Many remember Susan Tully as the 17-year-old Michelle Fowler who joined EastEnders in 1985. Susan made her on-screen debut in 1979 in the television series Why Can’t I Go Home? Two years later, she landed the role of Suzanne Ross in Grange Hill, a part she played until 1984.

Michelle Fowler, a controversial teenager with a mane of brunette waves, got pregnant following an affair she had with Grant Mitchell. She left Albert Square in 1995 to chase sunsets in Alabama, USA, after finding out she was pregnant with her best friend’s ex-husband.

Susan Tully became a successful director after retiring as an actor

Susan Tully’s last acting credit came in the 1998 comedy film Up ‘n’ Under. After that, she returned to EastEnders, not as Michelle Fowler, but as one of the directors behind the camera. Tully directed 12 episodes which aired from late 1998 to early 1999. 

Tully went on to have a successful career as a director, lending her talents to shows such as London’s Burning, Black Cab, Silent Witness, Lark Rise to Candleford, and Puppy Love. She has over 30 credits as a director. 

Her most recent show, Too Close, aired in April 2021 on ITV. The series is based on a book by Clara Salaman with the same name, though she published it under her pseudonym, Natalie Daniels. 

Clara is famous for publishing stories with dark storylines and strong female leads, and Too Close is no different. The series explores the relationship between psychiatrist Dr. Emma Robertson and patient Connie Mortensen. Connie stands accused of killing two children by driving a car off a bridge, but she claims not to remember anything. 

Dr. Emma is an expert at handling such cases, but there is something about Connie that draws her closer, much closer than her profession allows. Susan Tully and the team of producers faced numerous challenges filming during the pandemic, but they pulled through and came up with a fascinating three-part series. Clara Salaman told Heart that there were benefits to using a limited crew:

“Normally there are lots of people in the room during filming. And a lot of Too Close is very intimate. With just Emily and Denise, for example, in the room it became very private and worked well.”

It is highly unlikely that Susan Tully will return to EastEnders

Susan Tully endeared herself to fans during her time on EastEnders, many of whom were sad to see her leave the long-running series. 

A glimmer of hope for her return emerged after Mark Fowler Jr., her son’s character, appeared in Albert Square. Fans opined that his mom, Susan playing Michelle Fowler, would follow close behind.

Unfortunately, though Michelle Fowler returned, the actor who popularized her character didn’t. Susan turned down offers to return, forcing the showrunners to hand the part to another actor. With Susan’s blessing, Jenna Russell took up Michelle’s role. It is, therefore, unlikely that Susan Tully will return to EastEnders – at least not in an acting capacity.