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EastEnders

EastEnders original Martin Fowler star sent creepy texts to replacement after BBC axe

Former EastEnders star James Alexandrou confessed that he sent creepy messages to his replacement James Bye after he reprised his BBC character Martin Fowler in 2014

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EastEnders star James Alexandrou confessed he sent creepy text messages to his BBC replacement after he was axed from the long-running soap.

The soap star first rose to fame back in 1996 when he took on the role of Martin Fowler in Albert Square. The troublesome son of the BBC soap’s icons, Arthur and Pauline Fowler, James’ character was involved in several major storylines including fathering a child with Sonia Jackson as teenagers, before accidentally killing her fiancé, Jamie Mitchell.

But in 2007, his time in the London-based soap came to an end, with the star citing his desire to “experience other aspects of my industry” as his reason behind his exit. At the age of 21, James then went on to tour the country after landing a range of theatre roles and learnt the ropes as a director.

In 2014, James Bye took over his role as Martin when the beloved character returned to the Square. On Monday (January 22), the soap star opened up about what it was like to lose his infamous role on the show when he appeared on the Secure The Insecure podcast.

EastEnders' James Alexandrou sent creepy messages to his BBC replacement
EastEnders’ James Alexandrou sent creepy messages to his BBC replacement (Image: BBC)

Speaking to Johnny Seirfert on the show, the 38-year-old confessed that he secretly texted his replacement James Bye for “a week” in the lead up to his first scene in Walford. He told listeners: “I found out old Jimmy Bye, James Bye had got the job.

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“And so he was under contract not to, you know, NDA, not tell anyone that he’d been cast as Martin Fowler. I got his number off Natalie Cassidy, I think.

“So he didn’t know that I had his number and I just started winding him up for a week saying I know you’re going to the Square. He didn’t know who it was. I think he got a bit worried he was going to get in trouble.”

James Bye reprised the role of Martin Fowler in 2014
James Bye reprised the role of Martin Fowler in 2014 (Image: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

At the end of the week, James revealed his identity to the actor and passed on some kind words of advice ahead of his first day on EastEnders. The actor went on: “I said, ‘Listen, it’s James Alexandrou.

‘I’m really happy for you. You know, go do whatever you want with him and have fun’. And I think he’s done a great job.” More than 17 years since he left the Square, James ran into his replacement at a showbiz event for the first time.

Speaking about their meeting, he gushed: “I actually met him for the first time about a month ago, two months ago, and it was a really nice moment.” Later on in the show, the star revealed that he recently returned to his old dumping ground as a shadow director.

The pair worked together this year when he returned to the soap
The pair worked together this year when he returned to the soap (Image: Piers Allardyce/REX/Shutterstock)

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He revealed: “I kind of did go back [to EastEnders] recently, I shadowed as a director. So what that means is you go and follow the director and see how they direct the show, and it just so happened that James Bye was on, on the day that I was shadowing. I didn’t know he knew I was there.

“I think he apparently caught wind of it, and he came on to do a scene and he kind of went, ‘Oh, it’s you’ and we just kind of had this strange moment. It was a really strange moment, because we don’t know each other at all, and the only thing that bonds us are these words on a page called Martin Fowler you know, that was a really nice moment.”

EastEnders airs on weekdays on BBC One from 7.30pm or catch up on BBC iPlayer.

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