What is the longest running TV role for an actor who started in the role as a child (regardless of their age at the end of their role)?

I'm especially interested in those that were part of the main cast and/or appeared in the majority of episodes rather than an occasional recurring role.

  • As an example of the level of participation, do you mean like the girls from Full House... where they were in every (or nearly every) episode over the 8 seasons the show was on? Also, do you want to limit this in any way? Particular type of show, country, etc?
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 23:42
  • @Catija: That's the level of participation I tried to indicate in the wording of my question. I'm primarily interested in US shows which have scripted stories regardless of genre (so - less interested in variety shows, as an example). Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 23:51
  • I expect a Coronation Street baby is going to be the winner here. Decades of tenure are not unusual Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 0:51
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    I think people need to remember we're looking for the longest running TV role, not examples of long running TV roles. Let the hunt commence! Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 8:59
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    @cde: You're misunderstanding me. We don't just want a list of people who have played long roles. We want the longest running TV role. Currently, that's 31 years and counting. So if you can't beat that, don't post it. Otherwise this is just a trivia list question. Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 9:36

7 Answers 7


Adam Woodyatt was part of the original cast of Eastenders.

He was born in June 1968 and Eastenders started in February 1985 when he would have been 16.

It's still running and he's still in it, so 31 years and counting...

  • I considered a few who started at 16 but decided that wasn't really a child actor. It's rare for children to stay in a role for as long as an adult might. Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 13:35
  • @KateGregory Agreed. I thought about that but considered it was worth answering anyway. Open to interpretation: "age of consent", "age of majority" etc. FWIW I remember the first episode and Ian Beale was very much the schoolboy Episode1
    – Fruitbat
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 14:14

Jack P Shepard has been playing David Platt on Coronation Street since 2000. He would thus have been 12 when he started and it's been 16 years so far. He has appeared in 1348 episodes in those 16 years.

  • 3
    Who down voted this and why??
    – cde
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 2:26
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    My guess is because it's not as long as Fruitbat's answer of 31 years. Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 13:20
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    But my answer was the last one posted, so this one was perfectly valid when it was posted (and when downvoted).
    – Fruitbat
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 13:29

The Olsen Twins played Michelle Tanner for the full run of Full House. They started at 9 Months old in 1987 until the series end in 1995, making them 8~9 years old at the time. 8 years of a continuously shared role.

As @Catija smartly points out, Stephanie/Jodie Sweetin, D.J./Candace Cameron Bure, Kimmy/Andrea Barber were also children at casting and are in all 8 seasons. If we count Fuller House, thats another 2 seasons (2nd just announced).

  • 1
    ... you know this is true of all three (four) of the kids, right? All of the girls were in every episode.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 0:59

Sally Fletcher from Home and Away played by Kate Ritchie lasted a good 20 years; from 1988 - 2008. Kate started this role when she was 10 years old.

However Kate reprised her role as Sally for one season in 2013 making it her role for 25 years. Altogether she has appeared in 1775[1] episodes.

It should be noted that the show is still ongoing, and the character may return at any stage.

  • How old was she when she started in the role? Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 0:55
  • She was 10 years old when she started on the role. She played the role until she was 35 years old. She is currently (in 2016) 37 years old. Now I'm done being rude and talking about a woman's age. :)
    – Möoz
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 3:16
  • Wow Home and Away has seasons? I thought it was just one continuous flow of episodes...
    – komodosp
    Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 9:23

Kimberly McCullough for her role on General Hospital. She first made an appearance as the character Robin Scorpio in 1985, when she was 7.

She has played the character as both a full-time and part-time member of the cast since then. Her last appearance was this year in 2016, making that 31 years playing the same character.


Moritz A. Sachs (born 1978) has been playing the character "Klaus Beimer" in the German TV series "Lindenstrasse" since it started in 1985.

  • Even if he's still performing in this role today (I don't speak German, so I can't tell from the Wikipedia article)... this still isn't longer than the current top answer of 40 years.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 0:58
  • Right. That should probably have been a comment as honorable mention ( he is still performing today, so maybe he will catch up eventually).
    – user9103
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 8:55

It depends how you define longest running child actor. One accepted method is to stop that timing at age 16, then the child becomes an actor, not a child actor. Warren Jackson (Coronation Street: Nicky Tilsley) 1981-1996: Longest UK child actor. Annelise Manojlovic (Emmerdale: Gabby Thomas) 2001-2015: 2nd Longest UK child actor/ Longest Emmerdale child actor. Obviously there have been others who have acted longer, but they are no longer considered child actors and none have CHILD runs that lasted as long as the 2 actors named above (AFAIK: post source if you know otherwise).

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    The question specifies "regardless of their age at the end of their role".
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 13:33

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