Steve McFadden has played tough guy Phil Mitchell for almost 30 years – but how much do you know about the EastEnders star?

1. Steve has loads of fans, especially students!

Who do uni students love more? Steve McFadden or the character he plays, Phil Mitchell? We’re not actually sure! But the man has a big fan following and has previously been booked for personal appearances at university campuses across the country. Let’s face it, if you’re a fresher and you get a selfie taken with Steve/Phil during your first week, it’s gonna be tough to top that experience!

2. Steve likes to be beside the seaside

When Steve’s not filming EastEnders, it’s quite likely you’ll find him fishing or sailing down in Falmouth, Cornwall as he loves being out on the water.

“I first went to Falmouth in 1966, I was fishing in the harbour at Falmouth Bay when I was six,” Steve told Cornwall Alive. “I’ve got a little boat down there, a place to stay and loads of friends and family. I get down as often as I can. It’s my second home, if it wasn’t for EastEnders it would be my first choice of residence, but because of the show I have to be in London more.”

3. Steve sung a cover version of Sia’s Cheap Thrills on the radio!

What are the chances of seeing Steve appear on ITV’s The Voice one day? After all, he has performed a cover version of Sia’s hit single, Cheap Thrills live on Capital FM radio. We reckon the Aussie songstress should hit Steve up for a duet!

4. Meet the Super Mitchell Bros!

Steve’s character Phil is the inspiration behind the genius website that is Utter Philth – a collection of animated memes and gifs dedicated to the EastEnders tough guy.

“About ten years ago I did a few photoshopped film posters with Steve Mcfadden’s Phil in, and every now and then would do one just to email to mates for a laugh,” explains site creator Douggy Pledger in an interview with Vice. “I had enough together to start off a website, then just got a bit carried away.”

We’d be happy watching this Super Mitchell Bros video several times a day. Check out the bit where Phil collides with Dot and she goes, ‘Ooh, I say!’

5. He made his first appearance in EastEnders on 20th February 1990

Steve’s first appearance as Phil Mitchell was shown on 20th February 1990. His onscreen brother Grant (played by Ross Kemp) arrived a couple of days later, and it wasn’t long before the residents of Albert Square fell for the cheeky charm of the burly brothers, unaware of the havoc the Mitchell brothers would wreck on Walford in the years to come!

“I had this really difficult line. It was ‘This place is ripe for the picking’ which is an awkward bit of phrasing,” he told us once. “I was really nervous. EastEnders started when I was at RADA aged 25 and each day I was coming home and watching it as I was learning to act. And then, after two years as a jobbing actor, there I was with all these famous people. I was only supposed to be there for three months with an option to stay three more, but they liked Phil and Grant and that was quickly extended to two years and it’s just rolled on.”

6. Steve played a copper in ITV’s The Bill

Before he was in EastEnders, Steve had guest roles in other telly shows including BBC 1’s Bergerac and ITV’s Minder and The Bill. Plus did you know, Steve has also voiced characters in the popular Grand Theft Auto video games series?

7. Steve is the king of panto

Steve McFadden as Captain Hook
Steve takes a break from EastEnders every year to appear in panto. This Christmas he’ll play the villain King Rat in the panto Dick Whittington at The Mayflower Theatre in Southhampton. It will be his 11th panto appearance.

“It’s different from doing EastEnders,” Steve said when he played Captain Hook in Plymouth last year. “It’s lovely to have the live audience and it’s a completely different skillset, so they’re barely comparable. That said I do bring some Phil Mitchell onto the stage, and a bit of Steve and a bit of Hook as well, that’s what people get! A bit of fear and a bit of fun.”

EastEnders continues on BBC1.