“I've spent £200 on Phil Mitchell merch - I’ve even got a tattoo of his name”

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An EastEnders superfan has spent hundreds on Phil Mitchell merchandise - and even has his name permanently inked on her skin. Rachel Forsythe, 19, became “obsessed” with the character three years ago - after watching classic episodes of the soap during lockdown. And on a girls’ holiday in Magaluf, she shocked friends and family by getting a £50 tattoo of his name on her wrist. Rachel has spent £200 overall on Phil Mitchell items including jumpers, candles, mugs, calendars and a car air freshener - which she refuses to replace, despite it “losing its smell three months ago”. She says she hopes to meet actor Steve McFadden soon - so she can show him the tattoo and ask him about his time on EastEnders. Rachel, a healthcare assistant, from Craigavon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, said: “Phil Mitchell has become a part of my life - I watch him all the time. “I’ll never regret getting the tattoo and will definitely be keeping it for life. “I just think he’s so interesting - yes, he’s the bad guy in the Square who always has something dramatic going on. "But as much as he’s a hard character, he’s got such a soft side as well.” Rachel was a casual watcher of the long-running soap from the age of nine - after being introduced to it by her mum, Sarah Jensen, 38, to it. But when BBC iPlayer uploaded the ‘iconic episodes’ during the 2020 lockdown, Rachel and Sarah began tuning into them regularly. The teen fell in love with Phil Mitchell as a character - and started spending all her money on merchandise with his face on it. She said: “I think my love of EastEnders came from growing up. "My mum was always watching it and from around nine years old I started watching too. “When Covid hit, they obviously stopped filming, so every Monday, BBC One would show some throwback episodes. “I became obsessed then, and just started watching it 24/7 - which is when Phil started becoming a favourite character.” Rachel has been given a Phil Mitchell birthday cake every year since - and has kitted her room and car out in Phil products. She has Phil Mitchell themed jumpers, candles, mugs, calendars and an air freshener, but decided to take her passion for him one step further. On October 13, 2022, Rachel decided on a whim to get the character's name tattooed - while on holiday with her friends in Magaluf. She said: “I always joked with my mum, saying I’d get his name tattooed - but I actually did it while on holiday. “I thought my mum would be fuming - she kept saying ‘don’t you dare, don’t you dare.’ “But I did - and I spent 60 euros on it. He was originally going to charge me 90 euros, but I talked him down. “It only took 15 minutes - and I FaceTimed my mum as soon as we got back to the hotel. “I expected her to be absolutely livid - but she took a screenshot and posted it straight on Facebook. “She took it quite well and I’ve never seen anyone else have a negative reaction to it.” Rachel now hopes to meet her hero - despite knowing he’s “shy and timid in real life.” She added: “He’s quite a quiet man in real life - he’s not on social media or anything. “My mum tried to get me a Cameo video for my birthday, but we couldn’t find him. “I’ve heard he’s actually quite shy - so I wouldn’t run up to him and hug him or anything. “I’d just like to show him my tattoo and have a good chat with him about his time on EastEnders, that’s all.”