An ex-EastEnders actor is heading to Hollywood. Did you know these A-listers started in soaps, too?


When the new Batman trailer dropped, it wasn’t just Robert Pattinson’s take on the Caped Crusader that fans were dissecting.

EastEnders viewers were also quick to spot Alex Ferns – also known as the villainous Trevor Morgan, abusive husband of the long-suffering Little Mo in the early noughties – as Gotham Police Commissioner Pete Savage in the two-minute clip.

Ferns has been taken aback that so many people are shocked he is now in a blockbuster – claiming there’s an “inherent snobbery” about soap stars among some armchair pundits.

Former EastEnders star Alex Ferns in the new Batman film. Pic: Warner Bros
Former EastEnders actor Alex Ferns stars in the upcoming new Batman film. Pic: Warner Bros
EastEnders stars Kacey Ainsworth and Alex Ferns (Trevor and Mo) attend the TV Quick Awards held at The Dorchester, Park Lane, September 9, 2002
Ferns played the abusive husband of Albert Square favourite Little Mo (Kacey Ainsworth)

But moving from soap to the big screen and beyond is not a rarity. You don’t need us to tell you what Kylie‘s been up to since leaving Neighbours, or that Oscar nominee Margot Robbie also started out on Ramsay Street.

But here are a few other stars you may not know also started out with an episode or two in soap.

Russell Crowe

The LA District Attorney said Banks, not Crowe, was the assaultive party
Yes, Oscar winner Russell Crowe is also an Erinsborough alumnus, having starred as Kenny Larkin in 1987. Sadly, Kenny only appeared in a few episodes of the Australian series – he was no Scott Robinson, after all

Idris Elba

Idris Elba in Family Affairs
Famous as long-coat-wearing maverick detective Luther and for a string of Hollywood roles, Idris Elba appeared in Family Affairs – remember that one? – before he became the gravelly voiced A-lister we know and love today

Leonardo DiCaprio

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio one of the stars of director James Cameron's new film "Titanic
Before he was left to freeze to death in the sea by Kate Winslet, before he was The Wolf Of Wall Street, and before all that time in the snow to finally win his Oscar for The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio appeared in an episode of US soap Santa Barbara

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley at the premiere of Colette at Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California
Keira Knightley rose to fame as a young footballer in Bend It Like Beckham and went on to become a huge star, with films including Love Actually, Atonement and Pirates Of The Caribbean. But it all started with an episode of police drama The Bill

Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger documentary I Am Heath Ledger
From his Oscar-winning performance as the Joker to his much-loved role in teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You, the late Heath Ledger was a big-screen star. He started out in Australian drama Sweat and Home And Away before Hollywood beckoned

Michelle Keegan

Tina McIntyre, played by Michelle Keegan, in Coronation Street

7 Feb 2008
Now starring in Sky One comedy Brassic following an acclaimed role in Army drama Our Girl, Michelle Keegan started out as Tina McIntyre in Corrie, playing the character for six years before meeting a grisly end

Nathalie Emmanuel

Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei in Game Of Thrones. Pic: Sky/HBO
Nathalie Emmanuel’s character Missandei was killed off in suitable Game Of Thrones style in the controversial final series in 2019. But before her decapitation, she starred as Sasha Valentine in Hollyoaks from 2007-10. Pic: Sky/HBO

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley and Bill Roache in Coronation Street
Absolutely Fabulous fans will know national treasure Joanna Lumley best as Patsy, sweetie, and she’s also a presenter and activist. Back in the 70s, she got to turn down long-standing Corrie Lothario Ken Barlow, also known as actor Bill Roache

Sarah Lancashire

Raquel and Curly Watts, as played by Sarah Lancashire and Kevin Kennedy, in Coronation Street
BAFTA-winning actress Sarah Lancashire is probably best known now as hard-as-nails sergeant Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley. But between 1991 and 2000, she was ditsy Raquel, the much-loved Corrie character who married Curly Watts

Jenna Coleman

'Emmerdale' Jeff Hordley and Jenna-Louise Coleman
She has played Queen Victoria, appeared in Captain America and acted as Doctor Who’s sidekick for several years. However, Jenna Coleman started out in soap, playing Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale from 2005-2009

Ray Liotta

LOS ANGELES, CA - 1990: Star of the Academy Award-nominated film "Goodfellas," actor Ray Liotta, poses during a 1990 Los Angeles, California, photo portrait session. Liotta has also starred in "Something Wild" and "Field of Dreams"
Best known as a Goodfellas gangster, Ray Liotta starred in US soap Another World, for three years from 1978 to 1981

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore in As The World Turns
Another Oscar winner, Julianne Moore has starred in everything from The Big Lebowski to The Hunger Games. But she started out playing both a good and evil twin in US soap As The World Turns in the 80s – and somehow looks younger now than back then

Anna Friel

Actress Anna Friel pictured in 1992, when she was starring in Brookside
She starred alongside Bradley Cooper in Limitless and won an Emmy for her role as troubled detective Marcella, but Anna Friel will always be known for burying her dad under the patio – and her then shocking pre-watershed lesbian kiss – in Brookside

Demi Moore

Demi Moore has revealed she was raped as a teenager
Star of some 90s classics including GI Jane, Ghost, Indecent Proposal and A Few Good Men, it all started out with US series General Hospital for Demi Moore

Morgan Freeman

Actor Morgan Freeman arrives for the 16th Annual AARP Movies for Grownups Awards on February 6, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. / AFP / Frederic J. Brown (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Before his famous voice was impersonated for those More Than insurance adverts – and his roles in films like The Shawshank Redemption, Seven and Driving Miss Daisy, of course – like Liotta, Freeman appeared in Another World, playing a doctor

Tommy Lee Jones

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black
Tommy Lee Jones, pictured with his Men In Black co-star Will Smith, also played a soap doctor, starring in US series One Life To Live in 1975

Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Liam Hemsworth, of The Hunger Games and being-Miley-Cyrus’s-ex fame, achieved the rare feat of appearing in both Home And Away AND Neighbours when he was younger. Respect

Suranne Jones

Coronation Street actress Suranne Jones poses in the Awards Room with the award for Best Actress at the "10th Anniversary National Television Awards" at the Royal Albert Hall on October 26, 2004 in London
Another BAFTA winner, Suranne Jones has starred in acclaimed dramas including Doctor Foster, Save Me and Gentleman Jack. She starred as the brilliant Karen McDonald – one of Steve’s many wives – in Corrie for four years, from 2000 to 2004

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