EastEnders spoilers: Who is Mel Owen and why is she back as Tamzin Outhwaite returns?

Who is Mel Owen and why is she back in EastEnders? Her story so far
(Picture: BBC)

EastEnders has welcomed back a familiar face to the show after an absence of over 15 years – Mel Owen (Tamzin Outhwaite) is back but why she has come back to her old stomping ground remains somewhat of a mystery. We know that she is back due to the hold Ciara Maguire has on her and it is connected to her son Hunter – so it seems like she has been tasked with getting back the stolen money which is currently being held by Ben Mitchell.

But while the storyline is shrouded in secrecy, Mel’s past isn’t – in fact she has a rich history of massive storylines from big wedding showdowns and kidnap through to arson and sex scandals. Here, for those who may have forgotten or are too young to remember who Mel is and what she got up to, we relive her biggest moments.

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Her story so far is here:

  • Mel arrived in Walford after travelling the Greek Islands, where her business had gone bust and she had escaped an abusive relationship.
  • She was shocked to find that her supposedly dead brother, vicar Alex, lived nearby. She reunited with him and her dad Jeff.
Who is Mel Owen and why is she back in EastEnders? Her story so far
(Picture: BBC)
  • Mel started working for Ian and the pair quickly developed a relationship. Mel initially struggled to bond with Ian’s kids but eventually made headway.
  • They soon became engaged but Mel got cold feet as the day got closer and decided to call it off but Ian discovered her intentions and lied that Lucy was desperately ill with cancer.


  • The Millennium wedding dawned but Mel discovered a letter giving Lucy the all clear and confronted Ian, walking out on him as the bell tolled in the year 2000.
  • Mel had short lived flings with Billy Mitchell and Dan Sullivan but was most drawn into the orbit of Steve Owen, whom she fell for.
Who is Mel Owen and why is she back in EastEnders? Her story so far
(Picture: BBC)
  • Mel had slept with Lisa Fowler’s partner Phil Mitchell on Christmas Day in a drunken mistake, something which Steve later discovered.
  • Steve forgave Mel but when Phil was shot on their wedding day, Steve became number one suspect, with even Mel doubting him.
  • With Phil having discovered that it was Lisa who shot him, he instructed Steve to help him frame Dan for the crime.


  • Dan was jailed but upon being released, he kidnapped Mel in revenge and demanded a ransom from a panicked Steve.
  • While Dan’s hostage, Mel discovered Steve’s shadier side from him. When Phil saved Mel, she walked out on Steve.


  • In revenge against her husband, she torched his club E20 but the pair would later reunite.
  • They planned to emigrate with Lisa, Mark and Louise but their plans fell apart when Mark pulled out as Phil determined to stop Lisa taking Louise.
  • A desperate Steve absconded with Louise but a car chase with Phil in pursuit led to his death and Mel was crushed.
  • After Steve died, truths about him came to light including his affair with Sam Mitchell and the fact he had sold the house and business without telling Mel.
Who is Mel Owen and why is she back in EastEnders? Her story so far
(Picture: BBC)
  • Worse was to come when Mel realised that paperwork she had absent-mindedly signed now linked her to Steve’s drug smuggling operations and she was arrested.
  • When Phil discovered that Mel was pregnant, he bailed her out of prison but when she then learned that Lisa had shot Phil, not Steve, she raised a glass to her late husband and departed Walford with Phil’s cash.
  • Lisa and Louise would later join Mel in Portugal.

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