The Many Faces of Kat Slater
By Michael McCarthy
From the first night Charlie Slater and his brood . Big Mo, Little Mo,
Lynne, Zoe, and Kat . took possession of their council house, one of his
ladies was a show-stopper, a heartbreaker, and a lightning rod for any
male that took her fancy.
That would be Kat. A frustrated beau followed her to Walford to
himself to the front gate, if only Kat would throw him a kind word from
the second-floor window. It fell to Charlie to dispatch this
Bette Davis in her star turn in the film All About Eve could well have
been speaking about Kat: .Fasten your seat belts. It.s gonna be a bumpy
No character has made quite such an entrance and gone on to put her
stamp on the Square with the animal excitement of a jungle cat stalking
Anthony Trueman, a physician and the pride and joy of his mother, was
powerless to resist Kat.s full frontal assault. For a while, it looked
like wedding bells for the couple, before time and cooler heads
Zoe moved in on the rebound. Kat was not pleased as the couple made
wedding plans. Anthony realised that instead of a lover he really wanted
Zoe to be a friend. The course of true love is never smooth but
especially so on the Square.
Zoe was miffed over Kat.s coming between her and Anthony. They had it
out outside when the big sister confessed she was really Zoe.s mother in
a scene reminiscent of Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. Their Uncle Harry had
raped Kat when she was a teenager.
No one, not even Charlie, knew who the father was. Charlie and his wife
Vivian decided that Zoe would never know the truth, all in the service
of trying to protect Kat and Zoe.
This two-hander spun out with all the excitement of a runaway train.
No one but Jessie Wallace could take so many shifts in transition and
play all of them to the hilt. The who and the why of Kat Slater came
stunningly into focus as both she and Zoe met on a different plane. We
never saw it coming; it was as much a shock for us, a catch-your-breath
moment and a tip of the hat to both ladies.
Kat moved on and up to Andy Hunter, a villain still in training. As for
vicious Jack Dalton, Dennis Rickman put this criminal down for good.
Andy and Kat connected, sparks flew, and the wedding would be a
celebration for the Square. This was Andy.s claim on all that was Phil
Then fate appeared in the person of Kat.s best mate, Alfie Moon. Alfie
and Kat did a dance around each other. It seemed there was no space
between them as Alfie suffered in relative silence.
Who would be first to declare their love? Andy sensed the competition,
and so he had one of his minions work Alfie over. It went right down to
the wire, but Alfie got past Andy.s goons and literally swept Kat off
her feet, interrupting Andy and Kat.s wedding in a scene reminiscent of
Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.
In contrast, Kat and Alfie.s wedding was a night of magic culminating in
snow for Kat.s fairy tale from her man in the moon. Andy waited.
Charlie needed a lot of money for a court case. Nobody had the money, so
Kat went to Andy, who was more than happy to have Kat in his debt.
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Andy demanded that Kat go to bed
with him to erase the debt.
Alfie was kept in the dark until a videotape of Kat and Andy going at it
put a monkey wrench into the relationship. How would you feel if you saw
your beloved in bed with the man that shagged your wife before you did?
Alfie was crushed. He and Kat fought, separated, first Alfie left, then
returned to Kat to try and put the pieces of their marriage together
again. The fallout is not over, for those of us watching in the States.
Kat left, then she returned with a very sizeable monkey on her back,
alcohol. She made a fool of herself in front of Alfie and her family, as
Little Mo faced her rapist in court.
Kat just makes it to the lavatory, and vomits.
Alfie was on the cusp of calling it quits, as Kat begged him to give her
another chance. The fallout of Andy rears its ugly head. She packed a
bag to walk out on Alfie.s life, perhaps for good, as her husband
watches from the upstairs window of the Vic. It takes two committed
actors, working on the knife edge of a scene, so fraught with emotion
that we may well be watching a dance of death, the end of a loving
couple. We came to care over time.
Shane Richie has so many shades of emotion. In his capable hands, Alfie
Moon is a constant surprise.
Among the best episodes was one where he literally loses it behind the
bar with all the regulars not knowing how to react. A smile for the
punters only lasts so long. Alfie can and does bleed, all the more
heart-wrenching when the curtain falls away to reveal his guts in his
Jessie Wallace, her face a maze of conflicting emotions, a trapeze
artist dancing in space, reaching, her hands out, knowing her partner
Shane will be there to catch her. The makeup she applies, the layers of
paint she constructs as a mask to become the slapper, anything for a
laugh, a good-time girl, keep the drinks coming and watch your hands,
At the end of the evening, when the warpaint comes off, we are left with
the real Kat Slater, a tart hiding in the shadow of a wounded child. Her
face still radiates with the glow of an innocence to which she refuses
Don.t say anything. Just hold me until the pain is gone. That is pure
Back to Latest Articles