British actor
Born June 28, 1968
In Walthamstow, London, England.

Adam Woodyatt is best known for playing Ian Beale, the creepy would-be capitalist in the British television soap opera EastEnders. An authentic eastender in real life, Adam has been in the show since it started in February 1985.

Ian Beale

Ian is a study in repulsiveness, and a constant source of humour. He is pathetic, egotistical and fixated on revenge for real and imaginary wrongs. This behaviour may be partly explained by childhood bullying and a lifetime of failure and humiliation especially by women. In his favour, he has great drive and ambition and refuses to ever give up, no matter how horrible a situation he puts himself into.

Born in 1969 the child of Kathy and Pete Beale, all Ian's adult life has been spent in and around Albert Square. Despite his numerous money-making schemes, he seems likely to be stuck there until he dies. Over the years, he has worked mostly as a self-employed entrepreneur. His business ventures have been numerous, including stints as a caterer and loan shark, but more recently he was reduced to running a fish and chip shop.

Ian has married three times. The first two were improbably glamorous, Cindy Williams (Michelle Collins) and Melanie Healy (Tamzin Owthwaite), but the third was his former nanny Laura Dunn (Hannah Waterman), who proved a better match in vindictiveness and viewer-annoyingness. He fathered two children by Cindy, as well as raising Cindy's son Steven.

Classic Ian Beale storylines

One early disaster was his marriage to the fairly gorgeous but evil Cindy, who had unfortunately become pregnant with Simon Wicks's (Nick Berry) baby. Nonetheless, he raised Steven as his own, for all the thanks he got.

Wicksy tried to murder him by fixing the brakes on his van, but Ian has so far proved indestructible.

Cindy also had a go at him, hiring a hitman to take him out, but he survived and retained custody of their children Lucy and Peter.

Improbably, the very lovely (and actually nice) Mel Healy (Tamsin Outhwaite) also agreed to marry him rather than swaggering club-owner Steve Owen (Martin Kemp). Having second thoughts, she tried to get out of it, but Ian told her his daughter was dying of cancer so she'd have pity on him. On the wedding day, Ian gloated to Steve that she preferred him, but Mel found out the truth almost immediately, and dumped him.

Raising his children alone, there was the beginnings of a romance between Ian and his nanny Laura, in which Ian as usual left it to the last possible moment to let Laura know he felt anything.

While married to Laura, he paid Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) for sex, despite he and Laura being in the midst of a hate-campaign against her.

Following a domestic row, he secretly had a vasectomy so he wouldn't give Laura any children. A few weeks later he found out she was pregnant and he knew he couldn't be the father. The trouble was, he couldn't confront Laura about her infidelity without explaining how he had got the snip.

He found out Lynne Slater's husband Gary Hobbs (Ricky Groves) was the real father of Laura's baby and took his revenge. After trying to drive Laura away and stealing the business from her, he made Gary his personal slave. And then told the Slaters the truth about Gary.

Other Woodyatt

Adam has not done much work outside EastEnders - he has been in the show almost continuously since 1985. However, he has found time for pantomines such as Aladdin, Mother Goose and Cinderella, and the musical Oliver!. He has also presented Value For Money, Dreamhouse and National Lottery Live on television.

In 1993 he played Ian in a Doctor Who spoof for charity telethon Comic Relief. Adam has proved more charitable than the character he plays: in 2000, he also appeared on and won a special Comic Relief edition of The Weakest Link competing against seven other EastEnders actors. This victory was despite his superstitious refusal to speak the name of the play Macbeth.

Before EastEnders, his only TV credit was in children's drama The Baker Street Boys in 1983. This show depicted the adventures of a bunch of Victorian children who were loosely acquainted with Sherlock Holmes and often went off solving crimes on their own.

Additional trivia: despite being one of the few actors on EastEnders to come from the east end of London, he is a devoted follower of Liverpool Football Club. On April 8, 1998, he married dancer Beverley Sharp in Walt Disney World in Florida, USA. They have two children at the time of writing.

Main sources

  • BBC. "BBC Online - EastEnders". (5 February 2003).
  • "Internet Movie Database". (5 February 2003).
  • "TV Cream". (5 February 2003).