EastEnders star Nick Berry, 58, looks unrecognisable during outing in Essex

EastEnders star Nick Berry, 58, looks unrecognisable as he sports a white beard during outing in Essex… 18 years after quitting acting

He shot to fame after portraying Simon Wicks in EastEnders and Sergeant Nick Rowan in Heartbeat in the 80s and 90s.

And Nick Berry looked worlds away from his famous soap characters as he ran errands in Essex.

The former heartthrob, 58, was almost unrecognisable as he sported a white beard and grey locks on the outing. 

Out and about: Nick Berry looked worlds away from his famous soap characters as he ran errands in Essex

The actor cut a casual figure in a grey T-shirt which he paired with a yellow padded jacket.

Nick also sported a pair of navy trousers and matching trainers along with a pair of sunglasses. 

The star made his last TV appearance in 2012 at the funeral of his on-screen EastEnders’ mother Pat Butcher.

Nick had a stellar acting career on British television but stepped away from the screen aged 39 to raise his two sons.

Career: He shot to fame after portraying Simon Wicks in EastEnders and Sergeant Nick Rowan in Heartbeat in the 80s and 90s

Role: Nick starred in EastEnders from 1985-1990

Career: He shot to fame after portraying Simon Wicks in EastEnders and Sergeant Nick Rowan in Heartbeat in the 80s and 90s

After springing to fame as Simon Wicks in EastEnders in 1985, Berry left in 1990 and decamped to the Yorkshire Dales for a six year stint as Heartbeat’s Sergeant Nick Rowan, before taking on the role of harbour master Mike Nicholls in Harbour Lights.

He reached heartthrob status with hordes of screaming fans besieging the BBC studios where the soap was filmed.

There was even a brief pop career too: in 1986 Berry released a single, Every Loser Wins, which became the second biggest-selling record in the UK that year.

Save for filming police drama In Deep as police detective Liam Ketman alongside Stephen Tompkinson, which ran from 2001-2003, Berry disappeared from view, turning his back on acting to become a stay-at-home father to his two sons Louis, now 25, and 22-year-old Finley.

Casual: The former heartthrob, 58, was almost unrecognisable as he sported a white beard and grey locks on the outing

Casual: The former heartthrob, 58, was almost unrecognisable as he sported a white beard and grey locks on the outing

Limelight: Nick had a stellar acting career on British television but stepped away from the screen aged 39 to raise his two sons

Career: He starred in Heartbeat from 1992 to 1998

Limelight: Nick had a stellar acting career on British television but stepped away from the screen aged 39 to raise his two sons

Good ole days: Nick even tried his hand at singing and in 1986 released a single, Every Loser Wins, which became the second biggest-selling record in the UK that year

Good ole days: Nick even tried his hand at singing and in 1986 released a single, Every Loser Wins, which became the second biggest-selling record in the UK that year

At one point, he was rumoured to have been offered a £2 million golden-handcuffs deal by EastEnders executives when he resigned in the late Eighties.

He was said to have amassed an estimated £5 million from his time in the spotlight – enough to fund a rambling house in Epping, Essex, and a beach house in Hove.

Speaking to the Daily Mail in 2011 about his decision to step away from the spotlight, he said: ‘I chose to be a stay-at-home dad and have loved it. I always said that when the boys were teenagers I could go back, but the longer you don’t do something the harder it is to do it, and I haven’t really missed it.

‘While I’d never say never, I’m genuinely happy as I am.’

Laid back: Nick also sported a pair of navy trousers and matching trainers along with a pair of sunglasses

Laid back: Nick also sported a pair of navy trousers and matching trainers along with a pair of sunglasses

Cameo: The star made his last TV appearance in 2012 at the funeral of his on-screen EastEnders' mother Pat Butcher

Fame: Nick He reached heartthrob status with hordes of screaming fans besieging the BBC studios where Heartbeat was filmed

Cameo: The star made his last TV appearance in 2012 at the funeral of his on-screen EastEnders’ mother Pat Butcher

‘The job was great. You’re driven everywhere, fed every five minutes and told what to do and where to go. What I struggled with was that the boys were very young and I felt like I was away filming all the time.

‘I’d been blessed with these little people and yet I wasn’t really there. I realised I wanted to be at home.’

Despite his spectacular screen success, east London-born Berry said he wasn’t a natural actor.

‘I was never that comfortable in the spotlight. Some of the egos you can do without. A lot of actors take themselves so seriously but, by and large, you’re getting paid to show off.’

Success: He was said to have amassed an estimated £5 million from his time in the spotlight – enough to fund a rambling house in Epping, Essex, and a beach house in Hove

Success: He was said to have amassed an estimated £5 million from his time in the spotlight – enough to fund a rambling house in Epping, Essex, and a beach house in Hove 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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