Where London’s Burning cast are now – poker king, Ellie Goulding kiss and music star


London’s Burning brought sizzling drama into the safety of our living rooms for 14 years.

The legendary ITV drama started off as a two-hour TV movie in 1986 before turning into a weekly episodic drama based on the lives of members of the London Fire Brigade.

Across 14 explosive series there were a whopping 172 episodes which had us all on the edge of our seats until the show literally went out in a blaze of glory in 2002.

Originally filmed at Dockhead Fire Station in Bermondsey, filming took place in the actual mess, bay and watchroom throughout the first three series and actual firefighters worked shifts as extras.

But there was also an incredible cast playing a host of much-loved characters, who all had intriguing nicknames such as Poison, Rambo, Sicknote and Recall.

Here is a look at what happened to the cast once filming came to an end.

Glen Murphy – George Green

Glen Murphy was the longest-standing actor in the show

The only actor to appear in every series of London’s Burning, Glen Murphy played longest-serving character George Green.

A former boxer with a quick temper, George joined Blue Watch at the start of series 1 and was the only character to remain right until the very end.

The firefighter had a number of romances throughout the series, including a brief affair, but most famously married and had children with Kelly after meeting at a ballroom dancing class.

However, their marriage ended when Kelly had an affair with a Temporary Station Officer, although he did get his 20-year service medal in that series.

This is actor Glen Murphy’s most famous role, but he has also appeared in The Bill and Tank Malling.

In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for his charity work. He raised more than £1 million for good causes, often through charity sporting events and also acted as a patron for telephone helping SupportLinen and admitted to wanting to ‘kiss the queen’ when collecting his MBE.

Most recently, Murphy starred alongside his childhood pal Ray Winstone in 2014 thriller Lords of London.

Richard Walsh – Bert ‘Sicknote’ Quigley

Sicknote always had some sort of problem
Sicknote always had some sort of problem

Whether it be an ulcer or a headache, you would always hear ‘Sicknote’ complaining about it.

The chronic hypochondriac aspired to be a star of the stage, often making appearances alongside his wife Jean in the series, which other members of the crew would be forced to attend.

‘Sicknote’ also campaigned for a healthier lifestyle, attempting to introduce a smoking ban to Blackwall at one point and was also elected as a local councillor.

The character met a tragic end during series 12 when a Chinese fireworks factory exploded – meaning the last remaining character from the pilot movie was gone.

Actor Richard Walsh who took on the role has also made appearances in the movie Daddy’s Girl , TV series Doctors , Midsomer Murders and Genius.

Most recently, Walsh made a cameo appearance in Netflix series The Crown as Joe Gormley in 2019.

Ben Onwukwe – Stuart ‘Recall’ MacKenzie

Recall was a fearless firefighter
Recall was a fearless firefighter

‘Recall’ got his nickname because of his incredible photographic memory.

Having joined Blue Watch midway through series 4 as a replacement for Tony Sanderson, Recall survived a few near-death experiences in his time.

He almost faced dismissal from the brigade when he refused to shave off his beard, but that was forgotten once the crew tied him up and removed the facial hair on his behalf.

Recall’s time on the show came to a sad end as he split with his wife, then was due to marry again when he died of a heart attack the day before the wedding.

Ben Onwukwe, the actor man behind the character, has also starred in Casualty, Holby City, The Bill and Inspector Morse.

and ever since the end of London’s Burning has been keeping himself busy with a host of activities.

The soap star also popped up in Coronation Street, where he played Defence Barrister in six episodes from 2009 to 2013, and made appearance as Dessie Dunn in EastEnders.

In 2018 he starred as Eric Pratchett in Safe and in 2019 took on the role of W.E.B. Dubois in Hero – Inspired by the Extraordinary Life & Times of Mr Ulric Cross .

When not acting on screen, Onwukwe has recorded radio plays, narrated audiobooks and worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Michael Garner – Geoffrey ‘Poison’ Pearce

Poison saved a baby from a burning building
Poison saved a baby from a burning building

‘Poison’ got his nickname because he loved spreading gossip and malicious rumours around the station, as well as kissing up to the seniors.

Appearing from series 6 onwards, Poison joined Blue Watch as Leading Firefighter but rose to the rank of Sub Officer.

The character struggled to cope with the death of John Hallam and nearly left the brigade due to the guilt he felt.

Actor Michael Garner also did a tour of the soaps after London’s Burning with credits at Holby City , Casualty and Doctors , amongst others.

He also featured in pop star Ellie Goulding’s music video for ‘How Long Will I Love You?’ in 2013 as the man she kisses in a car park while undertaking a series of pranks.

Garner is also a man of the stage with a wide range of roles including a lot of William Shakespeare’s works, Educating Rita and even An Evening with Gary Lineker.

Connor Byrne – Rob ‘Hyper’ Sharpe

Connor Byrne is better known for his role on Tracy Beaker
Connor Byrne is better known for his role on Tracy Beaker

Connor Byrne played Hyper, who came out as gay to his colleagues in emotional scenes, during series 12 and 13.

He was promoted to Leading Firefighter but didn’t get a proper exit as he had left for unexplained reasons by the start of the final series.

Connor is better known for playing the iconic character of Mike Milligan in all three Tracy Beaker shows.

Mike was a care worker in The Story of Tracy Beaker back in 2002, then returned in series 5 as the new chef and went on to become head care worker.

He was back in spin-off series Tracy Beaker Returns in 2010 and Connor carried on playing Mike in The Dumping Ground before leaving the series in 2019 – making him the longest-standing cast member.

Connor found himself hitting the headlines in 2018 after weighing in on the Roxanne PallettCelebrity Big Brother ‘Punchgate’ scandal.

When Roxanne falsely accused housemate Ryan Thomas of ‘punching’ her during a play fight, Connor claimed she also falsely accused him of violence when they starred in panto in 2017.

According to Connor, the incident was a ‘carbon copy’ of what he claims happened whilst he and Roxanne were starring in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Ipswich Regent.

“Sad to say, from what I’ve heard, I had a very similar experience with this lady last year,” Connor tweeted.

The actor also played Geoff in three episodes of Emmerdale in 2019.

Ross Boatman – Kevin Medhurst

Ross Boatman as Derek in Mum
Ross Boatman as Derek in Mum

Featuring from series 1-8 and again in series 12, Kevin became a bit of a troublemaker during London’s Burning .

The firefighter would often question his superiors and fight with colleagues. Kevin came from a difficult childhood with a father in prison and he left the group after suffering heartbreak when splitting up with Remy – returning for Geoff Pearce’s wedding in series 12.

Ross Boatman is not only an actor but a professional poker player and a member of the Hendon Mob.

The Hendon Mob are a poker-playing group of four from London who became recognised when appearing on TV show Late Night Poker and for their appearances at the annual World Series of Poker.

Boatman has had success in the European Poker Tour and boasts several poker titles to his name.

When not practicing his poker face, Boatman has continued to make acting appearances since the show.

You might have seen Boatman making in soaps, as a Trader in 2014 film Paddington or as John in 2020 short film Bicycle Thief .

More notably, the actor portrayed Vic Morgan in 2020’s Grantchester for five episodes and appeared frequently as Derek in TV series Mum from 2016 to 2019.

Jerome Flynn – Kenny ‘Rambo’ Baines

Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn was in the movie
Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn was in the movie

Musclebound Rambo’ only featured in the TV movie of London’s Burning and was known for keeping fit in the gym.

But he is worth including because of Jerome Flynn’s notorious career since, having reached Number One with hit song Unchained Melody with pal Robson Green.

Flynn also acted in Soldier, Soldier , around the same time that the series of London Burning was airing, playing Paddy Garvey.

Many Game of Thrones fans will know him as loveable rogue Bronn, appearing in 37 episodes from 2011 to 2019.

He has also had roles in Ripper Street and an episode of Black Mirror in 2016.

Sean Blowers – John Hallam

Sean Blowers played John Hallam
Sean Blowers played John Hallam

John Hallam kept trying for a promotion across nine series but was never successful.

The uptight firefighter was traumatised after being buried alive when a wall collapsed at a shout in series 4 and took many months to recover.

He was brutally killed in series 9 when a gantry collapsed in a warehouse fire and he fell 80 feet to his death.

Actor Sean Blowers has also appeared in Crossroads, Doctor Who, EastEnders and Heartbeat.

He played Wyman Manderly in the finale of season 6 of Game of Thrones.

Heather Peace – Sally ‘Gracie’ Fields

Heather Peace went on to appear in Waterloo Road
Heather Peace went on to appear in Waterloo Road

Sally was late for work on her first day in series 11, but managed to make it all the way to series 14.

She had flings with her co-workers, but it was her flatmate Yvonne who caused most issues by meddling in her personal life because she was not accepted for the same job.
Actress Heather Peace played Nikki Boston in Waterloo Road and Sam Murray in Lip Service.
She has also appeared in Coronation Street, Heartbeat and Holby City, while also launching a career as a singer and releasing five of her own albums.

James Hazeldine – Mike ‘Bayleaf’ Wilson

James sadly passed away
James sadly passed away

A popular long-term member of Blue Watch, Bayleaf was mess manager until he left in series 8.

Bayleaf was involved in many dramatic storylines, such as being knocked unconscious when a wall collapsed and being buried alive.

Actor James Hazeldine, a star of stage and screen, was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and starred in Heartbeat and children’s series Chocky.

A day after playing Sigmund Freud in the play The Talking Cure in December 2002, the actor was taken ill and died a week later of an aortic dissection.

Trevor Nunn, director of the Royal National Theatre, described him as “a leading actor of minutely observed truthfulness, comic brio and emotional daring” who “was also a man of infectious enthusiasm, great warmth and humanity who was universally popular amongst his colleagues”.

Al Hunter Ashton – Raymond ‘Pitbull’ Darby

Pitbull was a bit of a bully
Pitbull was a bit of a bully

Pitbull was a loudmouthed bully who was always making fun of other people’s misfortunes.

Appearing from 1995 until 2001, Pitbull started a lot of trouble but did show compassion when Sally was raped.

Al Hunter Ashton, who appeared in the films Gladiator and Treasure Island, had roles in Emmerdale and Crossroads.

He was also a script writer – with credits such as Holby City, EastEnders and The Bill to his name.

Sadly, Ashton died of heart failure in his home in 2007.

Sam Callis

Sam Callis was one of the latecomers
Sam Callis was one of the latecomers

Adam was Sicknote’s replacement in the final two series of London’s Burning.

The ladies man’s plans once backfired when he got drugged by a woman in a pub who stole his wallet.

There was also a lot of awkwardness when his mother Elaine started dating his pal Recall.

Actor Sam Callis went on to play Callum Stone in The Bill and appeared in Holby City, Casualty and Doctor Who.

As well as appearing in the film Kidulthood, he’s turned his hand to directing short films.

Sam actually met his wife Osmin during his time on London’s Burning and they now have two children together.





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