Martin Fowler in EastEnders

Martin Fowler: The enduring legacy of EastEnders’ first baby

Martin comes with a lot of baggage!

Martin Fowler has been in EastEnders since the very first episode – in a way.

When EastEnders began, his mother Pauline Fowler – who was 40 years old with two teenage children – was expecting another baby.

Martin was born in July 1985 and went down in soap history as the first baby born in EastEnders.

Baby Martin and the Fowlers
Martin Fowler was the first baby born in EastEnders (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

He’s the only remaining member of the original Fowler family, who were at the heart of the show for many years.

Martin’s seen more than his fair share of drama over the years – with many births, marriages and deaths .

And it seems things aren’t getting any quieter any time soon for the harassed dad of four.

Who plays Martin Fowler in EastEnders?

Martin Fowler has been played by three different actors in his time on the soap.

As a child, he was portrayed by Jon Peyton-Price, with James Alexandrou taking over the role in 1996 when Martin began having more dramatic storylines.

James carried on in the role until 2007, when Martin left the Square.

When Martin came back to Walford in 2014, the role was recast and James Bye took over the part.

James Bye plays Martin in EastEnders
James Bye plays Martin Fowler in EastEnders (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

James had parts in The Bill, The Hooligan Factory and The Great Train Robbery before he took on the role of Martin.

Proud dad James is married to wife Victoria, and the couple have three young sons, Edward, Louis and Hugo.

What happened with Martin Fowler and Sonia Jackson?

From being a quiet child, Martin started to go off the rails when his dad Arthur Fowler died. He started getting into trouble and was even arrested after getting involved in some petty crimes.

He had a romance with Nicky Di Marco but when she said she didn’t want to sleep with him, he turned his attentions to Sonia Jackson and the pair lost their virginities to each other.

Read more: Who is Tiffany Butcher-Baker in EastEnders? Who are her iconic parents?

Sonia later reunited with her boyfriend Jamie Mitchell, but there was a shock in store for Martin a few months later when Sonia gave birth to his baby girl.

She named her baby Chloe and gave her up for adoption, though Martin’s overbearing mother, Pauline, wasn’t happy about it.

There was a custody battle but when Martin admitted in court that he didn’t want to be a dad, the baby was adopted and renamed Rebecca.

Did Martin Fowler commit murder?

After the messy court case, Martin went back to his old criminal ways. He even grew cannabis in dad Arthur’s allotment shed.

Meanwhile, Sonia and Jamie were totally in love and the pair were even planning to wed. But shortly before Christmas 2002, Martin ran Jamie over and killed him.

Martin went to a young offenders’ institute for six months after admitting he wasn’t paying attention behind the wheel.

But even when he was released he didn’t mend his ways. In fact, it was only when Sonia forgave him for his crime that he began to change.

Why did Martin and Sonia reunite?

It was one of the most unexpected romances ever on the Square, but Martin and Sonia began to grow close and started a relationship.

Martin and Sonia
Martin and Sonia got back together (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Facing disapproval from Martin’s mum (again!) they eloped and the newlyweds moved in with Pauline, causing them lots of stress.

When Sonia discovered that Martin and Pauline had been visiting little Rebecca – as Chloe was now called – she was furious and the marriage became strained.

And when Sonia had an affair with a fellow nursing student, Naomi, the pair broke up.

Martin was given custody of Rebecca after her guardian died and Sonia was sad when she was cut out of her daughter’s life.

But eventually Martin and Sonia repaired their relationship.

Once more, Pauline was very annoyed about it, and even went as far as faking a brain tumour to stop them being together. But the pair eventually reunited and left the Square with Rebecca.

Martin hooks up with Stacey Slater

When Martin returned to Walford in 2007, he and Sonia were over. He started a romance with Stacey Slater and moved in with her and daughter Lily.

When Stacey discovered she was pregnant, Martin wasn’t keen at first, but he soon came round.

Martin and Stacey seemed made for each other (Credit: BBC)

And when little Arthur was born, and Stacey suffered postpartum psychosis, Martin stepped up.

Read more: Who is Lola Pearce in EastEnders? What’s her history with Ben Mitchell?

Although he was devastated when he discovered his best friend Kush was the baby’s dad.

Martin and Stacey wedding
Martin and Stacey ended up tying the knot (Credit: BBC)

However, Martin grew to love little Arthur and he and Stacey went on to have another baby, Hope, who was born prematurely.

Martin and Stacey’s relationship survived many obstacles, including her sleeping with old-flame Max Branning. And the pair left together after Stacey hit Phil Mitchell with a wrench and fled the Square.

Martin Fowler’s run ins with the Mitchells

Martin was blackmailed by Ben Mitchell into helping with his criminal activities.

Cruel Ben threatened Stacey and the kids if Martin didn’t work with him, and poor Mr Fowler ended up getting right in the thick of the Mitchells’ vendetta against Keanu Taylor.

Martin ended up in the thick of the Mitchells’ vendetta against Keanu Taylor (Credit: BBC)

Devastated Martin ended his marriage to Stacey in order to protect her, and things got worse when he managed to knock someone over – again – and was blackmailed by his hit-and-run victim.

He and Sonia – who was trying to help him out by paying off the victim – had a brief fling but it didn’t last.

So how did Martin end up with Ruby Allen?

After a one-night stand, Martin and Ruby Allen spent lockdown together and fell in love.

Heartbroken Stacey was devastated and she and Ruby’s friendship – already on shaky ground – fell apart.

EastEnders fans horrified as Martin sleeps with Ruby
Martin and Ruby are now married (Credit: BBC)

Martin and Ruby got married and Ruby – who’d already lied that she was pregnant – discovered to her relief that she was expecting. But she lost the baby and blamed Stacey.

Now Martin and Ruby are caring for Arthur, Hope and Lily while Stacey is in prison. Martin isn’t Lily’s real dad, nor Arthur’s – though his dad Kush has died – but he’s determined to step up.

Will his commitment to Stacey’s kids causing trouble in his marriage, what’s next for Martin Fowler in EastEnders?

Want more from EastEnders and its characters?

Entertainment Daily has a dedicated EastEnders spoilers section for you to get your fix before the latest episodes air.

EastEnders usually airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One.

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Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer