EastEnders star James Alexandrou’s life now and why didn’t he return to soap as Martin Fowler

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James Alexandrou was once one of Britain’s most recognisable soap stars playing Martin Fowler in EastEnders for over a decade.

The actor played Pauline Fowler’s son between 1995 and 2007 before deciding not to return to Walford when the offer was made in 2014.

He’s now 34, still passionate about acting and is currently studying for a Masters degree in directing TV and film.

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Jon Peyton Price previously played Martin, the first baby to be born on the soap and James took over the role in 1995.

After 12 years in Walford, James left EastEnders in 2007 age 21 to pursue other acting projects.

He said at the time: “I owe everything to the show and would love to come back one day – that's if EastEnders would have me."

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Bosses left the door open by sending Martin Fowler off travelling with his on-screen wife Sonia Fowler, played by Natalie Cassidy.

However, when the role returned in 2014, James gave bosses his blessing to recast Martin Fowler, and James Bye took over the part.

The actor felt that returning to the role that made him famous would be "like someone asking you to go back to school".

Explaining it wasn't the right time in his life, he said: "They were talking for a while about me going back.

"They made it very clear that they were bringing the character back and they would really like me to go back, but it just wasn't right for me at the time."

"The attraction in it would be to see some of my old mates and have a bit of nostalgia, and that wasn't enough at the time to do it."

James decided to leave EastEnders in the past and pursue other acting work.

He appeared in Silent Witness and one episode of Casualty, however, mainly focused on theatre acting in several West End productions and Shakespeare plays including taking on the role of Iago in Othello.

When James left EastEnders, he was dating his then costar Kara Tointon who played Dawn Swan.

The couple split up in 2011 although insisted at the time that they'd left things amicable.

In 2009, James was reunited with his EastEnders costar Natalie Cassidy to star in comedy shorts for BBC Raw Words.

However, more recently, James has taken a step behind the camera and gained credits as a scriptwriter and writes and directs his own award-winning short films.

James has also produced a music video for popstar Ann Marie.

He’s currently studying an MA in Directing Fiction at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield.

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