2 October 1948
|Died||6 April 2019 70) (aged|
Alexandra "Sandy" Ratcliff (2 October 1948 – 6 April 2019) was an English actress. She made an impression as a model and film actress in the 1970s, but she was best known for being one of the original cast members in the BBC soap opera EastEnders in the 1980s. She portrayed the tragic Sue Osmanbut left the role in 1989, after it was revealed that she was addicted to heroin and alcohol. After leaving EastEnders, things were professionally quiet for Ratcliff, though her private life brought her into the headlines once again in the early 1990s. In 2010, she revealed she had given up acting to train as a counsellor, but later retired.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
A soap opera is an ongoing drama serial on television or radio, featuring the lives of many characters and their emotional relationships. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers.
EastEnders is a British soap opera created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland which has been broadcast on BBC One since 1985. Set in Albert Square in the East End of London in the fictional Borough of Walford, the programme follows the stories of local residents and their families as they go about their daily lives. Initially there were two 30-minute episodes per week, later increasing to three, but since 2001 episodes have been broadcast every weekday apart from Wednesdays.
Ratcliff, the daughter of an insurance salesman, had a turbulent youth. When aged 12, she was expelled from her grammar school.[ citation needed ] Within two years she was heavily smoking cannabis, and she later went on to serve time in prison for selling it. [ not in citation given ] She had numerous jobs before she took up acting, including waitressing, disc-jockeying and performing as a guitarist in the rock groups Tropical Appetite and Escalator.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among other names, is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of 483 known compounds in the plant, including at least 65 other cannabinoids. Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within food, or as an extract.
A prison, also known as a correctional facility, jail, gaol, penitentiary, detention center, remand center, or internment facility, is a facility in which inmates are forcibly confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state. Prisons are most commonly used within a criminal justice system: people charged with crimes may be imprisoned until their trial; those pleading or being found guilty of crimes at trial may be sentenced to a specified period of imprisonment. In simplest terms, a prison can also be described as a building in which people are legally held as a punishment for a crime they have committed.
Ratcliff's career changed direction at 23, when she made a big impression as a model and was cast as "The face of the '70s" by royal photographer Lord Snowdon. This later facilitated a move into film. Her first major role was in the Ken Loach BAFTA-nominated film Family Life (1971), in which she played a schizophrenic teenage girl. This was followed by roles in slightly less well-received films including The Final Programme (1973), Yesterday's Hero (1979) and Hussy (1980) with Helen Mirren. She also appeared in Chris Petit's British road movie Radio On (1979). Ratcliff subsequently acted in several television productions including Minder , Couples, Play for Today , Target , The Sweeney , Shoestring and Shelley , and on stage in 1981 in the Ray Davies/Kinks musical, Chorus Girls .
A model is a person with a role either to promote, display or advertise commercial products, or to serve as a visual aid for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.
Kenneth Charles Loach is an English director of television and independent film. His socially critical directing style and socialist ideals are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as poverty, homelessness and labour rights.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image in the United Kingdom. In addition to its annual awards ceremonies, BAFTA has an international programme of learning events and initiatives offering access to talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the United Kingdom and the United States.
She became a household name in 1985, as Sue Osman in the BBC serial EastEnders . She played the long-suffering wife of highly-strung cafe owner and mini-cab boss Ali Osman (Nejdet Salih). During her four years in the series, her character contended with cot death, infidelity and finally insanity. Off-screen Ratcliff was struggling with a publicised heroin addiction, and she was written out of the show in 1989.
Sue Osman is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Sandy Ratcliff. She is one of the serial's original characters, appearing in its first episode on 19 February 1985 and departing on-screen in May 1989. Created by Tony Holland and Julia Smith, Sue is portrayed as argumentative, insecure and tragic. A pivotal storyline in the character's narrative is the cot-death of her son, which was one of the show's first controversial plots. During her four years on-screen, the character contends with a phantom pregnancy, marital breakdown and finally insanity. Ratcliff left the role in 1989 after press stories began circulating about her private life.
Ali Osman is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Nejdet Salih. He was a member of the original EastEnders cast, appearing in the first episode on 19 February 1985. He remained with the show for nearly five years afterwards, making his last appearance on 10 October 1989. Ali was scripted as happy-go-lucky, which was in stark contrast to his highly strung wife, Sue. Central to his storylines were his penchant for gambling, his tempestuous marriage, and the loss of his son to cot death, which was one of the first controversial storylines covered by the soap. He was created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland, the creators of EastEnders.
Insanity, madness, and craziness are terms that describe a spectrum of individual and group behaviors that are characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity can be manifest as violations of societal norms, including a person or persons becoming a danger to themselves or to other people. Conceptually, mental insanity also is associated with the biological phenomenon of contagion as in the case of copycat suicides. In contemporary usage, the term insanity is an informal, un-scientific term denoting "mental instability"; thus, the term insanity defense is the legal definition of mental instability. In medicine, the general term psychosis is used to include the presence either of delusions or of hallucinations or both in a patient; and psychiatric illness is "psychopathology", not mental insanity.
Her television appearances after EastEnders were in 1992's Maigret opposite Michael Gambon, and in the BBC2 productions A Box Of Swan (1990) and Men Of The Month (1994).
Sir Michael John Gambon is an Irish-born British character actor who has worked in theatre, television, and film. He was trained under Laurence Olivier and started his long work on stage in the National Theatre before retiring in 2015 due to memory loss.
BBC Two is the second flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tends to broadcast more "highbrow" programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio channels, it is funded by the television licence, and is therefore free of commercial advertising. It is a comparatively well-funded public-service network, regularly attaining a much higher audience share than most public-service networks worldwide.
In 2010, Ratcliff revealed in an interview with The Sun that she retrained as a counsellor, before retiring. She added that "If you had asked me last year if I wanted to go back to acting I would have said no. I was working too hard then and I felt tired. Now, I would say yes. If anyone needs someone to play a bag lady, I could do that."
The Sun is a tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. As a broadsheet, it was founded in 1964 as a successor to the Daily Herald; it became a tabloid in 1969 after it was purchased by its current owners. It is published by the News Group Newspapers division of News UK, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Since The Sun on Sunday was launched in February 2012, the paper has been a seven-day operation. The Sun previously had the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in the United Kingdom, but it was overtaken by rival Metro in March 2018.
A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. They may help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. This title excludes "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists".
Ratcliff married photographer Peter Wright in Kensington, London in 1968. They broke up and by 1973 she had her only son, William, by theatre director Terence Palmer.
In 1991, her then boyfriend Michael Shorey stood trial at the Old Bailey after he was accused of killing two women. Despite Ratcliff giving him an alibi, she claimed in the witness box that they were making love at the time, he was found guilty and is now serving two life sentences for murder.His court case was to be her last public appearance.
In 2005, it was reported that Ratcliff no longer used heroin and lived on a £70 a week disability allowance.In a 2010 interview, she commented on the press intrusion following her departure from EastEnders, saying: "I had a hard time when I left the show. There were stories about my drug addiction, and I was quite an innocent, even in my thirties. Some of the things written about me hurt me and made me quite ill. But I recovered and moved on to other things."
Ratcliff died in her sleep and her body was found on 6 April 2019. She was 70 years old.
Katherine Lucy Bridget Burke is an English actress, comedian, writer, producer, and director. She achieved fame with her appearances on sketch shows such as French and Saunders (1988–99) and her recurring role as Magda on the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992–96), as well as her frequent collaborations with fellow comedian Harry Enfield. For her portrayal of Valerie in the 1997 film Nil by Mouth, she won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Patsy Palmer is an English actress, model and DJ. Palmer made an early television appearance on the children's drama show Grange Hill, and later played Bianca Jackson in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Originally in the cast from 1993–1999, she returned to EastEnders in April 2008 before leaving again in September 2014. She has also appeared in a number of TV dramas, and released an autobiography, All of Me, in 2007.
June Muriel Brown, is an English actress, known for her role as Dot Cotton in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 1985 onwards. In 2005, she won Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards, and in the same year, also received the Lifetime Achievement award at the British Soap Awards. In 2009, she was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress, but lost out to Anna Maxwell Martin. She is only the second performer to receive a BAFTA nomination for their work in a soap opera.
Michelle Danielle Collins is an English actress and TV presenter, best known for her roles in the British soap operas EastEnders and Coronation Street.
Susan Tully is an English television producer, director and former actress.
Danniella Westbrook is an English actress and reality television personality. She played Samantha Mitchell in the BBC soap opera EastEnders in 1990–1993, 1995–1996, 1999–2000, 2009–2010 and 2016. Away from EastEnders she has presented various shows, and was also a contestant on the ITV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2003. She competed in the 2010 series of Dancing on Ice with US Pairs Skater Matthew Gonzalez and finished fourth in the competition. In 2013, she appeared in Hollyoaks as Trudy Ryan. In 2016, she took part in the seventeenth series of Celebrity Big Brother where she reached the final and finished in fifth place. On 27 February 2016, it was confirmed that Westbrook would return to EastEnders, very briefly with onscreen brother Grant, for the death of their onscreen mother Peggy Mitchell.
Charlene Emma "Charlie" Brooks is a British actress and model, known for playing Janine Butcher in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, and Tamora in the controversial play All in a Row by Alex Oates. Brooks portrayal of Janine has awarded Brooks with numerous awards, since her first appearance in 1999, with storylines involving cocaine addiction, prostitution and murder. Brooks has appeared in British television shows; The Bill, Wired and Bleak House. Brooks released a fitness DVD, "Before And After Workout", before winning the 2011 version of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and the twelfth series of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.
Susan Johnston, OBE is an English actress known for playing Sheila Grant in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside (1982–1990), Barbara Royle in the BBC comedy The Royle Family (1998–2012), Grace Foley in the BBC drama Waking the Dead (2000–2011), Gloria Price in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street (2012–2014) and Miss Denker in the ITV drama Downton Abbey (2014–2015). She won the 2000 British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actress and was nominated for the 2000 BAFTA TV Award for Best Comedy Performance for The Royle Family.
Prunella Mary Gee is an English actress, best known for her work in the 1970s and 1980s, and for the role of Doreen Heavey in Coronation Street, a part she first played in 1999. Doreen appeared in 17 episodes before returning as a permanent character in 2002 and 2003. She came back the following year for three episodes, proving to be Gee's final television role.
Vicki Fowler is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Emma Herry from the character's birth in 1986 to 1988, Samantha Leigh Martin from 1988 to 1995, and Scarlett Alice Johnson from 2003 to 2004. She is the daughter of Michelle Fowler and Den Watts. The character is born in the serial, conceived in a controversial storyline about teenage pregnancy. Exploiting a whodunnit angle, at the time of the first showing, viewers were not initially told who was the father, and press interest in the fledgling show escalated as journalists attempted to guess. The audience finally discovered his identity in October 1985 in episode 66. Written by series co-creator/script-editor Tony Holland and directed by co-creator/producer Julia Smith, it was considered a landmark episode in the show's history. Early suspects were Ian Beale and Kelvin Carpenter, but then four possible suspects are seen leaving the Square early in the episode: Tony Carpenter, Ali Osman, Andy O'Brien, and Den Watts. As Michelle waits by their rendezvous point, a car pulls up and the fluffy white legs of the soap landlord's poodle Roly leap out of a car to give it all away: Den Watts is the father of Michelle's baby. After this storyline the programme started to appear in newspaper cartoons as it moved more and more into the public mainstream.
Gillian Taylforth is an English actress. She is best known for her role as Kathy Beale on the BBC soap opera EastEnders, and has also appeared as Jackie Pascoe-Webb on ITV's Footballers' Wives (2002–2006), and more recently as Sgt. Nikki Wright in ITV's The Bill (2006–08). She has also appeared in film during her early career, has presented on ITV's Loose Women and appeared as a celebrity contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2008.
Lucy Renee Speed is an English actress best known for her television roles as Natalie Evans in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders, and as DS Stevie Moss in the ITV1 police drama series The Bill.
Mary Smith, also known as Mary the Punk, is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Linda Davidson, from 5 March 1985 to 26 May 1988. Punk Mary is Walford's original wild child. She often makes life difficult for herself due to her stubborn, defensive nature and she tends to feel that everyone around her is out to get her. In fact, Mary is her own worst enemy and most of her misfortune is down to her irresponsible behaviour and her inability to heed good advice. Davidson's return to the soap for a single episode was announced in December 2018. She returns for the funeral of Doctor Legg in episode 5871, originally broadcast on 19 February 2019.
Marge Green is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Pat Coombs. from 9 May 1989 to 8 February 1990. Introduced in 1989, elderly Marge is scripted as comical and timid. The character was one of many to be axed in 1990 when Michael Ferguson took over the role as executive producer from her introducer Mike Gibbon.
Donna Ludlow is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Matilda Ziegler. She appears between episodes 265 and 437 of EastEnders, originally appearing on screen from 27 August 1987 to 13 April 1989. Donna was scripted as a troubled individual, desperate for attention, but shunned by almost all who encountered her. In her storyline, after finding out she was conceived from rape and then rejected by her mother, Donna sets herself on a path of self-destruction. She turns to manipulation, blackmail and prostitution to fund her drug-habit, before choking to death on her own vomit in 1989.
Linda Davidson is a Canadian-British former actress and writer. She played the wayward punk, Mary Smith in the BBC soap opera, EastEnders. Mary was one of the serial's original characters; Davidson played her from March 1985 to May 1988. Away from EastEnders, Davidson appeared in various television programmes and on stage. However, she stopped performing in the late 1990s. She went on to work in digital media for the BBC and Channel 4, and later joined Discovery Communications.
Nej Adamson, also credited as Nejdet Salih, is a British actor.
Mehmet Osman is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Haluk Bilginer. Mehmet is portrayed as a charmer, rogue and a serial womaniser, and makes recurring appearances in EastEnders from 1985 to 1987, and then regularly until 1989.
Actress Sandy Ratcliff's life after leaving her role as Sue in 1989 reads like an Albert Square plotline. After struggling with heroin addiction, she played a starring role at the 1991 Old Bailey trial of her ex Michael Shorey, claiming they were making love at the time he was accused of killing two young women. He was jailed for life for murder. She now ekes out a living doing part time jobs and lives in a run-down ground floor flat on a busy road in North London with her partner.