|Rosa di Marco|
|Portrayed by||Louise Jameson|
|First Appearance||29 January 1998|
|Last Appearance||3 August 2000|
Character creation and development
The Italian di Marco family were introduced early in 1998 by Series Producer Jane Harris. The di Marcos were a family of eight, consisting of grandparents Bruno and Luisa, their daughter-in-law Rosa, her children Beppe, Gianni, Teresa and Nicky, and Beppe's young son Joe. They were heralded as the "family that would rival the Mitchells", one of the most successful and long-running families to have been featured in EastEnders.
The di Marcos "landed with an almighty thud in January , turning out in force for the funeral of patriarch Giuseppe", who was Rosa's husband and an old business associate of the character George Palmer (Paul Moriarty). The following month, the family moved to the area in which the soap is set, Walford, to run an Italian restaurant, which was named Giuseppe's.
The di Marcos remained with the show as a unit until 2000, when the new executive producer, John Yorke, decided to cull the majority of the family. All except Beppe (Michael Greco) and his son Joe (Jake Kyprianou) were written out. They were reportedly "slaughtered because of a shortage of ideas for what to do with them". A source allegedly told The Mirror: "It's always unpleasant having to say goodbye to people who have given loyal service to the show for a number of years. But John Yorke feels it's time to make his mark on the show. Every new producer likes to do the same. John wants to introduce a new family later this year and felt the Di Marcos had nowhere else to go. Their storylines were beginning to feel tired and that's a good time to make such a drastic change...There is a lot of sympathy for actress Louise Jameson because her character was two-dimensional from the start. Nagging, moaning mums are not viewer-friendly. There was nothing sexy or appealing about Rosa through no fault of Louise." However an official BBC spokesperson at the time commented: "These changes…are just part of [John Yorke's] plans to revamp the series and give it a new look." The cuts paved the way for the arrival of the "hugely popular" Slater family. Beppe and Joe remained until 2002, when they were axed too.
Rosa first appeared when George Palmer and Peggy Mitchell attended her husband's funeral in January 1998, and later moved to Walford in February 1998 along with the rest of her family consisting of two sons Beppe and Gianni and two daughters Teresa and Nicki.
She set up her own restaurant called Giuseppe's, named after her late husband. She was helped in setting up the restaurant by George. It was later revealed that she and George had a fling many years ago during the time her husband Giuseppe was in prison. This led George to believe that Rosa's son Gianni could be his son rather than Giuseppe's. This shock led to Gianni breaking up with George's daughter Annie Palmer after it was feared they had been having an incestuous affair. But DNA tests later confirmed that Gianni is really Giuseppe's son which relieved both Rosa and Gianni.
Jeff Healy had a crush on her but Rosa rejected his advances.
After daughter Nicky claimed she was assaulted by her mathematics tutor Rod Morris and later admitted she hadn't told the whole truth (but was still assaulted) and then dissowned the family when they said she was lying, Rosa decided the whole family should leave Walford to move to Leicester and besides Beppe the entire family left Walford in August 2000.
Rosa died from a heart attack two years later at the age of 50, and Beppe joined the surviving members of the family in Leicester.
The di Marcos are now deemed as something of a failure for EastEnders. Since their departure, the family has even been mocked in an EastEnders official book, entitled EastEnders 20 Years In Albert Square. In the book, the author, Rupert Smith, writes :"Nobody really knew what to do with the di Marco family, who had been languishing in the pizza restaurant without a decent storyline between them. Finally, there was nothing else for it: the di Marcos would have to go. All of them…it was as if they'd never been".
Matthew Baylis of The Guardian has commented on their lack of success: "Thank heaven for off-screen uncles. As we saw during the hurried departure of the di Marco family from Albert Square, there's nothing like a fictitious relative when you need to get characters off the screen…The di Marcos' departure had its dodgy elements. A hitherto unheard-of uncle needs help in his restaurant, so the whole family ups sticks. Including Teresa - who'd always fought for independence from her family? Rosa, who presumably owned the house she'd transformed into something resembling an Imperial Palace, is suddenly prepared to leg it with a couple of suitcases? There was plenty that didn't ring true. But few viewers minded. There was, if anything, more sympathy for the programme-makers, trying valiantly to dispose of this singularly unpopular family while retaining an element of drama."
The di Marcos have been dismissed as "unconvincing characters". Baylis goes on to highlight a problem that he feels "dogged the whole family", their occupation as restaurateurs. Baylis believes this kept them "self-contained", and prevented them from establishing meaningful links with other characters. He explains: "[The di Marcos] had an ambiguity, heightened by the job they did. Soapland has no place for grey areas. Bad things happen to bad people. They also happen to good people, of course, but not for very long. To make this predictable universe work on the screen, you need characters who are relatively stable (even if they are unstable). The writers and the viewers buy into a myth that people aren't particularly complex, that the full range of their feelings and actions can be revealed in a few hours on the TV. And a quick, visible way of revealing characters is to mirror them in their occupation. Thus we have Pauline Fowler, long-suffering drudge and matriarch. What better job than folding pants all day in the launderette? Or Peggy [Mitchell] - tough but fun-loving and gregarious. So she runs the pub. But what attributes spring to mind when we think of Italian restaurants? Fond of pasta, perhaps? Permanently overworked? The job never provided an easy route into understanding the di Marcos' characters…The most visible jobs tend to be taken by the strongest, most vivid characters. Confined to their restaurant, the di Marcos could only become involved in Walford life when other characters came over to eat a carbonara. And how often do working-class East End people do that? If any di Marco wanted a night out, a pint in the Vic, a clandestine liaison, then an excuse had to be found as to why they weren't working. Transforming Giuseppe's into a daytime sandwich bar, and sending Teresa onto the market were bold rescue attempts, but they came too late. The viewers had already decided they didn't much care…Because of their jobs, the di Marcos became a largely self-contained unit…"