Watching stars now – £1.5m fortune left in will, co-star romance and job U-turn

ITV sitcom Watching became a huge hit when it launched on our TV screens in 1987 – launching the career of some huge soap stars in the process.

Following the romance between birdwatcher Malcolm and outspoken Brenda, viewers eagerly watched as their relationship played out on screen – from Malcolm's meddlesome mother interfering in their relationship, to the couple finally tying the knot.

Drawing over 13 million viewers per week, the beloved sitcom can now be relived on streaming service BritBox.

Over 25 years since Watching was first broadcast, Daily Star takes a look at where the stars of the sitcom are now.

Emma Wray – Brenda Wilson

Emma Wray starred as Malcolm's girlfriend Brenda Wilson in Watching – later wife in the series' final episode called 'Knotting'.

As well as riding in Malcolm's side car in many humorous moments throughout the series, Emma also sang the sitcom's memorable theme tune, What Does He See In Me.

That's not all, as during her time on the programme, she also had a co-star romance with Terry actor Perry Fenwick, who is known to many TV viewers as Billy Mitchell from EastEnders.

The actress already had a successful acting career before Watching however – appearing in Minder alongside the late Dennis Waterman – who she would later star with again in the comedy series Stay Lucky, where she played Pippa O' Connor.

As well as roles in Boon and My Wonderful Life, Emma had a long acting career before making a career u-turn, with the actress now reported to be working as a nanny.

Emma appears to keep her personal life private, and it is not known if she is married or in a relationship.

Paul Bown – Malcolm Stoneway

Paul Bown played birdwatcher Malcolm Stoneway in the sitcom, who was also a dab hand at fixing motorbikes and creating contraptions at home.

After Watching ended in 1993, Paul Bown has not left our TV screens – most famously appearing in Coronation Street as Roy Cropper's brother Richard Lucas in 2019.

Paul also had another rival soap role as Judge Francis Hume for three episodes of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.

He has also had roles in some of the UK's biggest series including The Green Green Grass, Holby City, My Family, Casualty, Endeavour and most recently Death In Paradise and Belgravia.

In his personal life, Paul is married to Jane Jamieson and together they have four children.

Liza Tarbuck – Pamela Lynch

Liza Tarbuck played Pamela Lynch, Brenda's sister, in Watching – and is it no surprise that she stepped into the limelight as her father is also a famous star.

Liza's father is none other than Liverpool comedian Jimmy Tarbuck, with his daughter following in his footsteps and training to be an actress – before landing her debut role in the hit ITV sitcom.

From there it has been onwards and upwards for the star, appearing in Hollywood film Tumbledown with Colin Firth, sci-fi series Doctor Who and comedy programmes Extras and French and Saunders.

Along with a one year presenting stint on Channel 4 programme The Big Breakfast, Liza has also narrated reality series Supersize VS Superskinny, and currently hosts a Saturday night evening programme on BBC Radio 2.

Like her Watching co-stars, Liza tends to keep her personal life private, but the star addressed rumours that she has been single since she was 24 years old, telling Woman And Home: "If you believe everything you read, I've been single for about 20 years, but that isn't true. Some things I prefer to keep private."

She also confirmed that she has no children, saying she had not met anyone she wants to have children with yet.

In the same interview, Liza also spoke about the close bond she has with her famous comedian father, adding: "Dad likes nothing more than when we're all staying. We're like a big pride of lions lazing around the house."

Perry Fenwick – Terry Milton

While Perry Fenwick is known to millions as the lovable Billy Mitchell in BBC soap EastEnders, he made his debut TV appearance in Watching as Malcolm's friend Terry Milton.

Along with roles in Minder, Inspector Morse, The Brittas Empire, The Thin Blue Line and On The Up (again alongside Dennis Waterman), he landed his most famous role as Billy Mitchell in EastEnders in 1998 – a role he continues to play to this day.

However, Billy was not originally intended to be a permanent character, with Perry telling Digital Spy: "I do really enjoy working at EastEnders, and to think that I only signed up for three episodes back in 1998, to still be here now I've not done too badly, have I?"

That's not all, as his second cousin Georgina Hagen is also a famous star, playing Lauren in ITV series Britannia High.

Away from our TV screens, Perry has also had a co-star romance and was once married to a famous soap star.

As well as dating Watching star Emma Wray, he was also married to Coronation Street Emma Taylor star Angela Lonsdale from 2005-2010, with who he had three children.

After their marriage ended, the couple remained friends, with a source telling The Mirror at the time: "They just ran out of love.

"They had a series of heart-to-hearts and decided to call it a day. No one else is involved.

"They are determined to stay friends. It’s sad but they are trying to stay positive and their families are rallying around."

Patsy Byrne – Marjorie Stoneway

Patsy Byrne played Malcolm's demanding mother Marjorie Stoneway in Watching, and often gave her son's girlfriend Brenda a hard time.

Before joining the sitcom however, TV viewers might have recognised Patsy Byrne as Nursie from the hit comedy series Blackadder.

As well as roles in Z Cars, Peak Practice, Kevin and Perry Go Large, Heartbeat, Inspector Morse, Les Miserables and David Copperfield, Patsy was an icon of stage and screen.

Her last on screen role was as Esme Taylor in a 2006 episode of BBC medical drama Holby City.

However, Patsy sadly died at the age of 80 years old on June 17, 2014, with stars from the world of entertainment paying tribute to beloved actress.

Blackadder actor Tony Robinson told 5 Live: "I was so fond of her as a person and so in awe of her capabilities that when I decided I wanted to introduce a mother to Maid Marion, my first choice was Patsy."

It has since been reported that Patsy also left a huge fortune to her family, totalling an eye-watering £1.5m.

The actress also left £50,000 to the Theatrical Guild, an organisation which supports backstage staff, as well as £50,000 to Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors in Hillingdon, West London where she spent the final few months of her life.

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