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Sandy Ratcliff, 70, heroin/booze-addicted UK TV actress (irug cast, EastEnders) -- wow!
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That Derek
2019-04-09 03:15:36 UTC
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/8819007/sandy-ratcliff-dead-eastenders-sue-osman/

TRAGIC ENDER Sandy Ratcliff dead at 70 – EastEnders legend who starred in original cast dies in care home after a life battling booze and drugs

The star who played cafe owner Sue Osman in the soap from 1985 until 1989 passed away in a care home in Stamford Hill, North London

Exclusive
By Carri-Ann Taylor and Emma James

8th April 2019, 10:31 pm
Updated: 9th April 2019, 2:36 am

ONE of the original stars of EastEnders has died in a care home after a life battling booze and drugs.

Sandy Ratcliff, 70, played Sue Osman from the first episode of the BBC1 soap in 1985 until 1989.

She had one of its first hard-hitting storylines when she lost a baby to cot death, sparking a fight with mental health problems.

Meanwhile Sandy had demons in real life too.

In September 1988 The Sun told how she had a boozy bust-up with her boyfriend on holiday in Tenerife.

The next year the mum-of-one was forced out of the soap by heroin addiction.

In 1991 she appeared at the Old Bailey trial of an ex and claimed they were making love at the time he was accused of strangling two young women in the basement they shared in North London.

Her story was shot down and Michael Shorey was jailed for life.

TEARS FOR WALFORD STAR SUE

Sandy went on to suffer strokes and was diagnosed with cancer, but a pal said: “She was still smoking 20 a day and had only just replaced her whisky with tea.”

Last night Nejdet Salih, who played her on-screen hubby Ali, said: “It’s very sad. I remember the first time I auditioned for the show, we had this instant chemistry and banter.

“I was a young actor and she helped me develop so much.

“We had a lot of fun on the show and had some really good storylines.

“Obviously the cot death storyline was massive and really important. We wanted to do the best job we could.

“I remember going to her flat to rehearse lines and her son William and boyfriend Tony would be there.

"She was a great mum. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for William.

“She would try to take younger actors under her wing and had a great sense of humour.

“At the end of the show I think she had had enough, there was a lot of pressure on us back then. I think she just wanted to go.”

Last night a pal said Sandy had been clean of drugs for some years but poor health forced her to quit her flat in Stamford Hill, North London.

SOAP ORIGINAL'S FIGHT WITH HEROIN

They said she had three strokes in five years and had been forced to move out of her flat in and into sheltered housing nearby.

The friend said 92-year-old June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in the soap and whose own health is failing, had continued to visit until recently.

They added: “Sandy had suffered three strokes in the space of about five years, and she had been diagnosed with cancer.

“She would just get on with it really. Sh
She had one of its first hard-hitting storylines when she lost a baby to cot death, sparking a fight with mental health problems.

Meanwhile Sandy had demons in real life too.

In September 1988 The Sun told how she had a boozy bust-up with her boyfriend on holiday in Tenerife.

The next year the mum-of-one was forced out of the soap by heroin addiction.

In 1991 she appeared at the Old Bailey trial of an ex and claimed they were making love at the time he was accused of strangling two young women in the basement they shared in North London.

Her story was shot down and Michael Shorey was jailed for life.

TEARS FOR WALFORD STAR SUE

Sandy went on to suffer strokes and was diagnosed with cancer, but a pal said: “She was still smoking 20 a day and had only just replaced her whisky with tea.”

Last night Nejdet Salih, who played her on-screen hubby Ali, said: “It’s very sad. I remember the first time I auditioned for the show, we had this instant chemistry and banter.

“I was a young actor and she helped me develop so much.

“We had a lot of fun on the show and had some really good storylines.

“Obviously the cot death storyline was massive and really important. We wanted to do the best job we could.

“I remember going to her flat to rehearse lines and her son William and boyfriend Tony would be there.

"She was a great mum. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for William.

“She would try to take younger actors under her wing and had a great sense of humour.

“At the end of the show I think she had had enough, there was a lot of pressure on us back then. I think she just wanted to go.”

Last night a pal said Sandy had been clean of drugs for some years but poor health forced her to quit her flat in Stamford Hill, North London.

SOAP ORIGINAL'S FIGHT WITH HEROIN

They said she had three strokes in five years and had been forced to move out of her flat in and into sheltered housing nearby.

The friend said 92-year-old June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in the soap and whose own health is failing, had continued to visit until recently.

They added: “Sandy had suffered three strokes in the space of about five years, and she had been diagnosed with cancer.

“She would just get on with it really. She would just say that everything was going to be fine even though she was getting worse.

“In the earlier days some of the old cast kept in touch with her, but June was the one who had seen her most recently.

“I met Sandy after she had got clean from the drugs and I just knew her as a really lovely, down-to-earth woman who loved baking and cooking.

“She didn’t have lots of people in her life but her son used to visit and took care of her with shopping and things.

“She moved into assisted living about two years ago because she couldn’t manage on her own anymore.

“It’s such sad news. She was such a lovely woman and will be badly missed.”

FALSE ALIBI FOR FELLA WHO KILLED 2

A neighbour at the sheltered accommodation block said last night they had been unware of Sandy’s famous past.

It is understood her body was discovered on Sunday morning having died overnight.

Her death has been referred to the coroner.

An ambulance spokesman said: “We sent two single responders in cars and an ambulance crew. Sadly, a person was found dead at the scene.”

Sandy started her acting career in Ken Loach’s Family Life in 1971 where she played a schizophrenic teenage girl.

She featured in a host of other films and TV shows and had a modelling career that at one pointed saw her hailed as “the face of the Seventies”. But it was EastEnders that made her a household name.

Speaking to The Sun during the 25th anniversary in 2010, Sandy revealed she had retrained as a counsellor before retiring.
That Derek
2019-04-10 16:30:35 UTC
Permalink
https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/apr/10/sandy-ratcliff-obituary

EastEnders

Sandy Ratcliff obituary

Actor who found fame as Sue Osman in the BBC series EastEnders

Anthony Hayward
Wed 10 Apr 2019 11.43 EDT

The actor Sandy Ratcliff, who has died aged 70, touched the hearts of millions when she appeared in the original cast of EastEnders as Sue Osman, whose son Hassan died of cot death in the summer of 1985, just months after the television soap was launched. It was one of the early dramas to beset the fictional Albert Square as the BBC took on ITV’s Coronation Street in the battle of the soap ratings.

Sue ran the Bridge Street cafe in Walford – speaking her mind and getting into rows with customers – and had little help from her minicab-driver husband, Ali (Nejdet Salih). Her grief over losing their son dominated much of Ratcliff’s four years in the serial. Experiencing a phantom pregnancy as she longed for another child, dealing with Ali’s gambling, neglecting him after giving birth to another son, Little Ali, and wrongly believing she had cancer on finding a lump in her breast led to a deterioration in her mental health. Eventually, in 1989, Sue was sectioned and put in a home.

However, her screen character’s tragic life almost paled into insignificance when compared with the actor’s own troubles. “When I was about 10, my school sent me to the Tavistock Clinic,” said Ratcliff, who was born in Islington, north London, to an insurance seller and his wife. “I was a grade-A student who was also trouble – a bit rebellious.” Two years later, she was expelled from her local grammar school and she was smoking cannabis aged 14.

Later, she became a bass guitarist in the rock bands Tropical Appetite and Escalator, a disc jockey and a photographer’s stylist, before being put in front of the camera as a model. Lord (Tony) Snowdon tipped her to be one of five Faces for the Seventies in the Sunday Times magazine in 1972, and she acted in a couple of BBC schools programmes.

Her break came when the director Ken Loach cast her as the lead character in his 1971 film Family Life, a remake of his 1967 TV play In Two Minds, written by David Mercer. It challenged the traditional view that people with schizophrenia were born with the condition and could be cured in the manner of a disease – with treatment that included electric shocks. Ratcliff played Janice, whose mental ill health was caused by her mother’s domineering, repressive nature, in the view of a new wave of psychiatrists led by RD Laing.

The actor’s rebellious streak as a child made her ideal for the role and Loach made her live it throughout filming, forbidding her from washing her hair and wearing makeup. She later said that making the film helped to turn her life around and made her think about mental health issues.

However, she had mixed feelings about the whole experience once she left the cameras behind. “I took Jan home with me a little bit and found it really hard,” Ratcliff told me in 2003. “I wanted her to be stronger because she wasn’t schizophrenic, just a scapegoat, a victim of the family. It upset me. When filming was over, I felt abandoned and got quite depressed for a while. Then, for a couple of months when the film came out, I was being invited to every party going, but I wasn’t working most of that time and there were times when I didn’t have the bus fare to get to places I was supposed to be going.”

Nevertheless, she gradually built up a CV of small roles on television before landing the part of Sue in EastEnders. She popped up in popular dramas such as Hazell (1978), Danger UXB (1979), Shoestring (1979), The Gentle Touch (1980) and Minder (1982).

In 1974, she had a short run in the soap Crossroads as Barbara Wells, who went out with the village postman and motel bartender, Vince Parker, while also being engaged to, and eventually marrying, his father, George.

Ratcliff’s off-screen troubles continued to haunt her, though. Before joining EastEnders, she became a heroin addict and, in 1983, was jailed for conspiring to supply cannabis, serving eight months in Holloway prison. Fame as a soap star brought newspaper revelations about Ratcliff’s past and she offered to quit the role, but the producer, Julia Smith, stood by her.

The headlines kept coming after she did finally leave. Then, in 1991, she gave an alibi in court to a lover of 10 days, Michael Shorey, when an Old Bailey jury found him guilty of murdering two women. She said he and she were making love at the time the crimes were said to have been committed, later adding that the police must have “got their timings wrong”, but the jury were unconvinced.

Her final television roles were in Maigret in 1992, as a burglar’s wife, and Rona Munro’s drama Men of the Month two years later. She then stepped out of the spotlight, suffered several nervous breakdowns, beat her drug addiction, trained as a counsellor and drove London ambulances.

Ratcliff had suffered three strokes in the past five years and was then diagnosed with cancer, leading to her leaving her north London flat to live in nearby sheltered accommodation.

Ratcliff’s 1968 marriage to the photographer Peter Wright ended in divorce. She is survived by her son, William, from a relationship with the theatre director Terence Palmer.

• Sandy Ratcliff (Alexandra Ratcliff), actor, born 2 October 1948; found dead on 7 April 2019
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