EastEnders Pam St Clement’s life – lesbian fling, injury horror and weight loss

Pam St Clement graced our screens as EastEnders icon Pat Butcher for 25 years before hanging up her earrings.

The actress, who turns 80 today (May 11), last appeared in the BBC soap for a few minutes in an episode back in 2016.

Pat went on to become one of the soap's most iconic and longest-serving characters, first appearing in June 1986 until the character was killed off in January 2012.

She returned to the show as ghost four years later for Barbara Windsor's final scenes as Peggy Mitchell.

Since leaving Albert Square, Pam has made a number of television appearances and has done a lot of charity.

As the soap legend celebrates her milestone birthday, Daily Star has taken a look inside Pam's life.

Early years

Pam has worked extensively on the stage, in films and on television for almost 50 years.

Shortly after her birth in 1942. her mother died and she was put into foster care when her father remarried.

Her first big break came in 1976, when she was cast in an episode of TV prison drama, Within These Walls.

She went ton to star in various shows such as Van der Valk, Enemy at the Door, Play For Today, Minder and Angel.

Pam has also appeared in movies including The Bunker, Scrubbers, Doomwatch and Hedda.

Life as Pat

In 1986, Pam was cast in her most notable role to date—Pat Wicks, the troublesome former prostitute and ex-wife of Pete Beale.

The character was originally brought in on a trial basis for a period of three episodes.

She featured in a multitude of high-profile storylines which included a total four marriages, numerous affairs, feuds and a spell in prison for drink-driving which led to a pedestrian dying.

In 2012, St Clement won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards, previously having been won by her co-stars Wendy Richard, June Brown and Barbara Windsor.

In July 2011, it was announced that St Clement would be leaving EastEnders after 25 years.

Of her departure St Clement said "I have enjoyed 25 and a half wonderful years in EastEnders creating the character of Pat but feel it's time to hang up her earrings.

"Leaving the EastEnders 'family' will be akin to a bereavement. But I'm looking forward to the other work and life opportunities that I will have the time to pursue."

Rival soap role

Despite being best known for playing Pat in Eastenders, fans may be surprised to know that she appeared in rival soap Emmerdale.

She played Mrs Eckersley in Emmerdale Farm in 1980.

The character was a local farmers wife and a friend of the Sugden family.

Annie Sugden and Sam Pearson won a competition which sent them to Ireland, and Mrs Eckersley came in to help out at Emmerdale Farm.

She made her first appearance on March 10 1980 and appeared for six episodes until March 27 1980.

Lesbian fling

Pam is bisexual and is a support of gay rights.

During the 1960s, she was married to a man named Andrew Gordon and they later divorced.

In her autobiography The End of The Earring, the actress confessed that her lesbian affair before Andrew's back led to the breakdown of their marriage.

The veteran star added that the distance between her and Andrew allowed her to put her ailing marriage to the back of her mind – and she went on to admit that she was devastated when she had to leave her new lover behind.

She adds: "I fell, not for some bush-whacking hunk, but for a woman.

"It was a time of discovery and abandon, of excitement and freedom. I wanted to woo and be wooed and felt no guilt.

"That month in Sydney went all too quickly and we were soon saying our farewells at the airport with promises of reunions back in the UK. I nearly missed the plane, I was so bereft at leaving."

She eventually embarked on a relationship with a woman called Diana, but admitted in her book that her "tendency to over-care'" can "smother" romances.

Weight loss transformation

Pam underwent a major image overhaul after being branded "Fat Pat".

In just five months, she shed five stone and slimmed down from a size 22 to a 14.

The TV personality went on a strict eating regime. It involved replacing food with a meal substitute drink.

She said at the time: "Weight and what is the right or wrong size seem to count for so much today.

"Times have changed. What is the average size now – is it 10? It is ridiculous, I mean, in my childhood the average dress size was 16."

'Takes dope every day'

One of Pam's most interesting adventures since leaving EastEnders has to be taking part in Gone to Pot: American Road Trip in 2017, which saw her and four other celebrities travel across California and Colorado to find out more about cannabis and how it would affect the UK if it was made legal.

Since filming the show, the soap icon revealed that she "takes dope every day" and thinks "it should be legalised".

She even got high with nuns on the TV series and now thinks "it's wonderful", using cannabis-infused oil every day to help her arthritis.

'Year from hell'

In 2019, Pam appeared on ITV daytime show Loose Women after suffering a horrific injury while caught up in a typhoon in Australia.

She had been going to have an operation on her knee on her return from the holiday, but thanks to the accident – where she cut her leg open – she wasn't able to have it.

She told the panel: "Would you believe it – the one part of my fat body that hasn't got any flesh on it is my shin bone and it was straight across."

The traumatic injury and constant pain meant she was unable to work for the whole of the year, explaining why we haven't seen her on our screens recently.

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday on BBC One at 7.30pm

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