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Monday, 16 December, 2002, 16:19 GMT
EastEnders' Mark to be killed off
Todd Carty as Mark Folwer in Eastenders
Todd Carty as Mark Fowler: Soon to leave the square for good
Mark Fowler, the EastEnders character played by Todd Carty who has been living with HIV for the last 12 years, is to be killed off.

He has been away from the series for some months, but the end will come - for good - in February.

He will leave Walford Square because he does not want his family to watch him die.

Mark's death, when it comes, will not be on-screen.

A spokeswoman for the show said: "There is now nothing more he can do medically to stop the advancement of the infection.

"Rather than see his family suffer from the deterioration of his health and eventual death, Mark decides to leave Walford to spend his remaining days seeing the world and coming to terms with his fate."

Mark was diagnosed with HIV several years ago in the soap. He started taking combination therapy in 1997, and is currently on his third course of the treatment.

'Terrific scripts'

Carty said: "Portraying someone with HIV has been very challenging at times but to learn Mark has been inspirational to real-life people with HIV is really humbling."

He added that in performing the role he had had "great fun, made some lovely friends and have been very lucky working with terrific scripts and storylines."

Recently, Mark Fowler married long-suffering Lisa, the former partner of EastEnders' bad boy Phil Mitchell, but left the Square when she returned to Phil.

Todd Carty became a household name in the late 70s when he played 'Tucker' Jenkins in the school series Grange Hill.

Carty has spent most of the last 15 years working on the show. His only major show outside the role was as the narrator of the BBC docu-soap Paddington Green.

In 1983 he starred in the fantasy film Krull.

See also:

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