EastEnders Star, Bill Treacher, Dies at the age of 92

Bill Treacher was a well-known English actor. He was best known for playing Arthur Fowler in the BBC One soap drama EastEnders from 1985 to 1996 and was the show’s first cast member.

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Actor Bill Treacher, who played Arthur Fowler in EastEnders, has away at the age of 92

In a statement, his family confirmed the actor’s health “had been declining for some time”.

His family and colleagues give tributes to him

Bill Treacher had a mental breakdown in jail and died of a brain hemorrhage a few days after his release in 1996, at his cherished allotment. He died in the hospital, breaking the hearts of the Fowler family.

His family said,

“He was much loved by his wife, Kate, his son, Jamie and his daughter, Sophie”.

An EastEnders spokesperson said:

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Bill Treacher. As one of our original cast members, Bill created a much-loved character in Arthur Fowler and, alongside Wendy Richard, they created an iconic family in the Fowlers who still remain at the heart of the show.

Former EastEnders star, Adam Woodyatt, said:

“So many memories of working with Bill, most of them involving him making us corpse.” He would get this twinkle in his eye, you’d start laughing and he never got the blame. I used to love it when he was trying to remember his lines in rehearsal and he would just blunder and bluster until the correct word came out.”

Early Life

Bill Treacher was born in Romford, Essex, England on June 4, 1930. He holds British nationality and his Zodiac sign is Gemini. He belongs to the white ethnic group.


Bill Treacher attended Kings Road JMI School.

Bill Treacher was a porter at Waltham Cross railway station. He worked as a steward for P&O after completing his national service in the Royal Air Force, where he earned enough money to attend acting school. He made his West End debut in 1963 with the comedy Shout for Life at The Vaudeville Theatre, after graduating from the famed Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.

A string of successful West End roles followed. Treacher subsequently went into television drama, appearing in Grange Hill, Dad’s Army, Bless This House, Minder, The Sweeney, The Professionals, Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars, and The Agatha Christie Hour, among others.


Treacher was the first actor to be hired for the BBC soap opera EastEnders in late 1984. He debuted in the show’s premiere on February 19, 1985, as Arthur Fowler, a part he would portray for the following eleven years. Treacher was envisioned in the character’s screenplay by its co-creators Tony Holland and Julia Smith.

Treacher said in 2015 that he was originally apprehensive about joining the show since it would entail long hours and a significant journey from his family’s home in Suffolk, but that he eventually gave up because of the possibility of a reliable income. For the part, he garnered a lot of positive reviews, particularly for how he portrayed his character’s mental deterioration and ultimate nervous collapse.

The character also experienced a string of setbacks, including two brief stints in jail, a never-ending battle with unemployment, his daughter Michelle’s (Susan Tully) pregnancy at the age of 16, his son Mark’s (Todd Carty) HIV diagnosis, and a midlife crisis in which he had an affair with Christine Hewitt (Elizabeth Power) that nearly ended his marriage to Pauline (Wendy Richard).

In 1995, Treacher made the following request to be removed from the series: “By the time I was done, I was dizzy from the sound of the theme song. I was feeling down.” In a 2003 BBC program featuring former stars of the show, he said that he felt “compelled” to go due to approaching age.

Physicians warned Him

He said that the strain of a demanding schedule and long hours at the show was harming his health and that physicians had warned him that if he did not quit and unwind soon, he would die. Several times in the 1970s, Treacher made brief television appearances.

As a sailor in the Dad’s Army episode Menace from the Deep, as a cop in the gritty police thriller The Sweeney episode Selected Target, and as Arnold in the 1975 comedy Bless This House episode The Phantom Pools Winner. Pop Pirates (1984), The Musketeer (2001), Tale of the Mummy (1998), and George and the Dragon are just a few of the movies in which Treacher made an appearance (2004).

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Bringing Eddie Home by John Peacock, based on the actual tale of East End parents Edna and Jack Wallace’s struggle to get their son’s corpse returned from Aden and the subsequent struggle for the rights of British military members, featured Treacher as a skilled radio actor. Treacher portrayed the elder Jack Wallace in the play, which also included Tilly Vosburgh, Edna DorĂ©, Todd Carty, and Joe Absolom, who were all former EastEnders performers.

Personal Life

Bill Treacher married Australian actress Katherine Kessey, with whom he had two children: Jamie, an actor, and Sophie, a production assistant. They were from Suffolk.