EastEnders - The Life and Times of: Steve McFadden

Phil Mitchell is a firm favourite for viewers, but how much do you actually know about the man who plays him?

Steve Robert McFadden was born in Maida Vale on 20th March 1959 and had no siblings. Steve's parents soon separated, and his mum went on to marry John McFadden, from whom Steve took his surname.

After leaving school in 1975, Steve had a handful of jobs from labouring, vegetable picking, and plumbing. Feeling a little dissatisfied, Steve decided to sell his motorbike and hitchhike around Europe.

After spending a few month camping in France, Steve returned to the UK and headed to the job centre where he asked for a job "with meaning".

Steve's first job was with the Acorn Project, a scheme for blind people, which required him to attend college. He gained and A Level and O Level passes in both sociology and politics before enrolling in an economics course at the Polytechnic of North London.

After deciding his latest venture wasn't for him, Steve withdrew from university and enrolled himself in RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).

The Bill, ITV

After graduating from RADA, Steve landed a small part on TV movie The Firm in 1988. The same year he also landed a part in Phil Collin's movie Buster.

In 1989, Steve landed many roles in shows such as ITV's The Bill, and Vote for Them, but as the 1990's approached, he would land the role of his life.

Joining EastEnders in the beginning of 1990, Steve would appear alongside Ross Kemp's Grant Mitchell, where he would play his on-screen younger brother, Phil.

The Mitchell brothers became an instant hit with viewers and the pair were given a multitude of dramatic storylines.

1994's Sharongate, which see the reveal of Phil's betrayal with his brothers wife Sharon, was watched by over 25 million viewers, and the Who shot Phil? storyline in 2001 was watched by over 20 million.

Since starting at EastEnders 20 years ago, Steve has managed to have a number of breaks from the Mitchell family to pursue other career opportunities, including the movie Kevin and Perry Go Large in 2000, the BBC's anthology series Murder in Mind, and presenting Sky One series Britain's Hardest.

In 2010 - 2013 Steve stared in a handful of pantomime productions where he would work with young Max Bowden who would go on to play his on-screen son Ben Mitchell nearly a decade later.

At the time of being cast in the role of Ben, Max Bowden said: "I actually worked with him when I was nine. I did pantomime, so I had met him before, so that was a nice little common ground coming in. 

"We had a little joke and shared a few photos of the time. Obviously it's always daunting on your first day at work, it's like your first day at school isn't it? But Steve has been amazing, I'm very, very lucky."

Steve is rarely seen giving interviews so much of his personal remains private. What we do know is he has five children, he's a big supporter of Manchester United and is an active sailor and took part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant with his boat named 'Barbara'.

The Scottish Sun

In 2014 Steve successfully sued the Metropolitan Police after a police officer sold details about him to the newspaper. He also sued the News of the World newspaper after a journalist admitted trying to hack his voicemails.

Steve said at the time: "I am particularly concerned that a police officer sold my privacy to a tabloid newspaper for profit. I consider the payment of damages and public apology will go some way to ensuring respect for my and others' privacy in future. I am glad to have been vindicated and to be able to put this matter behind me."

To this day Steve remains a firm favourite for viewers on EastEnders, and the last time we see Phil he lost out to his wife Sharon on the purchase of the Queen Vic, so what could the future hold for Mr & Mrs Mitchell?