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BBC EastEnders icon unrecognisable 23 years after exit from soap as he lands new role

A former EastEnders actor is following in the footsteps of the likes of Cheryl Tweedy, Jake Wood and Lily Allen after joining the cast of stage production 2:22 A Ghost Story

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Joe's character was framed for murder
Joe’s character was framed for murder (Image: BBC)

Former EastEnders star Joe Absolom looks completely different to how he did when he left the BBC soap all the way back in 2000.

The actor played Matthew Rose, first arriving in 1997 and exiting in 2000. But he’s now touring the country with another EastEnders legend, Louisa Lytton, as part of 2:22 A Ghost Story.

The duo are following in the footsteps of some other huge names, like Cheryl Tweedy, Lily Allen and fellow EastEnders star Jake Wood, who have all appeared in the play. But soap fans probably wouldn’t recognise Joe in his new role.

Now 44, Joe was just in his early 20s when he joined EastEnders. His character was involved in the murder of Saskia Duncan.

Joe Absolom starred on EastEnders between 1997 and 2000
Joe Absolom starred on EastEnders between 1997 and 2000 (Image: BBC)
Saskia was the love interest of Steve Owen, and she became dangerous when the love wasn’t reciprocated and he fell for Mel Healy instead. She would go on to attack Steve on Valentine’s Day in 1998.

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Steve retaliated in self-defence and hit her on the head with an ashtray, which killed her. But as Joe’s character Matthew was also there, he was framed for murder.

EastEnders fans couldn't believe how different Joe looked
EastEnders fans couldn’t believe how different Joe looked (Image: ITV)

Matthew was wrongly sent to prison for the crime. He then quit the soap in 2000 to move on to new projects.

Now, 23 years later he’s doing just that and he recently appeared on Loose Women looking like a whole other person. Fans couldn’t believe it either.

One said: “Wow Joe looks so good, can’t believe he played that kid on Albert Square all those years ago.” Another said: “Is that Matthew Rose from EastEnders? He looks so different now.”

Joe recently appeared on Loose Women
Joe recently appeared on Loose Women (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

In the years after EastEnders, Joe went on to appear in a number of other television shows. He had stints in ITV’s The Bay and Doc Martin.

It was during filming for Doc Martin in Cornwall that he made the decision to start a new life. He and his wife Liz moved there with their children Lyla, Casper and Daisy.

There were a number of reasons for their move, however the final straw came in 2013. The family’s South London home was burgled by a gang of teenagers while Joe was away filming.

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