Phil and Grant make peace but things between them are not the same.

Kathy and Phil eventually sort out their differences, marry, and have a son, Ben (Matthew Silver), making Phil feel neglected and depressed so he turns to alcohol and develops an addiction.

Mc Fadden took a hiatus from the series at the end of Phil's liver cirrhosis storyline with the character departing on 6 February 2017. Phil's most prominent storylines include his battles with alcoholism and addiction, suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, various criminal dealings, having an affair with Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) who was married to Grant (a storyline popularly dubbed "Sharongate"), a failed marriage to Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), a strong rivalry with his former stepson Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), his numerous feuds with the likes of Steve Owen (Martin Kemp), Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass), Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman), Mark Fowler (Todd Carty), Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb), Den Watts (Leslie Grantham), Johnny Allen (Billy Murray), Nick Cotton (John Altman), Derek Branning (Jamie Foreman), Max Branning (Jake Wood), Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), Carl White (Daniel Coonan), Vincent Hubbard (Richard Blackwood) and Gavin Sullivan (Paul Nicholas), and being stalked by his son Ben Mitchell (Joshua Pascoe), leading to an arrest for the murder of Stella Crawford (Sophie Thompson), who physically and mentally abused Ben before jumping from a factory roof, and losing his mother Peggy to cancer.

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Phil begins sleeping rough, gambling, and blaming Kathy for his decline so she decides to leave Walford for South Africa, letting it be known that an offer of reconciliation from Phil would make her reconsider.

Phil is undecided until Lorna stops him going after Kathy by locking herself in his bathroom and attempts suicide.

He and Kathy reconcile when he attends counselling until he begins an affair with fellow alcoholic Lorna Cartwright (Janet Dibley), who starts stalking him.

With his marriage in jeopardy, Phil takes Kathy to Paris and admits his affair with Lorna so Kathy throws her wedding ring into the river.

However, Mel is upset by Lisa's accusation and Phil comforts her, leading to a one-night stand.

Mel, however, realises it was a mistake and reconciles with Steve Owen (Martin Kemp), making Phil jealous.

This makes him abusive and neglectful towards Kathy and Ben, so Kathy takes Ben and moves out.

Realising what he has lost, Phil gives up alcohol and attends Alcoholics Anonymous, which helps reveal the basis of his problem – the physical abuse he received from his father and his fear that he may abuse Ben.

He later follows Kathy to the airport but is stopped by Kathy's son, Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), who persuades him that Kathy and Ben are better off without him. He starts seeing Lisa Shaw (Lucy Benjamin), but the relationship stalls when Kathy returns briefly in 1999 and sleeps with Grant.

Before Kathy returns to South Africa, she asks Phil to go with her but he declines as Grant has planned an armed robbery and Phil refuses to let him do the job alone.

Lisa decides that a baby will improve their relationship so stops taking contraceptive pills but Phil wants Lisa to leave him, not get pregnant, so he admits to Lisa that he and Mel slept together.