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EastEnders star Nick Berry, 57, looks unrecognisable as he sports a white beard at the tip

He shot to fame after portraying Simon Wicks in EastEnders and Sergeant Nick Rowan in Heartbeat in the 80s and 90s.

And Nick Berry looked worlds away from his characters as he cut a very casual figure during a trip to a tip in Essex on Tuesday.

The former heartthrob, 57, was almost unrecognisable as he sported a white beard and grey locks while dropping off some old bits of furniture.

Casual: Nick Berry looked worlds away from his former heartthrob TV characters as he cut a very casual figure during a trip to a tip in Essex on Tuesday

Nick, who made his last TV appearance in 2012 at the funeral of his on-screen EastEnders’ mother Pat Butcher, looked relaxed in a khaki jacket and black jumper.

He ensured to stay safe amid the UK’s lockdown and don a facemask after getting out of his car as well as sticking to all social distancing regulations.

The former actor, who quit the profession in 2003 to be a stay-at-home dad, was seen dropping off two large bags during the tip run.

Nick had a stellar acting career on British television but stepped away from the screen aged 39 to raise his two sons.     

So different! The former actor, 57, looked almost unrecognisable with a white beard and grey locks

Major role: Nick found fame as Simon Wicks in EastEnders in 1985

So different! The former actor, 57, looked almost unrecognisable as he sported a white beard and grey locks while dropping off some old bits of furniture (right, on EastEnders in the 80s)

Errands: Nick ensured he stayed safe amid the coronavirus pandemic as he donned a face mask for the tip run

Errands: Nick ensured he stayed safe amid the coronavirus pandemic as he donned a face mask for the tip run 

After springing to fame as Simon Wicks in EastEnders in 1985, Berry left in 1990 and decamped to the Yorkshire Dales for a six year stint as Heartbeat’s Sergeant Nick Rowan, before taking on the role of harbour master Mike Nicholls in Harbour Lights. 

He reached heartthrob status with hordes of screaming fans besieging the BBC studios where the soap was filmed.

There was even a brief pop career too: in 1986 Berry released a single, Every Loser Wins, which became the second biggest-selling record in the UK that year. 

Clearing out: He carried two large bags out of the vehicle

Clearing out: He carried two large bags out of the vehicle

Fame: Nick also played Heartbeat's Sergeant Nick Rowan for six years in the early 90s

Career: He then left Heartbeat (pictured) to be harbour master Mike Nicholls in Harbour Lights

Fame: Nick also played Heartbeat’s Sergeant Nick Rowan for six years in the early 90s

Good ole days: Nick even tried his hand at singing and in 1986 released a single, Every Loser Wins, which became the second biggest-selling record in the UK that year

Good ole days: Nick even tried his hand at singing and in 1986 released a single, Every Loser Wins, which became the second biggest-selling record in the UK that year

Save for filming police drama In Deep as police detective Liam Ketman alongside Stephen Tompkinson, which ran from 2001-2003, Berry disappeared from view, turning his back on acting to become a stay-at-home father to his two sons Louis, now 25, and 22-year-old Finley.

At one point, he was rumoured to have been offered a £2 million golden-handcuffs deal by EastEnders executives when he resigned in the late Eighties. 

He was said to have amassed an estimated £5 million from his time in the spotlight – enough to fund a rambling house in Epping, Essex, and a beach house in Hove. 

Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2011 about his decision to step away from the spotlight, he said: ‘I chose to be a stay-at-home dad and have loved it. I always said that when the boys were teenagers I could go back, but the longer you don’t do something the harder it is to do it, and I haven’t really missed it. 

Quiet life: However after earning a reported £2m, Nick decided to step away from the screen and focus on raising his two sons (pictured at the tip on Tuesday)

Quiet life: However after earning a reported £2m, Nick decided to step away from the screen and focus on raising his two sons (pictured at the tip on Tuesday)

Laid back: The former actor took off his mask as he stepped towards the boot of his car

Easy going: He stayed warm in the chilly climes with a black zip-up jumper

Laid back: The former actor took off his mask as he stepped towards the boot of his car

Throwback: Nick played Simon on EastEnders in 1985 (also pictured L-R: Leslie Grantham, Anita Dobson, Tom Watt, Gretchen Franklin and Gillian Taylforth)

Throwback: Nick played Simon on EastEnders in 1985 (also pictured L-R: Leslie Grantham, Anita Dobson, Tom Watt, Gretchen Franklin and Gillian Taylforth)

‘While I’d never say never, I’m genuinely happy as I am.’ 

‘The job was great. You’re driven everywhere, fed every five minutes and told what to do and where to go. What I struggled with was that the boys were very young and I felt like I was away filming all the time. 

‘I’d been blessed with these little people and yet I wasn’t really there. I realised I wanted to be at home.’ 

Despite his spectacular screen success, east London-born Berry said he wasn’t a natural actor. 

‘I was never that comfortable in the spotlight. Some of the egos you can do without. A lot of actors take themselves so seriously but, by and large, you’re getting paid to show off.’  

Short revival: Nick made his last TV appearance in 2012 at the funeral of his on-screen EastEnders' mother Pat Butcher (pictured on Loose Women in 2011)

Short revival: Nick made his last TV appearance in 2012 at the funeral of his on-screen EastEnders’ mother Pat Butcher (pictured on Loose Women in 2011)


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