While Tony Stonem caused mayhem in the first series, a brain bleed in the second left him a more vulnerable character.
Now a fully-fledged star, the 27-year-old is very much part of the Brit pack currently wowing Hollywood.
The sitcom's brave storylines clearly provided key actors with a blistering showreel - something that would stand them in good stead over the coming decade.
This week April Pearson, who played Michelle Richardson, posted images of her old cast-mates on Instagram, saying: 'I was so lucky and none of us knew how being part of something so special would change our lives. They were the best of times.'Below, we look at the show's breakout stars and how their careers blossomed after the series finished.
It's a far cry from the chavtastic 'Cook' who saw O'Connell show off his acting prowess as a 16-year-old womaniser who would rather carouse than show any hint of his real feelings.
A recipient of the BAFTA rising star award, his next project is playing late fashion designer Alexander Mc Queen in a biopic of his life.
Hot on the heels of Patel's success, Jack O'Connell already knows what it feels like to star alongside some of the world's biggest actors.
After making an impression in independent films Starred Up and '71 he got his big break when Angelina Jolie cast him as war hero POW Louie Zamperini in Unbroken.
He's currently filming The Current War, starring alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, and plays Serbian inventor, Nikola Tesla.Merrick narrowly missed out of the part of Pythagoras in the BBC's fantasy series Mini Mc Guinness was the queen bee of Generation Three - sweet on the surface but ferocious if threatened, she struck up a surprising relationship with farmboy Alo.