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    EastEnders: Where legendary Turkish duo Ali and Mehmet from original cast are now

    Actors Nejdet Salih and Haluk Bilginer have had fascinating careers since leaving Walford

    Every die hard EastEnders fan would remember the characters Ali and Mehmet Osman, two Turkish brothers played by actors Nejdet Salih and Haluk Bilginer respectively.

    The dynamic duo were part of the original cast of EastEnders, which first graced our screens in 1985 and is still running today.

    Ali Osman ran the Bridge Street Café, also known as Café Osman, with his wife Sue before he sold it to Ian Beale, who then renamed the business to Kathy’s.

    Following the loss of their infant son Hassan, Ali parted with his wife and left Walford for good in 1989, taking their second son Little Ali with him to Northern Cyprus and leaving behind a massive amount of gambling debts.

    His brother Mehmet Osman also left at the same time, having appeared in 107 episodes of the soap over a period of four years, after his wife Guizin accused him (falsely) of having an affair with Sue.

    EastEnders: Where legendary Turkish duo Ali and Mehmet from original cast are now 1
    Actors Sandy Ratcliff and Nejdet Salih pictured on the set of EastEnders in 1985 (Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

    The two brothers were created by the soap’s writers Tony Holland and Julia Smith in an attempt to represent the Turkish Cypriot community in London, but were abruptly written out after the two writers left the show.

    Most notably the Osman brothers are remembered for teaching us the upbeat Turkish song “ Oy Oy Emine ”, which they sang together with all the cast members in a scene shot at The Queen Vic pub.

    Nejdet landed himself a few roles, playing the character of Fayid in Carry On Columbus, as well as appearing in two episodes of TV comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen Pet.

    TX 1985 cast set up in the Queen Vic Leslie Grantham as Den Watts, Letitia Dean as Sharon Watts, Anita Dobson as Angie Watts, Sandy Ratcliff as Sue Osman, OSCAR JAMES as Tony Carpenter, Nejdet Salih as Ali Osman, John Altman as Nick Cotton, Tom Watt as Lofty Holloway, Peter Dean as Pete Beale, Gillian Taylforth as Kathy Beale, Wendy Richard as Pauline Fowler, Bill Treacher as Arthur Fowler, Gretchen Franklin as Ethel Skinner, Anna Wing as Lou Beale & Susan Tully as Michelle Fowler. eastenders dirty den leslie grantham
    The original EastEnders cast chilling in the Queen Vic (Image: BBC)

    He was also cast in Doctor Who and Wall of Silence in 2004, and can be spotted playing a sailor in two Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

    Most recently he starred in 2017’s American Assassin, drama Sleep Warm in 2018 and also played a part in horror movie Heckle in 2019.

    But overall he has been unable to shake off the shackles of his first character Ali, which has arguably hampered the remainder of his acting career.

    “I’m just trying to get on with my life. I don’t give interviews. I am still acting but it is hard when to everyone I’m still Ali from the cafe,” Nejdet told The Mirror in 2010.

    EastEnders: Where legendary Turkish duo Ali and Mehmet from original cast are now 2
    Haluk Bilginer was cast as Mehmet Osman, Ali’s womanising brother, between 1985 and 1989

    His counterpart Haluk Bilginer however has had a much different experience since leaving the set of EastEnders.

    In 1992, Haluk and his then-wife Zuhal Olcay landed roles in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Having moved back to his native Turkey, he also starred in several high-end Turkish movies.

    He also acted in many plays, and even set up his own theatre with his wife Zuhal in 1990. Unfortunately for Haluk, his theatre burned down in 1996, prompting him to resume his career on-screen.

    By 2009, Haluk was being cast once again in English-language films, this time playing Ahmet Sunay, a Turkish high-tech missile guidance system dealer in the American thriller The International.

    He can likewise be seen in the role of Dr. Ranbir Sartain, the new psychiatrist of Michael Myers, in the 2018 horror sequel Halloween.

    Haluk has also seen his fair share of awards. Winter Sleep, a film he was cast in, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, and in 2018, he won an Emmy for Best Performance by an Actor for his portrayal of Agâh Beyoglu in the Turkish crime drama Şahsiyet (Persona), beating British actor Christopher Eccleston for his role in BBC One drama Come Home to grab the honour.

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