Sandy Ratcliff was a member of the original Eastenders cast, and the first star of the show to find their life fodder for the tabloids. It was quite a life for them to delve into, though. Expelled from school at 14, she became a bassist for some minor rock bands before Lord Snowden picked her as one of the “faces of the 70s”. However, rather than modelling she took a path towards acting: she broke through with 1971’s Family Life, a Ken Loach-directed TV movie about mental health – an issue Ratcliff was very familiar with.
She was already a recovering heroin addict at the time she was fingered to be one of the original Eastenders cast as Sue Osman, the local cafe owner whose son’s cot death was one of the first of many cheerful light-hearted storylines down Walford way. She left the show in 1989, had given up acting by 1992 and spent much of the last 30 years in sheltered accommodation, on smack or giving an alibi to a multiple murderer.