't agree with her choice of career he still stuck by her but their relationship began to suffer. As the 1960s approached Pat began working as a prostitute for up-and-coming gangster Johnny Allen, who offered her more money for "servicing" other gangsters. Pat soon became a well known woman of the underworld for many years.

A restless woman, Pat embarked on numerous relationships in order to find the rapport she had shared with Frank. She had flings with both Den Watts and Kenny Beale, but when they were unwilling to settle down with her she set her sights on Kenny's younger brother Pete, a fruit and veg stall holder who was shown to be steady and reliable. She convinced him that she was pregnant by him and in July 1961 they married. This enabled Pat to leave her sordid career as a prostitute behind her and due to this she reunited with her mother and the rest of her family. After her pregnancy proved to be false she got herself pregnant by Pete for real and gave birth to their son, David, in April 1962.

However as one area of her life was picking up, another was about to crumble. In 1963 Pat caught her former pimp Tony and sister-in-law Mo in a compromising position. It transpired that due to Pat's troublesome ways she had come between Jimmy and Mo, and Mo sought comfort in an affair with Tony. Pat informed her brother of his wife's infidelity, but when he chose to believe his wife over Pat, she found herself disowned by Jimmy. As a result they did not speak again, although a dying Jimmy later ordered Mo to post a letter he had written to Pat calling a truce. However Mo never did post it and as a result Jimmy died of cancer in 1978 and Mo did not even invite Pat to his funeral.

Pat soon grew bored of married life and resumed her affairs with Frank, Kenny and Den, as well as embarking upon an affair with Brian Wicks. Things came to a head when Pat fell pregnant in October 1964 but after convincing Pete that he was the father she gave birth to her son Simon in July 1965. However her married life was not to last as Pete soon discovered her deception and soon threw Pat out. She took up with her lover Brian and after she divorced from Pete in 1966 they married in 1967 and he adopted her two sons. They remained in Walford until 1976, when the Branning family ran them out of town due to Pat's 14-year-old son David getting his girlfriend Carol Branning pregnant. Pat proved to be a negligent parent and as soon as he turned 18, David left home and moved in with his girlfriend Lorraine, whilst Simon soon returned to Walford to live with his supposed father Pete. During this time Pat was also a victim of domestic abuse and when she could take it no more she returned to Walford in 1986 after 10 years away, walking out of her marriage to Brian.

1986-1988; Paternity of Simon Wicks

Pat was first seen on screen in June 1986. She came back to Walford to inform Pete that Simon was not actually his son. Many arguments erupted, but Lou was quick to step in, and she managed to convince a devastated Pete that Simon was his. Later in the year however, when Pat returned to work as barmaid in The Queen Vic, it was divulged that Lou thought Simon was the product of a secret affair Pat had with Kenny. A vicious row erupted between Pat and Lou, with Lou adamant that Pat should keep her sordid affair a secret and not upset her close-knit family. However, Pete's sister Pauline overheard and told him everything.

Pat lived up to her promiscuous reputation by making passes at men such as James Willmott-Brown and Charlie Cotton. With encouragement from Mehmet Osman, Pat ended the year hiring herself out as a prostitute, later encouraging Mary Smith into the same line of work. Animosity between Pat and Pete continued. When Pat was assaulted in February 1987 — left unconscious and close to death in the middle of the Square — Pete became prime suspect in the police investigation. He was later cleared when the real culprit, a man known as the Walford attacker, was caught attacking Debbie Wilkins.

The arrival of Kenny Beale in 1988 brought the question of Simon's parentage to the fore once again. Pat informed Simon and the Beale brothers that she was unsure which of them was the real father, adding further confusion. She also said that Den Watts was a possibility. Pat later ruled Den out, but demanded that he sleep with her, or she would spread around that he was the father. In July that year, a dying Lou pleaded with Pat to finally come clean to Simon. Pat finally revealed that Brian Wicks, the man that Simon had believed to be his step-father, was actually his biological father.. Following Lou's death, Pat formed a close friendship with her former foe, Kathy Beale, Pete's second wife. Both found they had a common bond, with the dominance of Lou and Pete in their lives.

1988-1994; Pat and Frank

Frank came back into Pat's life in 1987 when they met up on the Isle of Dogs. His first wife had died and in 1988 he came to Walford to win Pat back. The reunited couple took over tenancy of The Queen Vic public house. Frank soon moved his two children Ricky and Diane in, and before long his mother, Mo, had also moved to the Square too. Pat found it difficult to cope with Frank's unruly children and she regularly clashed with Mo, who constantly let Pat know that she was not good enough for Frank.

In June 1989, Pat and Frank married in true cockney style, driving out of Albert Square in a horse drawn cart. It was a brief moment of happiness as within a month Pat had acquired a new stepdaughter, Janine. Janine was a bed-wetter, a sleepwalker, a compulsive liar and self-harmer, and she hated Pat. Pat forced Frank to take Janine to family therapy, which eased her troublesome behaviour slightly. By the end of the year the Butchers had moved out of The Vic and bought the B&B across the Square, which Pat ran, whilst Frank opened a used car-lot. Despite family and a few marital problems, Frank and Pat remained happy until 1992, when they began to struggle financially, forcing them to sell the B&B. Pat tried to turn their fortunes around by starting her own cab firm, PatCabs. However, disaster struck on Christmas eve that year, when Pat — whilst doing a short run for a regular customer — hit a teenage girl with her car. When breathalysed, she was found to be just over the limit.

On New Years Eve, against legal advice, Pat tried to find out how the girl was, and was devastated to learn that she had died. Pat found it hard to cope with the guilt and the situation was made worse when the girl's mother confronted Pat after her appearance at the Magistrates court (at which the case was referred to the crown court). When Pat finally appeared in court later that year, she was given a prison sentence and forced to serve 6 months inside. In the Autumn Pat returned, but by then the Butchers were in financial ruin. In desperation, Frank arranged for Phil Mitchell to torch the car-lot in an insurance scam. When this went wrong and a homeless boy died, Frank had a breakdown, and in April 1994, he left the Square, abandoning both Pat and his children without warning.

For Pat, not knowing where Frank was, or even if he was still alive, was a nightmare. Desperate for money, Pat began stealing from her employers and even borrowed money from Ian Beale, who was having a spell as a loan shark. She finally broke down when Sharon Mitchell caught her stealing from her purse; Sharon bailed her out of her debts. Eventually Diane brought news that Frank was alive and had merely run away, so Pat slowly began getting on with her life. Pat's son David teamed up with Ricky to reopen car-lot under the new name, Deals on Wheels .

1994-2003; Pat and Roy

In December 1994, Pat met successful car-dealer, Roy Evans, a business associate of David's. Roy was attracted to Pat straight away. Early attempts to win Pat's favours got him nothing but refusals, but Pat later softened and went on an all paid for cruise with him, although she made it quite clear that sex was not on offer. Her carnal abstinence turned out to be blessing for Roy, as he later admitted he was impotent and could offer nothing more than platonic love. Pat was relieved to discover that, for once, a man wanted something from her other than sex. In November 1995, Roy moved in with Pat, but their happiness was short-lived, as in December Frank returned to Walford to reclaim his wife. Pat found it hard to contain her rage and emotion upon seeing her estranged husband, but despite him stirring up old feelings, she opted to remain with Roy. Roy and Pat married in 1996 (her fourth husband). Pat and Roy weathered money problems, Roy's ill-health and depression brought on by jealousy of Pat and Frank's shared past, which almost made him commit suicide in 1999. Pat finally convinced Roy that it was him she wanted, although she found it hard to let go of Frank completely.

Frank went on to marry Peggy Mitchell, but he began to have second thoughts in 2000 after realising that he still loved Pat. Whilst the Butchers and the Evanses were holidaying in Spain, Frank seduced Pat and they slept together. Pat tried to end the affair upon their return, but when Frank turned up on her doorstep naked (apart from a comedy bow-tie), she realised that she had never stopped loving him either. Their affair continued for months and they eventually decided to elope to Manchester.

They were due to depart on Guy Fawkes Night in November that year, but suddenly Pat started to have second thoughts. It was too late however, as Peggy had already discovered Frank's dear John letter. Peggy shamed the cheating duo by reading the letter to the entire pub, and then slapped both Frank and Pat in full view of everyone. Peggy threw Frank out and he left Walford without Pat. Roy also chucked Pat out onto the street, leaving her penniless and homeless. Roy later asked Pat for a divorce, but when she decided to emigrate to New Zealand, he relented and took her back, despite objections from his son Barry. Grateful that Roy gave her a second chance, Pat was adamant that she would not mess things up a second time. However, in 2003, Roy discovered that Pat had been covering an affair between his son's wife, Natalie, and Frank's son, Ricky. Roy believed that Pat had again chose Frank over him, because she decided to help Frank's offspring over his own. The stress led to Roy's second and fatal heart attack. Roy died intestate, leaving Pat bereft and homeless, as Barry — beneficiary of Roy's estate — evicted her.

2003-2007; Picking up the pieces

Pat ended up living in a bedsit with hardly any money. Frank's daughter, Janine, married Barry and planned to con him out of all of his money and possessions. The day after the wedding, Janine confessed everything to her new husband, and pushed Barry down a cliff to his death. She later bragged about it to a disgusted Pat, whilst in control of the Evanses' former house and business. Janine started to bully Pat's friend Laura Beale, and when Laura accidentally fell down the stairs and died, Janine was arrested on suspicion of murder. Pat, Janine's only alibi, lied to the police, implicating Janine as revenge for Barry's killing.

Pat was given a job at the bookies by gangster Andy Hunter in 2004. They developed a rapport with each other, and when Andy was murdered in 2005, Pat was stunned to discover that he had left her his house in his will. Pat was summoned to be a witness for the prosecution at Janine's trial in December 2005, where she once again met Frank who had returned after almost five years. Once again, Pat slept with Frank, but she soon realised that his primary motive was to convince her to alter her testimony at Janine's trial. Pat refused, but after a subsequent talk with Laura's mother, Edwina, Pat realised that Janine being wrongly imprisoned for Laura's death would be an injustice, so she changed her testimony and Janine went free.

In February 2006, Pat, who was missing the company of a man in her life, began flirting with Patrick Trueman. Despite being married, Patrick couldn't resist the opportunity of a casual fling with Pat, and their affair continued for several weeks. However, they were seen together by Stacey Slater and she chose Pauline Fowler's wedding reception to inform Patrick's wife Yolande what she had seen. Yolande reacted with disgust and slapped Pat in the middle of the Queen Vic. To her surprise Pat slapped her back and a brawl erupted. Pat and Patrick's affair abruptly ended and Pat and Yolande spent many months sniping at each other, but have since reached a truce.

Pat has become an agony aunt of sorts, and is often the first to provide advice and support to her troubled neighbours, including Billy and Honey Mitchell, who struggled to cope when their baby Janet was born with Down's Syndrome and Bert Atkinson, who turned to her when his ex-wife revealed she had terminal cancer. Although she was not blood related to her second husband's nephew Kevin Wicks and his children, she was fiercely protective of them nevertheless, and made an enemy out of Kevin's ex-wife Shirley Carter, who arrived in Walford in January 2007 and proceeded to cause problems for them all. Pat has tried and failed to get rid of Shirley on several occasions. In 2007 they were arrested for brawling in the street, and spent the night in jail.

2007-2008; Blasts from the Past

In August 2007, Pat was contacted by the mental institute where her Down's sister, Joan, had lived. She travelled to Worthing to collect her belongings, but after Shirley Carter stole her car, Pat relied on the kindness of a stranger, Len Harker, a rocking horse maker who offered her a lift to complete her journey. Pat and Len bonded, and Len helped Pat retrieve Joan's belongings when security refused to let them inside the building. Pat discovered that her mother had been lying about the date of Joan's death, she had merely been transferred to another home. Pat went there to discover the truth, hoping that Joan might still be alive. Pat was told that Joan died some years earlier, but she had lived a happy life, and married another Down's patient, which was why she was disowned by Pat's mother. Pat was touched to discover that Joan had received all the birthday cards she sent her as a child; Joan had often spoken of Pat and how much she loved and missed her. Len drove Pat home, telling her to keep in touch.

In March 2008, Pat announced that she was leaving Walford for a new life in Spain. Prior to this she had come to terms with her former nephew Kevin's death on New Year's Eve 2007 and she had also taken Billy and Honey Mitchell and their children in after they were made homeless in January 2008. During a trip away with Peggy, where they had a heart to heart, Pat received a shock when her former stepchildren Ricky and Diane turned up at their hotel on 31 March to announce that their father Frank had died of cancer. Pat was devastated, but prepared to give him a good send off back in Walford. The day was spent with much insulting between Frank's two ex-wifes, resulting in Peggy calling Pat a "fat old tart" and them slapping each other. Later that day at the funeral Peggy called a truce when she held Pat's hand during the service. At the funeral, Pat wore a red dress, in which she remembers that Frank always liked her in red. She had also received Frank's infamous bow tie. Throughout an episode, some classic clips of Frank and Pat's wedding were shown to the memory of Frank Butcher.

The following week Pat was given a shock when her granddaughter Bianca Jackson, whom she had not seen for 9 years since she left Walford in September 1999, turned up at her home. After Pat caught her stealing from her purse Bianca revealed that she was homeless and her four children had been taken into care. Pat and Bianca then had a verbal fight, in which Bianca berated Pat for not keeping in touch with her with the exception of the annual Christmas card and also for not taking anything to do with her great-grandchildren, having not even seen Tiffany and Morgan. The pair finally came to a truce, but whilst Bianca was taking a bath Pat phoned Ricky for help. This led to another fight between Bianca and Pat, but they again reconciled and Pat allowed Bianca and her children to stay with her. By the end of the week Bianca was reunited with her children and Pat finally got to meet her great-grandchildren.

However, having reconciled with one grandchild Pat met her match with another. With Ian Beale's daughter Lucy been missing for months, Pat figured out on 5 May that her grandson Steven Beale was behind her dissapearance and also that he knew where she was. After chasing him around Albert Square looking for answers, Pat was run down by Roxy Mitchell in her jeep accidentally. Although she came unscathed with only a broken leg, Steven visited an unconscious Pat in hospital and then tried to smother his grandmother. However Pat woke up and fought him off and at that moment Ian turned up. Pat then revealed that Steven was behind Lucy's disappearance and knew where she was.

On 12 September 2008, Pat welcomed Bianca's partner Tony King into the family when he was released from prison. Then, seeing her family as complete she proceeded to have a family photograph taken outside of their home and then later wound Peggy up over it at The Queen Vic.

In popular culture

The character of Pat Evans has been spoofed in the cartoon sketch show 2DTV. The impressionist who provides the voice is Jan Ravens.

Ravens has not only provided the voice of Pat, she has also acted the part on-screen in several episodes of BBC's Big Impression, which devoted a regular sketch to various EastEnders characters and she also played Pat in the other impressionist show Dead Ringers.

She is also the frequent target of jokes in Harry Hill's TV Burp, usually alluding to her former prostitution and alleged sexual promiscuity.

References

External links

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