Belfast Telegraph

Original EastEnders cast member Sandy Ratcliff dies aged 70

Ratcliff’s Sue Osman was at the heart of one of the soap’s first mental health storylines.

Sandy Ratcliff, second from left, along with fellow cast members and former BBC1 controller Michael Grade (PA)
Sandy Ratcliff, second from left, along with fellow cast members and former BBC1 controller Michael Grade (PA)

Sandy Ratcliff, one of EastEnders’ original cast members, has died aged 70.

The actress appeared as cafe owner Sue Osman from the first episode of the BBC soap in 1985 until her departure in 1989.

An inquest into her death at Poplar Coroners Court was adjourned until October 3 pending tests, according to a spokeswoman for the coroner.

At the time of her death she owned a property in north London but was reportedly being cared for in sheltered accommodation.

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Sandy Ratcliff, second from the right, with other original cast members at Elstree Studios in 1984 (PA)

A spokesman for EastEnders said: “We are saddened to hear about the passing of Sandy Ratcliff. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

Ratcliff, born Alexandra Ratcliff on October 2 1948, was known for her turn as the long-suffering wife of temperamental minicab boss Ali Osman, played by Nejdet Salih.

Her alter-ego was at the centre of one of EastEnders’ bleakest storylines, which saw her on-screen baby die from cot death syndrome in June 1985.

Things didn’t improve when she got pregnant again – her marriage broke down, she suffered mental illness and was sectioned.

Off-screen, Ratcliff struggled with heroin addiction and was written out of the programme after four years on Albert Square.

Her acting career started with a turn in Ken Loach’s Family Life in 1971 where she played a schizophrenic teenage girl.

She also had a successful modelling career and appeared alongside Michael Gambon in a 1992 television version of Maigret.

PA

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