Not to be confused with Arthur Fowler, the 2015 character.
|Portrayed by||Bill Treacher|
|Introduced by|| Tony Holland |
|First Appearance||19th February 1985|
|Last Appearance||21st May 1996 (Deceased)|
|Date of Birth||19 August 1943|
|Date of Death||20 May 1996|
|Occupation|| Manufacturer (1969-1984) |
Temporary Bartender (1985)
Road Sweeper (1993-1996)
Arthur was born in 1943 and grew up in Walford. He met Pauline Beale at school and started dating her in 1964 when he was 21. He proposed to her when she was upset about being too ill to be her sister Dora's bridesmaid. They married on 22 September 1965 and lived at 45 Albert Square with their three children: Mark, Michelle and Martin as well as Pauline's mother Lou Beale until her death in 1988.
Arthur worked as a skilled labourer in a local toy factory for 15 years until he was made redundant in 1984. At age 43 he had no prospects for steady employment and his main source of support was state benefits. His inability to hold down a steady job was of paramount concern to his interfering mother-in-law Lou and he was often on the receiving end of her sharp tongue.
Arthur's greatest pleasure is gardening and in 1985, he obtains a spot in the local allotment, which he regularly uses as a foil to escape his nagging wife and his equally nagging mother-in-law.
Over the years Arthur finds a steady stream of odd jobs to keep him occupied. He works for Tony Carpenter as his helper, deliveryman and as a road sweeper in the Turpin Road Market. For a brief period in 1986, he is also employed by Walford Cleaning Services to clean the local schools.
Arthur initially has a distant relationship with his son, Mark, and is unable to keep him in check when he turns to crime in 1985. After some time apart Mark returns to the Square with the news that he is HIV positive in 1991. Arthur has a difficult time accepting his son's illness and his lack of education concerning HIV leads him to react in trepidation. Mark eventually helps him come to terms with his status, and he and Arthur enjoy a close relationship in the following years.
Arthur's lack of employment becomes a huge problem for him in 1986 when his daughter, Michelle, announces her engagement to Lofty Holloway. Desperate to give his daughter a wedding that the family can be proud of, Arthur decides to take money from the Walford residents' Christmas Club savings scheme that he has been running. However, with Christmas fast approaching, Arthur realizes that he will have to do something to explain the lack of money in the account to everyone that contributed. In early November, Arthur announces to the members that he has withdrawn the money, then stages a fake burglary at his house and tells the police that the Christmas Club money has been stolen. However, Arthur's attempts to make the robbery look legitimate fail, and the police soon realize that Arthur is the culprit. When questioned by the police, he soon confesses and after his arrest he becomes severely morose, withdrawn, and depressed. This culminates in Arthur finally having a nervous breakdown on Christmas Day and smashing his living room to pieces in a violent rage. By early 1987, Arthur has become so despondent that he is admitted to hospital. He returns to the Square the following spring to stand trial for the theft of the Christmas Club money. Despite Arthur having the whole community behind him, he is sent to prison for 28 days. After his release, he makes things worse by borrowing money from a loan shark.
In 1991, Arthur starts his own gardening business and is awarded a contract to maintain the Albert Square gardens. This leads to Arthur being employed by lonely divorcee Christine Hewitt. Christine and Arthur soon become friends and Christine becomes Arthur's assistant. In May, Pauline goes to New Zealand to care for her brother, Kenny Beale, who has been in a car accident. In Pauline's absence, Christine becomes a regular visitor to Albert Square and becomes very fond of Arthur. By Christmas, Arthur and Christine embark on an affair. Christine begins to crave more commitment and when he refuses, she gets a job at Kathy Beale's café so she can be as close to him. The affair continues until Kathy sees them kissing and forces a confession from Christine. Faced with the threat that Pauline may find out, Arthur begins to cool their romance. Christine, sensing that she is losing Arthur, becomes emotionally erratic and begins to drink heavily, stalks Arthur around the square and attempts to buy the affections of his youngest son, Martin. This only infuriates Arthur.
As a last resort Christine threatens to tell Pauline, unless Arthur tells her about their affair. Arthur finally admits the truth to Pauline, but tells her that he wants her and not Christine. Hurt, embarrassed, and angry, Pauline responds by hitting Arthur in the face with a frying pan and then throwing him out of their home.
Arthur is forced to move in with his son, Mark, and he spends the rest of the year desperately trying to convince Pauline that it is her he wants. Pauline and Arthur eventually reconcile when he helps her deal with the death of her brother, Pete. In December 1993, Arthur moves back into No 45 but him and Pauline have separate beds. The affair is never allowed to be forgotten, however, particularly when Pauline's relative Nellie Ellis comes to lodge and discovers his escapades.
Throughout 1994, Arthur is constantly being nagged by Nellie Ellis. In February 1994 Arthur pretends to write her a letter from the council saying she has to go back to her empty flat in Ilford. She says she will go home and Arthur is gleeful but his happiness is short lived when Nellie says she will come and live with them at No 45. In March 1994, Arthur and Pauline reconcile. Hapless Arthur is involved in a car crash which injures his neck and the car was not insured. Arthur is later fined.
In 1995, Arthur is elected secretary of the allotment committee, and starts raising money to create a new eco-friendly, urban garden, which is named the Flowering Wilderness Fund. Arthur attends a funeral later that year and runs into an old friend, Willy Roper, who takes a keen interest in Arthur's financial dealings. By the end of the year Arthur has managed to raise twenty thousand pounds for the garden, and this is enough to tempt Willy to crime.
Willy was the sole carer of his senile mother, and desperate to get the funds to pay for her placement at a nursing home, he decides to con Arthur into signing the fund money into various accounts, and then leaves Arthur to deal with the consequences when the money is declared missing. For a second time, Arthur is faced with a police investigation, which mentions his first one back in 1986, and with all the evidence stacked against him, he is soon arrested in early December 1995. The usually cheerful Arthur sinks into depression. At a court hearing, Arthur is refused bail, and ends the year behind bars.
This is too much for Arthur, who is unable to face the prospect of serving a prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit, and upon his imprisonment he suffers a mental breakdown and refuses any contact with his family. On Christmas Day 1995, he is thrown out of a queue for the phones by a fellow inmate. Later that day he phones Pauline saying for her not to see him again.
Not content with putting Arthur in prison, Willy spends the beginning of 1996 trying to woo Pauline in Arthur's absence, even taking her on holiday to Jersey. Mark is suspicious as to why Willy is trying to come onto Pauline, and wonders if he had anything to do with the stolen money. However, wooing Pauline proves to be Willy's undoing, after Mark correctly surmises that his real motive is to put the stolen money in an off-shore account under a false name. The evidence continues to stack up when Pauline discovers counterfeit credit cards on Willy. Willy is eventually arrested and charged, and Arthur is cleared.
However, before the family can pass on the good news, they are told that Arthur has been involved in a huge prison riot. Arthur is released from prison the next day, but he had received a nasty blow to the head in the riot, although no one realises the seriousness of his injury until it is too late. A few days after his release in May 1996, Arthur returns home, but still seems to be distant from everyone. He goes to the allotment but while on there he suffers a brain haemorrhage, and dies the next day in hospital.
Arthur's funeral is delayed pending an inquest, but the jury eventually returns a verdict of accidental death, much to the disgust of Mark and Pauline, who believe that the prison services neglected to seek proper medical help for Arthur. In June 1996 at Arthur's funeral, Willy Roper, who has been released on bail, turns up and Mark punches him.
A bench is placed in dedication to his memory in Albert Square, the dedication is entitled "Arthur Fowler: He loved this place".
On 12 June 2007, after Pauline's death, Dot Cotton buried her ashes at Arthur's grave, leaving them together again.