Crime is very much a part of the daily digest on British soaps, whether it’s Coronation Street, Emmerdale, or EastEnders.
Every soap opera has a villain or two plotting their next deed, from petty thieves to gruesome murderers.
However, in a few rare instances, the stars of our favorite soap operas have strayed into real-life criminality.
Here are the soap stars who went off the rails, from sex pests to drug dealers, including one who committed murder.
Waterloo Road’s Craig Fitzpatrick
Craig Fitzpatrick, 34, a former Waterloo Road actor, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in December 2020 after threatening a family with a machete.
While high on drugs, the Oldham actor, who played Lewis Seddon in the BBC drama, smashed the victims’ windows with an 18-inch blade.
Coronation Street’s Bruno Langley
Bruno Langley was a fan favorite as Todd Grimshaw on Coronation Street.
After being accused of sexually assaulting two women in a nightclub, he was fired from the show in November 2017.
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He was sentenced to a £500 fine and a 12-month community order after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual assault against the two clubgoers.
EastEnders’ Joseph Shade
Joseph Shade, who starred in EastEnders from 1998 to 2004, is one of the many actors who have played Peter Beale over the years.
However, he was arrested in 2017 for sexual assaults on three girls aged 14 to 17.
Shade admitted to five counts of sexual activity with a child under the age of 18 while in a position of trust, as well as one count of sexual activity with a child.
- After Sherrie Hewson and Liz Dawn became stranded in New York, the bosses of Coronation Street threatened to fire them.
Five of the remaining counts were ordered to be kept on file.
Shade, who was 24 at the time, received an 18-month sentence suspended for 24 months, a five-year sexual harm prevention order, and 150 hours of unpaid work.
Jody Latham, EastEnders
Jody Latham, who starred in Shameless, also appeared in EastEnders in 2011 as Rob Grayson, Whitney Dean’s pimp.
In the same year, he was arrested in Stackstead, Lancashire, for growing cannabis at his girlfriend’s house.
Police seized 24 plants worth a total of £9,000 on the street.
The actor sobbed as the judge informed him that he would be spared from prison and that his 12-month sentence would be suspended for two years.
Coronation Street’s Chris Hargreaves
In the 1990s, actor Chris Hargreaves portrayed drug dealer and gangster Carl Foster on Coronation Street.
Hargreaves became a real-life drug dealer after leaving the soap, and he was arrested in 2012 after police discovered 3kg of high-grade cannabis during a raid on his family’s home in Salford.
At the house, they also discovered £38,000 in ‘dirty money’ stuffed into Tesco carrier bags, shoe boxes, and drawers.
He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
Tim Dowd, Coronation Street
Tim Dowd, despite not being in front of the camera, had a long career on the soaps, working on Emmerdale and Casualty before moving to Coronation Street, where he spent 24 years.
However, in 2018, the cast and crew of the soap were shocked when he was arrested for child grooming after a sting in which a police officer pretended to be a 13-year-old girl online.
- Daisy Midgeley leaves the cobbles as Jenny Connor seeks vengeance, according to spoilers from Coronation Street.
During chats, he had requested indecent photos and attempted to get the ‘girl’ to engage in phone sex.
The officer involved told the court that the ‘teenager’ told Dowd she was 13 and that he ‘didn’t have a problem with it.’
Leslie Grantham, Eastenders
Leslie Grantham, better known as Dirty Den on EastEnders, served ten years in prison for murder from 1967 to 1977.
Following an altercation in which the actor attempted to rob a taxi driver in Germany, the driver died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Despite his denials that the gun had bullets in it, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to prison.
He acted in plays with other inmates while in prison, and he even became friends with his former EastEnders co-star Louise Jameson after her visits to the prison.
He trained as an actor after his release and landed his role on Eastenders in 1984.