EastEnders is a British soap opera created by
Julia Smith and Tony
Holland which has been broadcast on
BBC One since 1985. Set in Albert
Square in the
East End of London
East End of London in the fictional Borough of Walford,
the programme follows the stories of local residents and their
families as they go about their daily lives. Initially there were two
30-minute episodes per week but since 2001 episodes have been
broadcast every weekday apart from Wednesdays.
Within eight months of the show's launch, it reached the number-one
spot in BARB's TV ratings and has consistently remained among the
top-rated TV programmes in Britain. In 2013, the average audience
share for an episode was around 30 per cent. Today, EastEnders
remains a significant programme in terms of the BBC's success and
audience share, and also in the history of
British television drama,
tackling many dilemmas that are considered to be controversial and
taboo issues in British culture and social life previously unseen on
United Kingdom mainstream television.
As of May 2016[update],
EastEnders has won nine
BAFTA Awards and the
Inside Soap Award for Best Soap for 14 years running (from 1997 to
2012), as well as twelve
National Television Awards
National Television Awards for Most
Popular Serial Drama and 11 awards for Best Soap at the British
Soap Awards. It has also won 13 TV Quick and TV Choice Awards for Best
TRIC Awards for Soap of The Year, four Royal Television
Society Awards for Best Continuing Drama and has been inducted into
Rose d'Or Hall of Fame.
1.1 Conception and preparations for broadcast
1.1.1 Initial character creation and casting
1.1.2 Final preparations
1.2 1980s broadcast history
1.3 Changes in the 1990s
5.4 Budgets and costs
7 International versions
8 Spin-offs and merchandise
9 Popularity and viewership
9.2.1 Morality and violence
9.2.2 Allegations of national and racial stereotypes
9.2.3 Controversial storylines
9.2.4 Portrayal of certain professions
9.3 Awards and nominations
10 In popular culture
11 Further reading
12 See also
16 External links
Conception and preparations for broadcast
Julia Smith and Tony Holland, the creators of EastEnders.
In March 1983, under two years before EastEnders' first episode was
broadcast, the show was a vague idea in the mind of a handful of BBC
executives, who decided that what
BBC1 needed was a popular bi-weekly
drama series that would attract the kind of mass audiences that ITV
was getting with Coronation Street. The first people to whom David
Reid, then head of series and serials, turned were
Julia Smith and
Tony Holland, a well established producer/script editor team who had
first worked together on Z-Cars. The outline that Reid presented
was vague: two episodes a week, 52 weeks a year. After the concept
was put to them on 14 March 1983, Smith and Holland then went about
putting their ideas down on paper; they decided it would be set in the
East End of London.
Granada Television gave Smith unrestricted
access to the
Coronation Street production for a month so that she
could get a sense how a continuing drama was produced.
There was anxiety at first that the viewing public would not accept a
new soap set in the south of England, though research commissioned by
lead figures in the
BBC revealed that southerners would accept a
northern soap, northerners would accept a southern soap and those from
the Midlands, as
Julia Smith herself pointed out, did not mind where
it was set as long as it was somewhere else. This was the beginning
of a close and continuing association between
EastEnders and audience
research, which, though commonplace today, was something of a
revolution in practice.
The show's creators were both Londoners, but when they researched
Victorian squares, they found massive changes in areas they thought
they knew well. However, delving further into the East End of London,
they found exactly what they had been searching for: a real East End
spirit—an inward looking quality, a distrust of strangers and
authority figures, a sense of territory and community that the
creators summed up as "Hurt one of us and you hurt us all".
When developing EastEnders, both Smith and Holland looked at
influential models like Coronation Street, but they found that it
offered a rather outdated and nostalgic view of working-class life.
EastEnders began, and featured the characters of Tony
Carpenter and Kelvin Carpenter, did
Coronation Street start to feature
black characters, for example. They came to the conclusion that
Coronation Street had grown old with its audience, and that EastEnders
would have to attract a younger, more socially extensive audience,
ensuring that it had the longevity to retain it for many years
thereafter. They also looked at
Brookside but found there was a
lack of central meeting points for the characters, making it difficult
for the writers to intertwine different storylines, so
set in Albert Square.
A previous UK soap set in an East End market was ATV's Market in Honey
Lane between 1967 and 1969. However this show, which graduated from
one showing a week to two in three separate series (the latter series
being shown in different time slots across the ITV network) was very
different in style and approach to EastEnders. The British Film
Institute described Market In Honey Lane thus: "It was not an
earth-shaking programme, and certainly not pioneering in any
revolutionary ideas in technique and production, but simply proposed
itself to the casual viewer as a mildly pleasant affair."
EastEnders, while also featuring an East End street market, would be
very different in its approach and impact.
The target launch date was originally January 1985. Smith and
Holland had eleven months in which to write, cast and shoot the whole
thing. However, in February 1984, they did not even have a title or a
place to film. Both Smith and Holland were unhappy about the January
1985 launch date, favouring November or even September 1984 when
seasonal audiences would be higher, but the
BBC stayed firm, and Smith
and Holland had to concede that, with the massive task of getting the
Elstree Studios operational, January was the most realistic date.
However, this was later to be changed to February.
The project had a number of working titles—Square Dance, Round the
Square, Round the Houses,
London Pride and East 8. It was the
latter that stuck (E8 is the postcode for Hackney) in the early months
of creative process. However, the show was renamed after many
casting agents mistakenly thought the show was to be called Estate,
and the fictional postcode E20 was created, instead of using E8.
Julia Smith came up with the name Eastenders after she and Holland had
spent months telephoning theatrical agents and asking "Do you have any
real East Enders on your books?" However, Smith thought
"Eastenders" "looked ugly written down" and was "hard to say", so
decided to capitalise the second 'e'.
Initial character creation and casting
Ethel Skinner and
Lou Beale were Walford's original
After they decided on the filming location of
BBC Elstree Centre in
Hertfordshire, Smith and Holland set about creating the 23 characters
needed, in just 14 days. They took a holiday in Playa de los
Pocillos, Lanzarote, and started to create the characters. Holland
created the Beale and Fowler family, drawing on his own background.
His mother, Ethel Holland, was one of four sisters raised in
Walthamstow. Her eldest sister, Lou, had married a man named Albert
Beale and had two children, named Peter and Pauline. These family
members were the basis for Lou Beale,
Pete Beale and Pauline Fowler.
Holland also created Pauline's unemployed husband Arthur Fowler, their
Mark Fowler and Michelle Fowler, Pete's wife
Kathy Beale and
their son Ian Beale. Smith used her personal memories of East End
residents she met when researching Victorian squares. Ethel
Skinner was based on an old woman she met in a pub, with ill-fitting
false teeth, and a "face to rival a neon sign", holding a Yorkshire
Terrier in one hand and a pint of
Guinness in the other. Other
characters created included Jewish doctor Harold Legg, the
Anglo-Cypriot Osman family, Ali Osman,
Sue Osman and baby Hassan
Osman, black father and son,
Tony Carpenter and Kelvin Carpenter,
single mother Mary Smith and Bangladeshi couple
Saeed Jeffery and
Naima Jeffery. Jack, Pearl and Tracey Watts were created to bring
"flash, trash, and melodrama" to the Square (they were later renamed
Angie Watts and Sharon Watts). The characters of Andy
Debbie Wilkins were created to show a modern couple with
outwardly mobile pretensions, and
Lofty Holloway to show an outsider;
someone who did not fit in with other residents. It was decided that
he would be a former soldier, as Holland's personal experiences of
ex-soldiers were that they had trouble fitting into society after
being in the army. When they compared the characters they had created,
Smith and Holland realised they had created a cross-section of East
End residents. The Beale and
Fowler family represented the old
families of the East End, who had always been there. The Osmans,
Jefferys and Carpenters represented the more modern diverse ethnic
community of the East End. Debbie, Andy and Mary represented more
Once they had decided on their 23 characters, they returned to London
for a meeting with the BBC. Everyone agreed that
EastEnders would be
tough, violent on occasion, funny and sharp—set in Margaret
Thatcher's Britain—and it would start with a bang (namely the death
of Reg Cox). They decided that none of their existing characters were
wicked enough to have killed Reg, so a 24th character,
Nick Cotton was
added to the line-up. He was a racist thug, who often tried to lead
other young characters astray. When all the characters had been
created, Smith and Holland set about casting the actors for the show.
EastEnders original titles sequence, 1985–1993
Through the next few months, the set was growing rapidly at Elstree,
and a composer and designer had been commissioned to create the title
Simon May wrote the theme music and Alan Jeapes created
the visuals. The visual images were taken from an aircraft flying
East End of London
East End of London at 1000 feet. Approximately 800
photographs were taken and pieced together to create one big
image. The credits were later updated when the
Millennium Dome was
The launch was delayed until February 1985 due to a delay in the
chat show Wogan, that was to be a part of the major revamp in BBC1's
schedules. Smith was uneasy about the late start as
longer had the winter months to build up a loyal following before the
summer ratings lull. The press were invited to Elstree to meet the
cast and see the lot, and stories immediately started circulating
about the show, about a rivalry with ITV (who were launching their own
market-based soap, Albion Market) and about the private lives of the
cast. Anticipation and rumour grew in equal measure until the
first transmission at 7 p.m. on 19 February 1985. Both
Holland and Smith could not watch; they both instead returned to the
place where it all began, Albertine's Wine Bar on Wood Lane. The
next day, viewing figures were confirmed at 17 million. The
reviews were largely favourable, although, after three weeks on
air, BBC1's early evening share had returned to the pre-EastEnders
figure of seven million, though
EastEnders then climbed to highs of up
to 23 million later on in the year. Following the launch, both
group discussions and telephone surveys were conducted to test
audience reaction to early episodes. Detailed reactions were taken
after six months and since then regular monitoring was
1980s broadcast history
Press coverage of EastEnders, which was already intense, went into
overdrive once the show was broadcast. With public interest so high,
the media began investigating the private lives of the show's popular
stars. Within days, the scandalous headline the producers had all
dreaded appeared—"EASTENDERS STAR IS A KILLER". This referred to
Leslie Grantham, and his prison sentence for the murder of a taxi
driver in an attempted robbery nearly 20 years earlier. This shocking
tell-all style set the tone for relations between
Albert Square and
the press for the next 20 years.
The show's first episode attracted some 17 million viewers, and it
continued to attract high viewing figures from then on. By
Christmas 1985, the tabloids couldn't get enough of the show.
EastEnders storylines and the actors on the show
became a staple of tabloid buyers daily reading.
Colin Brake suggested that 1989 was a year of big change for
EastEnders, both behind the cameras and in front of them. Original
production designer, Keith Harris, left the show, and Holland and
Smith both decided that the time had come to move on too; their final
contribution coinciding with the exit of one of
Den Watts (Leslie Grantham). Producer Mike
Gibbon was given the task of running the show and he enlisted the most
experienced writers to take over the storylining of the programme,
including Charlie Humphreys, Jane Hollowood and Tony McHale.
According to Brake, the departure of two of the soap's most popular
characters, Den and
Angie Watts (Anita Dobson), left a void in the
programme, which needed to be filled. In addition, several other
long-running characters left the show that year including Sue and Ali
Sandy Ratcliff and Nejdet Salih) and their family; Donna Ludlow
Carmel Jackson (Judith Jacob) and Colin Russell
(Michael Cashman). Brake indicated that the production team decided
that 1989 was to be a year of change in Walford, commenting, "it was
almost as if
Walford itself was making a fresh start".
By the end of 1989
EastEnders had acquired a new executive producer,
Michael Ferguson, who had previously been a successful producer on
ITV's The Bill. Brake suggested that Ferguson was responsible for
bringing in a new sense of vitality and creating a programme that was
more in touch with the real world than it had been over the previous
Changes in the 1990s
A new era began in 1990 with the introduction of
Phil Mitchell (Steve
McFadden) and Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp)—the Mitchell
brothers—successful characters who would go on to dominate the soap
thereafter. As the new production team cleared the way for new
characters and a new direction, all of the characters introduced under
Gibbon were axed from the show at the start of the year. Ferguson
introduced other characters and was responsible for storylines
including HIV, Alzheimer's disease and murder. After a successful
revamp of the soap, Ferguson decided to leave
EastEnders in July
1991. Furguson was succeeded by both
Leonard Lewis and Helen
Greaves who initially shared the role as Executive Producer for
EastEnders. Lewis and Greaves formulated a new regime for
EastEnders, giving the writers of the serial more authority in
storyline progression, with the script department providing "guidance
rather than prescriptive episode storylines". By the end of 1992,
Greaves left and Lewis became executive and series producer. He
EastEnders in 1994 after the
BBC controllers demanded an extra
episode a week, taking its weekly airtime from 60 to 90 minutes.
Lewis felt that producing an hour of "reasonable quality drama" a week
was the maximum that any broadcasting system could generate without
loss of integrity. Having set up the transition to the new
schedule, the first trio of episodes—dubbed The Vic siege—marked
Lewis's departure from the programme.
Barbara Emile then became
the Executive Producer of EastEnders, remaining with
EastEnders until early 1995. She was succeeded by Corinne
Hollingworth's contributions to the soap were awarded in 1997 when
EastEnders won the
BAFTA for Best Drama Series. Hollingworth shared
the award with the next Executive Producer, Jane Harris. Harris
was responsible for the critically panned Ireland episodes and Cindy
Beale's attempted assassination of Ian Beale, which brought in an
audience of 23 million in 1996, roughly four million more than
Coronation Street. In 1998 Matthew Robinson was appointed as
the Executive Producer of EastEnders. During his reign,
BAFTA for "Best Soap" in consecutive years 1999 and 2000 and many
other awards. Robinson also earned tabloid soubriquet "Axeman of
Albert Square" after sacking a large number of characters in one hit,
and several more thereafter. In their place, Robinson introduced new
long-running characters including Melanie Healy, Jamie Mitchell, Lisa
Shaw, Steve Owen and Billy Mitchell.
John Yorke became the Executive Producer of
EastEnders in 2000. Yorke
was given the task of introducing the soap's fourth weekly episode. He
axed the majority of the Di Marco family and helped introduce popular
characters such as the Slater family. As what
Mal Young described as
EastEnders most successful years", Yorke was responsible for
highly rated storlines such as "Who Shot Phil?", Ethel Skinner's
Jim Branning and Dot Cotton's marriage, Trevor Morgan's
domestic abuse of his wife Little Mo Morgan, and Kat Slater's
revelation to her daughter
Zoe Slater that she was her mother.
Louise Berridge succeeded Yorke as the Executive Producer.
During her time at EastEnders, Berridge introduced popular characters
such as Alfie Moon, Dennis Rickman, Chrissie Watts, Jane Beale,
Stacey Slater and the critically panned Indian Ferreira
Berridge was responsible for some ratings success stories, such as
Alfie and Kat Slater's relationship,
Janine Butcher getting her
comeuppance, Trevor Morgan and Jamie Mitchell's death storylines and
the return of one of the greatest soap icons, Den Watts, who had been
presumed dead for 14 years. His return in late 2003 was watched by
over 16 million viewers, putting
EastEnders back at number one in the
rating war with the Coronation Street. However, other storylines,
such as one about a kidney transplant involving the Ferreiras, were
not well received, and although Den Watts's return proved to be a
ratings success, the British press branded the plot unrealistic and
felt that it questioned the show's credibility. A severe press
backlash followed after Den's actor, Leslie Grantham, was outed in an
internet sex scandal, which coincided with a swift decline in viewer
ratings. The scandal led to Grantham's departure from the
soap, but the occasion was used to mark the 20th anniversary of
EastEnders, with an episode showing Den's murder at the Queen Vic pub.
On 21 September 2004, Berridge quit as executive producer of
EastEnders following continued criticism of the show. Kathleen
Hutchison was swiftly appointed as the Executive Producer of
EastEnders, and was tasked with quickly turning the fortunes of the
soap. During her time at the soap Hutchison axed multiple characters,
and reportedly ordered the rewriting of numerous scripts. Newspapers
reported on employee dissatisfaction with Hutchison's tenure at
EastEnders. In January 2005, Hutchison left the soap and John
Yorke (who by this time, was the
BBC Controller of Continuing Drama
Series) took total control of the show himself and became acting
Executive Producer for a short period, before appointing Kate Harwood
to the role. Harwood stayed at
EastEnders for 20 months before
being promoted by the BBC. On Friday 11 November 2005,
the first British drama to feature a two-minute silence. This
episode later went on to win the British Soap Award for 'Best Single
Episode'. In October 2006,
Diederick Santer took over as Executive
Producer of EastEnders. He introduced several characters to the show,
including ethnic minority and homosexual characters to make the show
'feel more 21st Century'. Santer also reintroduced past and popular
characters to the programme.
On 2 March 2007,
BBC signed a deal with Google to put videos on
YouTube. A behind the scenes video of EastEnders, hosted by Matt Di
Angelo, who played
Deano Wicks on the show, was put on the site the
same day, and was followed by another on 6 March 2007. In
EastEnders became available to view on mobile phones, via
3G technology, for 3, Vodafone and Orange customers. On 21 April
BBC launched a new advertising campaign using the slogan
"There's more to EastEnders". The first television advert showed
Dot Branning with a refugee baby, Tomas, whom she took in under the
pretence of being her grandson. The second and third featured
Stacey Slater and Dawn Swann, respectively. There have also
been adverts in magazines and on radio.
In 2009, producers introduced a limit on the number of speaking parts
in each episode due to budget cuts, with an average of 16 characters
per episode. The decision was criticised by Martin McGrath of Equity,
who said: "Trying to produce quality TV on the cheap is doomed to
BBC responded by saying they had been working that way for
some time and it had not affected the quality of the show.
Wikinews has related news:
BBC broadcasts first live episode of
From 4 February 2010, CGI was used in the show for the first time,
with the addition of computer-generated trains.
EastEnders celebrated its 25th anniversary on 19 February 2010. Santer
came up with several plans to mark the occasion, including the show's
first episode to be broadcast live, the second wedding between Ricky
Bianca Jackson and the return of Bianca's relatives,
mother Carol Jackson, and siblings Robbie Jackson,
Sonia Fowler and
Billie Jackson. He told entertainment website Digital Spy, "It's
really important that the feel of the week is active and exciting and
not too reflective. There'll be those moments for some of our
longer-serving characters that briefly reflect on themselves and how
they've changed. The characters don't know that it's the 25th
anniversary of anything, so it'd be absurd to contrive too many
situations in which they're reflective on the past. The main engine of
that week is great stories that'll get people talking." The live
episode featured the death of
Bradley Branning and the conclusion of
the "Who Killed Archie?" storyline, when
Stacey Branning revealed she
was the murderer. Viewing figures peaked at 16.6 million, which was
the highest viewed episode in seven years. Other events to mark
the anniversary were a spin-off DVD, EastEnders: Last Tango in
Walford, and an Internet spin-off, EastEnders: E20.
Bryan Kirkwood, executive producer (2010–2012)
Santer officially left
EastEnders in March 2010, and was replaced by
Bryan Kirkwood. Kirkwood's first signing was the reintroduction of
Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and
Kat Moon (Jessie
Wallace), and his first new character was Vanessa Gold, played by
Zöe Lucker. In April and May 2010, Kirkwood axed eight characters
from the show,
Barbara Windsor left her role of Peggy
Mitchell, which left a hole in the show, which Kirkwood decided to
fill by bringing back Kat and Alfie, which he said would "herald the
new era of EastEnders."
EastEnders started broadcasting in
high definition on 25 December 2010. Old sets had to be rebuilt,
The Queen Victoria
The Queen Victoria set was burnt down in a storyline (and in
reality) to facilitate this.
In November 2011, a storyline showed character Billy Mitchell, played
by Perry Fenwick, selected to be a torch bearer for the 2012 Summer
Olympics. In reality, Fenwick carried the torch through the setting of
Albert Square, with live footage shown in the episode on 23 July 2012.
This was the second live broadcast of EastEnders. In 2012,
Kirkwood chose to leave his role as executive producer and was
replaced by Lorraine Newman. The show lost many of its significant
characters during this period. Newman stepped down as executive
producer after 16 months in the job in 2013 after the soap was
criticised for its boring storylines and its lowest-ever figures
pointing at around 4.8 million.
Dominic Treadwell-Collins was
appointed as the new executive producer on 19 August
2013[non-primary source needed] and was credited on 9
December. He axed multiple characters from the show and
introduced the extended Carter family. He also introduced a
long-running storyline, "Who Killed Lucy Beale?", which peaked during
the show's 30th anniversary in 2015 with a week of live episodes.
Treadwell-Collins announced his departure from
EastEnders on 18
Sean O'Connor, former
EastEnders series story producer and then-editor
on radio soap opera The Archers, was announced to be taking over the
role. Treadwell-Collins left on 6 May and O'Connor's first
credited episode was broadcast on 11 July Although O'Connor's
first credited episode aired in July, his own creative work was not
seen onscreen until late September. Additionally, Oliver
brought in as the Head of Continuing Drama Series for
Studios, meaning that
Kent would oversee
EastEnders along with
O'Connor. O'Connor's approach to the show was to have a firmer
focus on realism, which he said was being "true to EastEnders' DNA and
[finding] a way of capturing what it would be like if
Julia Smith and
Tony Holland were making the show now." He said that "
always had a distinctly different tone from the other soaps but over
time we've diluted our unique selling point. I think we need to be
ourselves and go back to the origins of the show and what made it
successful in the first place. It should be entertaining but it should
also be informative—that's part of our unique
BBC compact with the
audience. It shouldn't just be a distraction from your own life, it
should be an exploration of the life shared by the audience and the
characters." O'Connor planned to stay with
EastEnders until the
end of 2017, but announced his departure on 23 June 2017 with
immediate effect, saying he wanted to concentrate on a career in
film. John Yorke returned as a temporary creative director.
"John Yorke is a
Walford legend and I am thrilled that he will be
joining us for a short period to oversee the show and to help us build
on Sean's legacy while we recruit a long-term successor." Yorke
initially returned for three months but his contract was later
extended to twelve months.
The Queen Victoria
The Queen Victoria Public House (as it looked from November 1992 to
September 2010) is the main focus point of
Albert Square (pictured).
The central focus of
EastEnders is the fictional Victorian square
Albert Square in the fictional
London Borough of Walford. In the
Albert Square is a 19th-century street, named after
Prince Albert (1819–61), the husband of Queen Victoria (1819–1901,
reigned 1837–1901). Thus, central to
Albert Square is The Queen
Victoria Public House (also known as The Queen Vic or The Vic).
The show's producers based the square's design on
Fassett Square in
Dalston. There is also a market close to
Fassett Square at Ridley
Road. The postcode for the area, E8, was one of the working titles for
the series. The name
Walford is both a street in
Tony Holland lived and a blend of
Walthamstow and Stratford—the
areas of Greater
London where the creators were born. Other
parts of the Square and set interiors are based on other locations.
The bridge is based upon one near
BBC Television Centre
BBC Television Centre which carries
the Hammersmith & City tube line over Wood Lane W12, the Queen Vic
on the former College Park Hotel pub in Willesden at the end of Scrubs
Lane at the junction with Harrow Road NW10 just a couple of miles from
BBC Television Centre, and the interior to the Fowlers' is based
on a house in Manor Road, Colchester, close to where the supervising
art director lived. The fictional local newspaper,
Walford Gazette, in which local news events such as the arrests or
murders of characters appear, mirrors the real Hackney
Walford East is a fictional tube station for Walford, and a tube map
that was first seen on air in 1996 showed
Walford East between Bow
Road and West Ham, in the actual location of Bromley-by-Bow on the
District and Hammersmith & City lines.
Walford has the postal district of E20. The postcode district was
selected as if it were part of the actual
E postcode area
E postcode area which covers
much of east
London although the next unused postcode district in the
area was, and still is (as of 2016[update]), E19. The E stands for
Eastern. In 1917 the postal districts in
London were assigned
alphabetically according to the name of the main sorting office for
each district. If
Walford had been assigned in this scheme it
would have been given E17, which is the postcode district for
Walthamstow. In March 2011,
Royal Mail allocated the E20 postal
district to the 2012 Olympic Park. The postal district in
EastEnders was entirely fictional up to that point, as
postal districts stopped at E18 at that time. The show's creators
opted for E20 instead of E19 as it was thought to sound better. In
September 2011, the postal code for
Albert Square was revealed in an
episode as E20 6PQ.
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List of EastEnders characters and List of past EastEnders
Cast/characters of EastEnders
The cast of 1985
The cast of 2000
The cast of 2014
EastEnders is built around the idea of relationships and strong
families, with each character having a place in the community. This
theme encompasses the whole Square, making the entire community a
family of sorts, prey to upsets and conflict, but pulling together in
times of trouble. Co-creator
Tony Holland was from a large East End
family, and such families have typified EastEnders. The first
central family was the combination of the Fowler family, consisting of
Pauline Fowler, her husband Arthur Fowler, and teenage children Mark
Michelle Fowler and the Beale family, consisting of Pete
Beale (Pauline's twin brother), his wife
Kathy Beale and their teenage
son Ian Beale. Pauline and Pete's mother was the domineering Lou
Beale, who lived with Pauline and her family. Holland drew on the
names of his own family for the characters.
The Watts and Mitchell families have been central to many notable
EastEnders storylines, the show having been dominated by the Watts in
the 1980s, with the 1990s focusing on the Mitchells. The early 2000s
saw a shift in attention towards the newly introduced female Slater
clan, before a renewal of emphasis upon the restored Watts family
beginning in 2003. Since 2006,
EastEnders has largely been dominated
by the Mitchell and Branning families, though the early 2010s also saw
a renewed focus on the Moon family, and from 2013 onwards, on the
Carters. The Beales are the show's longest running family, having been
EastEnders since it began in 1985. Key people
involved in the production of
EastEnders have stressed how important
the idea of strong families is to the programme. Peggy Mitchell,
in particular, is notorious for her ceaseless repetition of such
statements as "You're a Mitchell!" and "It's all about family!"
Pauline Fowler is also known for her insistence on family and
mentioning her brother and husband to instill loyalty from family
members. Her mother
Lou Beale is renowned for her family meetings and
traditional approach to family. More recently, Derek Branning
regularly expresses the importance of a strong family unit. As the
eldest sibling, he is constantly asserting his position as head of his
family and reminding everyone to pull together in times of trouble.
Additionally, Derek commonly refers to himself,
Max Branning and Jack
Branning as "the Branning brothers."
EastEnders has an emphasis on strong family matriarchs, with examples
Pauline Fowler and Peggy Mitchell, helping to attract a
female audience. John Yorke, then the BBC's head of drama production,
put this down to Tony Holland's "gay sensibility, which showed a love
for strong women". The matriarchal role is one that has been seen
in various reincarnations since the programme's inception, often
depicted as the centre of the family unit. The original matriarch
was Lou Beale, though later examples include Mo Harris, Pat
Butcher, Zainab Masood and Cora Cross. These characters
are seen as being loud and interfering but most importantly,
responsible for the well-being of the family and usually
stressing the importance of family, reflecting on the past.
The show often includes strong, brassy, long-suffering women who
exhibit diva-like behaviour and stoically battle through an array of
tragedy and misfortune. Such characters include Angie Watts,
Kathy Beale, Sharon Watts, Pat Butcher,
Denise Fox and Tanya Branning.
Conversely there are female characters who handle tragedy less well,
depicted as eternal victims and endless sufferers, who include Sue
Osman, Little Mo Mitchell, Laura Beale, Lisa Fowler, Ronnie Mitchell
and Linda Carter. The 'tart with a heart' is another recurring
character, often popular with viewers. Often their promiscuity masks a
hidden vulnerability and a desire to be loved. Such characters have
Pat Butcher (though in her latter years, this changed),
Tiffany Mitchell, Kat Slater, Stacey Slater, Dawn Swann, Roxy
Mitchell and Whitney Dean.
A gender balance in the show is maintained via the inclusion of
various "macho" male personalities such as Mick Carter, Phil Mitchell,
Jack Branning and Max Branning, "bad boys" such as Den
Watts, Michael Moon and Vincent Hubbard, and "heartthrobs" such as
Simon Wicks, Jamie Mitchell,
Dennis Rickman and Joey Branning. Another
recurring male character type is the smartly dressed businessman,
often involved in gang culture and crime and seen as a local authority
figure. Examples include Steve Owen, Jack Dalton, Andy Hunter,
Johnny Allen and Derek Branning. Following criticism aimed at the
show's over-emphasis on 'gangsters' in 2005, such characters have been
significantly reduced. Another recurring male character seen in
EastEnders is the 'loser' or 'soft touch', males often comically under
the thumb of their female counterparts, which have included Arthur
Fowler, Ricky Butcher,
Lofty Holloway and Billy Mitchell.
Other recurring character types that have appeared throughout the
serial are "cheeky-chappies" Pete Beale, Alfie Moon,
Garry Hobbs and
Kush Kazemi, "lost girls" such as Mary Smith,
Donna Ludlow and Mandy
Salter, delinquents such as Stacey Slater,
Jay Brown and Lola Pearce,
"villains" such as Nick Cotton, Trevor Morgan, May Wright, Yusef Khan,
Archie Mitchell and Dean Wicks, "bitches" such as Cindy Beale, Janine
Butcher, Lucy Beale,
Abi Branning and
Babe Smith and cockney "wide
boys" or "wheeler dealers" such as Frank Butcher, Alfie Moon,
Darren Miller and Fatboy.
Over the years
EastEnders has typically featured a number of elderly
residents, who are used to show vulnerability, nostalgia,
stalwart-like attributes and are sometimes used for comedic purposes.
The original elderly residents included Lou Beale,
Ethel Skinner and
Dot Cotton. Over the years they have been joined by the likes of Mo
Butcher, Jules Tavernier, Marge Green, Nellie Ellis, Jim Branning,
Charlie Slater, Mo Harris, Patrick Trueman, Cora Cross, Les Coker,
Rose Cotton, Pam Coker, Stan Carter, Babe Smith, Claudette Hubbard,
Ted Murray and Joyce Murray. Focus on
elderly characters has decreased since the show's inception. The
programme has more recently included a higher number of teenagers and
successful young adults in a bid to capture the younger television
audience. This has spurred criticism, most notably from the
actress Anna Wing, who played
Lou Beale in the show. She commented, "I
don't want to be disloyal, but I think you need a few mature people in
a soap because they give it backbone and body... if all the main
people are young it gets a bit thin and inexperienced. It gets too
EastEnders has been known to feature a 'comedy double-act', originally
demonstrated with the characters of Dot and Ethel, whose friendship
was one of the serial's most enduring. Other examples include
Paul Priestly and Trevor Short, Huw Edwards and Lenny Wallace,
Shirley Carter and Heather Trott,
Garry Hobbs and Minty Peterson,
Denise Fox and Zainab Masood,
Poppy Meadow and
Jodie Gold and Peggy
Mitchell and Pat Butcher. In 1989 especially,
characters were brought in who were deliberately conceived as comic or
light-hearted. Such characters included Julie Cooper—a brassy
maneater; Marge Green—a batty older lady played by veteran comedy
actress Pat Coombs;
Trevor Short (Phil McDermott)—the "village
idiot"; his friend, northern heartbreaker
Paul Priestly (Mark
Vince Johnson (Hepburn Graham) and Laurie
Bates (Gary Powell), who became Pete Beale's (Peter Dean) sparring
partner. The majority of EastEnders' characters are
working-class. Middle-class characters do occasionally become
regulars, but have been less successful and rarely become long-term
characters. In the main, middle-class characters exist as villains,
such as James Wilmott-Brown, May Wright,
Stella Crawford and Yusef
Khan, or are used to promote positive liberal influences, such as
Colin Russell or Rachel Kominski.
EastEnders has always featured a culturally diverse cast which has
included black, Asian, Turkish, Polish and Latvian characters. "The
expansion of minority representation signals a move away from the
traditional soap opera format, providing more opportunities for
audience identification with the characters and hence a wider
appeal". Despite this, the programme has been criticised by
the Commission for Racial Equality, who argued in 2002 that EastEnders
was not giving a realistic representation of the East End's "ethnic
make-up". They suggested that the average proportion of visible
minority faces on
EastEnders was substantially lower than the actual
ethnic minority population in East
London boroughs, and it therefore
reflected the East End in the 1960s, not the East End of the 2000s.
Furthermore, it was suggested that an element of "tokenism" and
stereotyping surrounded many of these minority characters. The
programme has since attempted to address these issues. A sari shop was
opened and various characters of different ethnicities were introduced
throughout 2006 and 2007, including the Fox family, the Masoods, and
various background artists. This was part of producer Diederick
Santer's plan to "diversify", to make
EastEnders "feel more 21st
EastEnders has had varying success with ethnic minority
characters. Possibly the least successful were the Indian Ferreira
family, who were not well received by critics or viewers and were
dismissed as unrealistic by the Asian community in the UK.
EastEnders has been praised for its portrayal of characters with
disabilities, including Adam Best (spina bifida), Noah Chambers
Jean Slater and her daughter Stacey (bipolar disorder), Janet
Mitchell (Down syndrome) and
Jim Branning (stroke). The show also
features a large number of gay, lesbian and bisexual characters,
including Colin Russell, Barry Clark, Simon Raymond, Tony
Hills, Sonia Fowler, Naomi Julien, Tina Carter, Tosh
Mackintosh, Ben Mitchell and Paul Coker. Kyle Slater, a
transgender character, was introduced in 2015.
EastEnders has a high cast turnover and characters are regularly
changed to facilitate storylines or refresh the format. The show
has also become known for the return of characters after they have
left the show.
Sharon Rickman returned in August 2012 for her third
stint on the show.
Den Watts returned 14 years after he was believed
to have died, a feat repeated by
Kathy Beale in 2015. Speaking
extras, including Tracey the barmaid (who has been in the show since
the first episode in 1985), have made appearances throughout the
show's duration, without being the focus of any major storylines. The
Nick Cotton gained a reputation for making constant exits
and returns since the programme's first year, until the character's
death in 2015.
As of December 2016[update], Adam Woodyatt,
Gillian Taylforth and
Letitia Dean are the only members of the original cast remaining in
the show, in their roles of Ian Beale,
Kathy Beale and Sharon Watts
respectively. Original character
Michelle Fowler also appears in the
show although recast.
Ian Beale is the only character to have appeared
continuously from the first episode without officially leaving, and is
the longest-serving character in EastEnders.
Dot Cotton is the
longest-serving female character in the show having served since 1985,
Pat Butcher is the longest-serving former character, appearing
from 1986 until 2012.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2017)
EastEnders programme makers took the decision that the show was to be
about "everyday life" in the inner city "today" and regarded it as a
"slice of life". Creator/producer
Julia Smith declared that "We
don't make life, we reflect it". She also said, "We decided to go
for a realistic, fairly outspoken type of drama which could encompass
stories about homosexuality, rape, unemployment, racial prejudice,
etc., in a believable context. Above all, we wanted realism". In
2011, the head of
BBC drama, John Yorke, said that the real East End
had changed significantly since
EastEnders started, and the show no
longer truly reflected real life, but that it had an "emotional
truthfulness" and was partly "true to the original vision" and partly
"adapt[ing] to a changing world", adding that "If it was a show where
every house cost a fortune and everyone drove a Lexus, it wouldn't be
EastEnders. You have to show shades of that change, but certain things
are immutable, I would argue, like The Vic and the market."
In the 1980s,
EastEnders featured "gritty" storylines involving drugs
and crime, representing the issues faced by working-class Thatcherite
Britain. Storylines included the cot death of 14-month-old Hassan
Osman, Nick Cotton's homophobia, racism and murder of Reg Cox,
Arthur Fowler's unemployment reflecting the recession of the 1980s,
the rape of
Kathy Beale in 1988 by James Willmott-Brown and
Michelle Fowler's teenage pregnancy. The show also dealt with
prostitution, mixed-race relationships, shoplifting, sexism, divorce,
domestic violence and mugging. In 1989, the programme came under
criticism in the British media for being too depressing, and according
to writer Colin Brake, the programme makers were determined to change
this. In 1989, there was a deliberate attempt to increase the
lighter, more comic aspects of life in Albert Square. This led to the
introduction of some characters who were deliberately conceived as
comic or light-hearted. Brake suggested that humour was an
important element in EastEnders' storylines during 1989, with a
greater amount of slapstick and light comedy than before. He classed
1989's changes as a brave experiment, and suggested that while some
found this period of
EastEnders entertaining, many other viewers felt
that the comedy stretched the programme's credibility. Although
the programme still covered many issues in 1989, such as domestic
violence, drugs, rape and racism, Brake reflected that the new
emphasis on a more balanced mix between "light and heavy storylines"
gave the illusion that the show had lost a "certain edge".
As the show progressed into the 1990s,
EastEnders still featured
hard-hitting issues such as
Mark Fowler discovering he was HIV
positive in 1991, the death of his wife Gill from an AIDS-related
illness in 1992, murder, adoption, abortion, Peggy Mitchell's battle
with breast cancer, and Phil Mitchell's alcoholism and violence
towards wife Kathy. Mental health issues were confronted in 1996 when
Joe Wicks developed schizophrenia following the off-screen
death of his sister in a car crash. The long-running storyline of Mark
HIV was so successful in raising awareness that in 1999, a
survey by the National Aids Trust found teenagers got most of their
HIV from the soap, though one campaigner noted that
in some ways the storyline was not reflective of what was happening at
the time as the condition was more common among the gay community.
Still, heterosexual Mark struggled with various issues connected to
HIV status, including public fears of contamination, a marriage
breakdown connected to his inability to have children and the side
effects of combination therapies.
In the early 2000s,
EastEnders covered the issue of euthanasia (Ethel
Skinner's death in a pact with her friend Dot Cotton), the unveiling
of Kat Slater's abuse by her uncle Harry as a child (which led to the
birth of her daughter Zoe, who had been brought up to believe that Kat
was her sister), the domestic abuse of
Little Mo Morgan
Little Mo Morgan by husband
Trevor (which involved rape and culminated in Trevor's death after he
tried to kill Little Mo in a fire), Sonia Jackson giving birth at
the age of 15 and then putting her baby up for adoption, and Janine
Butcher's prostitution, agoraphobia and drug addiction. The soap also
tackled the issue of mental illness and carers of people who have
mental conditions, illustrated with mother and daughter Jean and
Stacey Slater; Jean suffers from bipolar disorder, and teenage
daughter Stacey was her carer (this storyline won a Mental Health
Media Award in September 2006). Stacey went on to struggle with
the disorder herself. The issue of illiteracy was highlighted by
the characters of middle-aged Keith and his young son Darren.
EastEnders has also covered the issue of Down syndrome, as Billy and
Honey Mitchell's baby, Janet Mitchell, was born with the condition in
EastEnders covered child abuse with its storyline involving
Phil Mitchell's 11-year-old son Ben and lawyer girlfriend Stella
Crawford, and child grooming involving the characters Tony
King and Whitney Dean.
Aside from this, soap opera staples of youthful romance, jealousy,
domestic rivalry, gossip and extramarital affairs are regularly
featured, with high-profile storylines occurring several times a year.
Whodunits also feature regularly, including the "Who Shot Phil?"
storyline in 2001 that attracted over 19 million viewers and was one
of the biggest successes in British soap television, the "Who Killed
Archie?" story, which was revealed in a special live episode of the
show that drew a peak of 17 million viewers, and "Who Killed Lucy
See also: List of
EastEnders crew members
The Butcher/Jackson living room in 2008.
The exterior set for the fictional
Albert Square is located in the
permanent backlot of the
BBC Elstree Centre, Borehamwood,
Hertfordshire, at 51°39′32″N 0°16′40″W / 51.65889°N
0.27778°W / 51.65889; -0.27778, and is outdoors and open to the
weather. It was initially built in 1984 with a specification that
it should last for at least fifteen years at a cost of £750,000.
EastEnders lot was designed by Keith Harris, who was a senior
designer within the production team together with supervising art
directors Peter Findley and Gina Parr. The main buildings on the
square consisted originally of hollow shells, constructed from marine
plywood facades mounted onto steel frames. The lower walls,
pavements, etc., were constructed of real brick and tarmac. The set
had to be made to look as if it had been standing for years. This was
done by a number of means, including chipping the pavements, using
chemicals to crack the top layer of the paint work, using varnish to
create damp patches underneath the railway bridge, and making garden
walls in such a way they appeared to sag. The final touches were
added in summer 1984, these included a telephone box, telegraph pole
that was provided by British Telecom, lampposts that were provided by
Hertsmere Borough Council and a number of vehicles parked on the
square. On each set all the appliances are fully functional such
as gas cookers, the laundry washing machines and The Queen Victoria
The walls were intentionally built crooked to give them an aged
appearance. The drains around the set are real so rainwater can
naturally flow from the streets. The square was built in two
phases with only three sides being built, plus Bridge Street, to begin
with in 1984, in time to be used for the show's first episode.
Then in 1986, Harris added an extension to the set, building the
fourth side of Albert Square, and in 1987, Turpin Road was added,
which included buildings such as The Dagmar.
In 1993, George Street was added, and soon after
Underground station was built, to create further locations when
EastEnders went from two to three episodes per week. The set was
constructed by the
BBC in-house construction department under
construction manager Mike Hagan. The initial build took six months to
complete. Most of the buildings on
Albert Square have
no interior filming space, with a few exceptions, and most do not have
rears or gardens. Most areas by the front (and sometimes back) doors
are decorated and dressed to match the interior set to allow shots of
doors being opened. The grocery shop was originally
open fronted, it was turned into a closed front shop, with removable
interior walls to allow for filming inside the shop when the set was
expanded in 1987. Some interior shots are filmed in
the actual buildings, and the café also has some interior decoration
so some limited filming can take place by the door.
The newer exterior sets including fish and chip shop, video shop and
beauty salon had some interior filming space to create a greater sense
of realism. As the show is filmed up to six weeks in
advance, the trees need to have extra leaves stuck on them during the
spring to make them look like they would in summer.
In February 2008, it was reported that the set would transfer to
Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, where a new set would be
built as the set was looking "shabby", with its flaws showing up
on high-definition television broadcasts. However, by April 2010
a follow-up report confirmed that
Albert Square would remain at
Elstree Studios for at least another four years, taking the set
through its 25th anniversary. The set was consequently rebuilt
for high definition on the same site, using mostly real brick with
some areas using a new improved plastic brick. Throughout rebuilding
filming would still take place, and so scaffolding was often seen on
screen during the process, with some storylines written to accommodate
the rebuilding, such as the Queen Vic fire.
In 2014, then executive producer
Dominic Treadwell-Collins said that
Albert Square to look like a real-life east London
neighbourhood so that the soap would "better reflect the more
fashionable areas of east
London beloved of young professionals"
giving a flavour of the "creeping gentrification" of east London. He
added, "It should feel more like London. It's been frozen in aspic for
too long." The
BBC announced that they would rebuild the
EastEnders set, to secure the long-term future of the show, with
completion expected to be in 2018. The set will provide a modern,
upgraded exterior filming resource for EastEnders, and will copy the
appearance of the existing buildings. However, it will be 20 per cent
bigger, in order to enable greater editorial ambition and improve
working conditions for staff. A temporary set will be created on site
to enable filming to continue while the permanent structure is
rebuilt. As of May 2016, the rebuild has been delayed until 2020
and will cost in excess of £15 million, although the main
part of the set is scheduled to be able to start filming in May
The majority of
EastEnders episodes are filmed at the
Centre in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. When the number of episodes
was increased to four per week, more studio space was needed, so Top
of the Pops was moved from its studio at Elstree to
Centre in April 2001. Episodes are produced in "quartets" of four
episodes, each of which starts filming on a Tuesday and takes nine
days to record. Each day, between 25 and 30 scenes are
recorded. During the filming week, actors can film for as many as
eight to twelve episodes. Exterior scenes are filmed on a specially
constructed film lot, and interior scenes take place in four
studios. The episodes are usually filmed about six to eight
weeks in advance of broadcast. During the winter period, filming can
take place up to twelve weeks in advance, due to less daylight for
outdoor filming sessions. This time difference has been known to
cause problems when filming outdoor scenes. On 8 February 2007, heavy
snow fell on the set and filming had to be cancelled as the scenes due
to be filmed on the day were to be transmitted in April.
EastEnders is normally recorded using four cameras. When a
quartet is completed, it is edited by the director, videotape editor
and script supervisor. The producer then reviews the edits and
decides if anything needs to be re-edited, which the director will do.
A week later, sound is added to the episodes and they are technically
reviewed, and are ready for transmission if they are deemed of
Although episodes are predominantly recorded weeks before they are
EastEnders includes current events in their
episodes. In 1987,
EastEnders covered the general election. Using
a plan devised by co-creators Smith and Holland, five minutes of
material was cut from four of the pre-recorded episodes preceding the
election. These were replaced by specially recorded election
material, including representatives from each major party, and a scene
recorded on the day after the election reflecting the result, which
was broadcast the following Tuesday. The result of the 2010
general election was referenced in 7 May 2010 episode. During the
2006 FIFA World Cup, actors filmed short scenes following the
tournament's events that were edited into the programme in the
following episode. Last-minute scenes have also been recorded to
reference the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War
in 1995, the two-minute silence on Remembrance Day 2005 (2005 also
being the year for the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second
World War and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar),
Barack Obama's election victory in 2008, the death of Michael
Jackson in 2009, the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review,
Andy Murray winning the Men's Singles at the 2013 Wimbledon
Championships, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton,
the birth of Prince George of Cambridge. Scotland voting no
against independence in 2014, and the 100th anniversary of the
beginning of the Great War.
EastEnders is often filmed on location, away from the studios in
Borehamwood. Sometimes an entire quartet is filmed on location, which
has a practical function and are the result of
EastEnders making a
"double bank", when an extra week's worth of episodes are recorded at
the same time as the regular schedule, enabling the production of the
programme to stop for a two-week break at Christmas. These episodes
often air in late June or early July and again in late October or
early November. The first time this happened was in December 1985
when Pauline (Wendy Richard) and
Arthur Fowler (Bill Treacher)
travelled to the
Southend-on-Sea to find their son Mark, who had run
away from home. In 1986,
EastEnders filmed overseas for the
first time, in Venice, and this was also the first time it was not
filmed on videotape, as a union rule at the time prevented producers
taking a video crew abroad and a film crew had to be used
instead. In 2011, it was reported that eight per cent of the
series is filmed on location.
If scenes during a normal week are to be filmed on location, this is
done during the normal recording week. Off-set locations that
have been used for filming include
Hertfordshire (used for scenes set in
Gretna Green in July
Portsmouth (November 1991),
Milan (1997), Ireland
Amsterdam (December 1999),
Brighton (2001) and
Portugal (2003). In 2003, filming took place at Loch Fyne Hotel
and Leisure Club in Inveraray, The Arkinglass Estate in
Grims Dyke Hotel, Harrow Weald, north London, for a week of episodes
set in Scotland. 9 April 2007 episode featured scenes filmed at
St Giles Church and The Blacksmiths Arms public house in Wormshill,
the Ringlestone Inn, two miles away and Court Lodge Farm in Stansted,
Kent. and the Port of Dover, Kent. .
Other locations have included the court house, a disused office block,
Evershed House, and St Peter's Church, all in St
Albans, an abandoned mental facility in Worthing, Carnaby Street
in London, and a wedding dress shop in Muswell Hill, north
London. A week of episodes in 2011 saw filming take place on a
beach in Thorpe Bay and a pier in Southend-on-Sea—during which
a stuntman was injured when a gust of wind threw him off balance and
he fell onto rocks— with other scenes filmed on the Essex
coast. In 2012, filming took place in Keynsham, Somerset. In
January 2013, on-location filming at
Grahame Park in Colindale, north
London, was interrupted by at least seven youths who threw a firework
at the set and threatened to cut members of the crew. In October
2013, scenes were filmed on a road near
London Southend Airport
London Southend Airport in
The two-handers (when only two actors appear in an episode) were
originally done for speed; while a two-hander is being filmed, the
rest of the cast can be making another episode.
EastEnders has featured seven live broadcasts. For its 25th
anniversary in February 2010, a live episode was broadcast in which
Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) was revealed as Archie Mitchell's (Larry
Lamb) killer. Turner was told only 30 minutes before the live
episode and to maintain suspense, she whispers this revelation to
former lover and current father-in-law, Max Branning, in the very
final moments of the live show. Many other cast members only found out
at the same time as the public, when the episode was broadcast.
On 23 July 2012, a segment of that evening's episode was screened live
as Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) carried the
Olympic Flame around
Walford in preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics. In February
2015, for the soap's 30th anniversary, five episodes in a week
featured live inserts throughout them. Episodes airing on Tuesday 17,
Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 (which featured an hour long episode and
a second episode) all featured at least one live insert. The show
revealed that the killer of
Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) was her younger
brother, Bobby (Eliot Carrington), during the second episode on
Thursday, after a ten month mystery regarding who killed her. In a
flashback episode which revisited the night of the murder, Bobby was
revealed to have killed his sister. The aftermath episode, which aired
on Friday 20, was completely live and explained in detail Lucy's
death. Carrington was told he was Lucy's killer on Monday 16,
Laurie Brett (who plays Bobby's adoptive mother, Jane) was
informed in November, due to the character playing a huge role in the
cover-up of Lucy's murder. Bywater only discovered Bobby was
responsible for Lucy's death on the morning of Thursday, 19 November,
several hours before they filmed the scenes revealing Bobby as Lucy's
Each episode should run for 27 minutes and 15 seconds, however, if any
episode runs over or under then it is the job of post-production to
cut or add scenes where appropriate. As noted in the 1994
behind-the-scenes book, EastEnders: The First 10 Years, after filming,
tapes were sent to the videotape editor, who then edited the scenes
together into an episode. The videotape editor used the director's
notes so they knew which scenes the director wanted to appear in a
particular episode. The producer might have asked for further changes
to be made. The episode was then copied onto D3 video. The final
process was to add the audio which included background noise such as a
train or a jukebox music and to check it met the BBC's technical
standard for broadcasting.
EastEnders no longer uses tapes in the recording or
editing process. After footage is recorded, the material is sent
digitally to the post production team. The editors then assemble all
the scenes recorded for the director to view and note any changes that
are needed. The sound team also have the capability to access the
edited episode, enabling them to dub the sound and create the final
Budgets and costs
According to the book How to Study Television, in 1995
BBC £40,000 per episode on average. A 2012 agreement between
the BBC, the
Writers' Guild of Great Britain
Writers' Guild of Great Britain and the Personal
Managers' Association set out the pay rate for
EastEnders scripts as
£137.70 per minute of transmission time (£4,131 for 30 minutes),
which is 85 per cent of the rate for scripts for other
series. The writers would be paid 75 per cent of that fee for any
repeats of the episode. In 2011, it was reported that actors
receive a per-episode fee of between £400 and £1,200, and are
guaranteed a certain number of episodes per year, perhaps as few as 30
or as many as 100, therefore annual salaries could range from £12,000
to £200,000 depending on the popularity of a character. Some actors'
salaries were leaked in 2006, revealing that
Natalie Cassidy (Sonia
Fowler) was paid £150,000,
Cliff Parisi (Minty Peterson) received
Barbara Windsor (Peggy Mitchell) and
Steve McFadden (Phil
Mitchell) each received £360,000 and
Wendy Richard (Pauline Fowler)
had a salary of £370,000. In 2017, it was revealed that Danny
Dyer (Mick Carter) and
Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale) were the highest-paid
actors in EastEnders, earning between £200,000 and £249,999,
Laurie Brett (Jane Beale),
Letitia Dean (Sharon Watts),
Tameka Empson (Kim Fox),
Linda Henry (Shirley Carter), Scott Maslen
Diane Parish (Denise Fox),
Gillian Taylforth (Kathy
Lacey Turner (Stacey Slater), earning between £150,000 and
A 2011 report from the National Audit Office (NAO) showed that
EastEnders had an annual budget of £29.9 million. Of that,
£2.9 million was spent on scripts and £6.9 million went
towards paying actors, extras and chaperones for child actors.
According to the NAO,
BBC executives approved £500,000 of additional
funding for the 25th anniversary live episode (19 February
2010). With a total cost of £696,000, the difference was
covered from the 2009–2010 series budget for EastEnders. When
repeats and omnibus editions are shown, the
BBC pays additional fees
to cast and scriptwriters and incurs additional editing costs, which
in the period 2009–2010, amounted to £5.5 million.
According to a
Radio Times article for 212 episodes it works out at
£141,000 per episode or 3.5p per viewer hour.
Total annual cost
In 2014, two new studios were built and they were equipped with
low-energy lighting which has saved approximately 90,000 kwh per
year. A carbon literacy course was run with Heads of Departments
EastEnders attending and as a result, representatives from each
department agreed to meet quarterly to share new sustainability
ideas. The paper usage was reduced by 50 per cent across script
distribution and other weekly documents and 20 per cent across all
other paper usage. The production team now use recycled paper and
Also changes to working online has also saved transportation cost of
distribution 2,500 DVDs per year. Sets, costumes, paste pots and
paint are all recycled by the design department. Cars used by the
studio are low emission vehicles and the production team take more
efficient energy efficient generators out on location. Caterers
no longer use polystyrene cups and recycling on location must be
As a result of EastEnders' sustainability, it was awarded albert+, an
award that recognises the production's commitment to becoming a more
eco-friendly television production. The albert+ logo was first
shown at the end of the
EastEnders titles for episode 5281 on 9 May
EastEnders has remained at the centre of
primetime schedule. Since 2001, it has been broadcast at 7:30 pm
on Tuesday and Thursday, and 8 pm on Monday and Friday.
EastEnders was originally broadcast twice weekly at 7:00 pm on
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 19 February 1985. However, in September
1985 the two episodes were moved to 7:30 pm as
Michael Grade did
not want the soap running in direct competition with
and this remained the same until 7 April 1994. The
BBC had originally
planned to take advantage of the 'summer break' that
usually took to capitalise on ratings, but ITV1 added extra episodes
and repeats so that
Emmerdale Farm was not taken off the air over the
summer. Realising the futility of the situation, Grade decided to move
the show to the later 7:30 pm slot, but to avoid tabloid
speculation that it was a "panic move" on the BBC's behalf, they had
to "dress up the presentation of that move in such a way as to protect
the show" giving "all kinds of reasons" for the move.
EastEnders output then increased to three times a week on Mondays,
Tuesday and Thursdays from 11 April 1994 until 2 August 2001.
From 10 August 2001,
EastEnders then added its fourth episode (shown
on Fridays). This caused some controversy as it clashed with
Coronation Street, which at the time was moved to 8 pm to make
way for an hour-long episode of rural soap
Emmerdale at 7 pm. The
move immediately provoked an angry response from ITV insiders, who
argued that the BBC's last-minute move—only revealed at 3.30 pm
on the day—broke an unwritten scheduling rule that the two flagship
soaps would not be put directly against each other. In this first
EastEnders claimed victory over its rival.
In early 2003, viewers could watch episodes of
EastEnders on digital
BBC Three before they were broadcast on
BBC One. This was to
coincide with the relaunch of the channel and helped
BBC Three break
the one million viewers mark for the first time with 1.03 million who
watched to see Mark Fowler's departure. According to the
EastEnders website, there are on average 208 episodes outputted each
EastEnders was regularly repeated at 10 pm on
BBC Choice from the
channel's launch in 1998, a practice continued by
BBC Three for many
years until mid-2012 with the repeat moving to 10:30 pm. From 25
December 2010 to 29 April 2011 the show was repeated on
BBC HD in a
BBC Three. In 2015, the
BBC Three repeat moved
back to 10 pm. In February 2016, the repeat moved to W, the
rebranded Watch, after
BBC Three became an online-only
channel. Episodes of
EastEnders are available on-demand
BBC iPlayer for thirty days after their original
The omnibus edition, a compilation of the week's episodes in a
continuous sequence, originally aired on
BBC One on Sunday
afternoons, until 1 April 2012 when it was changed to a late
Friday night or early Saturday morning slot, commencing 6 April 2012,
though the exact time differed. It reverted to a weekend
daytime slot as from January 2013 on
BBC Two. In 2014, the omnibus
moved back to around midnight on Friday nights, and in April 2015, the
omnibus was axed, following detailed audience research and the
introduction of 30-day catch up on
BBC iPlayer and the planning of BBC
One +1. The last omnibus on the
BBC was shown on 24 April 2015. W
took over the same-day repeat of
EastEnders the first being 16
February 2016, they also returned the weekend omnibus 20 February
From 20 February to 26 May 1995, as part of the programme's 10th
Anniversary celebrations, episodes from 1985 were repeated each
morning at 10 am, starting from episode one. Four specially
selected episodes from 1985 and 1986 were also repeated on
Friday evenings at 8 pm under the banner "The Unforgettable
EastEnders". These included The wedding of
Michelle Fowler and Lofty
Holloway, The revelation of the father of Michelle's baby, a
Dot Cotton and
Ethel Skinner and the 1986 Christmas
Den Watts presenting
Angie Watts with divorce
EastEnders reruns began on
UKTV Gold when the channel launched in
1992. The series ran from the first episode and followed its original
broadcast order until August 1996 when the channel looped back to the
first episode. In October 2008,
UKTV Gold ceased showing EastEnders.
The last episode shown was from January 2006. Watch launched in
October 2008 and
EastEnders reruns from 5 January 2009 to 22 October
2009, finishing with episodes originally broadcast in December 2006.
On 1 December 2012, the
BBC uploaded the first 54 episodes of
EastEnders to YouTube, and on 23 July 2013 they uploaded a further 14
episodes bringing the total to 68. None of these episodes was
available as of 7 October 2017.
Countries in which
EastEnders is or has been broadcast
EastEnders is broadcast around the world in many English-speaking
countries. New Zealand became the first to broadcast EastEnders
overseas, the first episode being shown on 27 September 1985.
This was followed by the Netherlands on 8 December 1986, Australia on
5 January 1987, Norway on 27 April, and Barcelona on 30 June with a
Catalan dub. On 9 July 1987, it was announced that the show would be
aired in the United States on PBS.
BBC Worldwide licensed 200
EastEnders to for broadcast in
Serbia on RTS (dubbed into
Serbian); it began airing the first episode in December 1997. The
series was broadcast in the United States until
BBC America ceased
broadcasts of the serial in 2003, amidst fan protests. In June
Dish Network satellite television provider picked up
EastEnders, broadcasting episodes starting at the point where BBC
America had ceased broadcasting them, offering the serial as a
pay-per-view item. Episodes air two months behind the UK
schedule. Episodes from prior years are still shown on various PBS
stations in the US. Since 7 March 2017,
EastEnders has been
available in the United States on demand, 24 hours after it has aired
in the United Kingdom via BritBox, a joint venture between
The series was screened in Australia by ABC TV from 1987 until
1991. It is aired in Australia on Satellite & Streaming
BBC UKTV, from Mondays to Thursdays
7:50 pm–8:30 pm with two advert breaks of five minutes
each. Episodes are shown about one week after their UK broadcast.
In New Zealand, it was shown by
TVNZ 1 for several years, and
then on Prime each weekday afternoon. It is shown by
to Thursdays at 8 pm. Episodes are about two weeks behind the
EastEnders is shown on
BBC Entertainment (formerly
BBC Prime) in
Europe and in Africa, where it is approximately six episodes behind
the UK. It was also shown on
BBC Prime in Asia, but when the
channel was replaced by
BBC Entertainment, it ceased showing the
series. In Canada,
EastEnders was shown on
BBC Canada until
2010, at which point it was picked up by VisionTV. In
Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, the show is now cancelled but was
for decades shown on
BBC Nordic channels with local
EastEnders was shown on TV3 from September 1998 until
March 2001, when it moved over to RTÉ One, after RTÉ lost the rights
to air rival soap
Coronation Street to TV3. The series is
BBC One, which is widely available in the Republic, but
carries advertising since its 1998 debut on Irish TV. Additionally
EastEnders are available on-demand through
RTÉ Player for
seven days after their original screening.
HM Forces and their families stationed overseas can watch EastEnders
BBC One, carried by the British Forces Broadcasting Service, which
is also available to civilians in the
Falkland Islands and Tristan da
Cunha. It was previously shown on BFBS1.
In 1991 the
BBC sold the programme's format rights to a Dutch
production company IDTV, the programme was renamed Het Oude Noorden
(Translation: Old North). The Dutch version was re-written from
EastEnders scripts. The schedule
remained the same as
EastEnders twice weekly episodes, however some
notable changes included the programme is now set in
than London, characters are given Dutch names Den and Angie became Ger
and Ankie and
The Queen Victoria
The Queen Victoria pub is renamed "Cade Faas".
According to Barbara Jurgen who re-wrote the scripts for a Dutch
audience he said "The power of the show is undeniable. The Scripts are
full of hard, sharp drama, plus great one-liners which will translate
well to Holland." The Dutch version began broadcasting on
March 1993 and ran for 20 episodes but was cancelled after twenty
Spin-offs and merchandise
See also: List of
EastEnders television spin-offs
On 26 December 1988, the first
EastEnders "bubbles" was shown, titled
"CivvyStreet". Since then, "Return of Nick Cotton" (2000), "Ricky
& Bianca" (2002), "Dot's Story" (2003), "Perfectly Frank" (2003)
and "Pat and Mo" (2004) have all been broadcast, each episode looking
into lives of various characters and revealing part of their
backstories or lives since leaving EastEnders. In
1993, the two-part story "Dimensions in Time", a charity cross-over
with Doctor Who, was shown.
EastEnders Revealed was launched on
BBC Choice (now BBC
Three). The show takes a look behind the scenes of the
investigates particular places, characters or families within
EastEnders. An episode of
EastEnders Revealed that was commissioned
BBC Three attracted 611,000 viewers. As part of
the BBC's digital push,
EastEnders Xtra was introduced in 2005. The
show was presented by
Angellica Bell and was available to digital
viewers at 8:30pm on Monday nights. It was also shown after the Sunday
omnibus. The series went behind the scenes of the show and spoke to
some of the cast members. A new breed of
behind-the-scenes programmes have been broadcast on
BBC Three since 1
December 2006. These are all documentaries related to current
storylines in EastEnders, in a similar format to
though not using the
EastEnders Revealed name.
In October 2009, a 12-part Internet spin-off series entitled
EastEnders: E20 was announced. The series was conceived by executive
Diederick Santer "as a way of nurturing new, young talent,
both on- and off-screen, and exploring the stories of the soaps'
anonymous bystanders." E20 features a group of sixth-form
characters and targets the "
Hollyoaks demographic". It was written by
a team of young writers and was shown three times a week on the
EastEnders website from 8 January 2010. A second ten-part series
started in September 2010, with twice-weekly episodes available online
and an omnibus on
BBC Three. A third series of 15
episodes started in September 2011.
EastEnders and rival soap opera
Coronation Street took part in a
crossover episode for
Children in Need
Children in Need on 19 November 2010 called
"East Street". On 4 April 2015,
EastEnders confirmed plans
BBC One series featuring Kat and Alfie Moon. The six-part
drama, Kat & Alfie: Redwater, was created by executive producer
Dominic Treadwell-Collins and his team. In the spin-off, the
Moons visit Ireland where they "search for answers to some very big
Until its closure,
BBC Store released 553
EastEnders episodes from
various years, including the special episode "CivvyStreet", available
to buy as digital downloads.
Popularity and viewership
An example of EastEnders' popularity is that after episodes,
electricity use in the United Kingdom rises significantly as viewers
who have waited for the show to end begin boiling water for tea, a
phenomenon known as TV pickup. Over five minutes, power demand rises
by three GW, the equivalent of 1.5 to 1.75 million teakettles.
National Grid personnel watch the show to know when closing credits
begin so they can prepare for the surge, asking for additional power
from France if necessary.
EastEnders is the BBC's most consistent programme in terms of
ratings. It has proved highly popular and Appreciation Indexes
reflected this, rising from 55–60 at the launch to 85–95 later on,
a figure which was nearly ten points higher than the average for a
British soap opera. Research suggested that people
found the characters true to life, the plots believable and,
importantly in the face of criticism of the content, people watched as
a family and regarded it as viewing for all the family.[citation
needed] Based on market research by
BBC commissioning in 2003,
EastEnders is most watched by 60- to 74-year-olds, closely followed by
45- to 59-year-olds. An average EastEnders
episode[when?] attracts a total audience share between 35 and 40 per
cent. The same-day repeat showing on
attracted an average of 500,000 viewers, whilst the Sunday
omnibus generally attracted 3 million.
one of the more popular programmes on
British television and while the
show's ratings have fallen since its initial surge in popularity and
the advent of multichannel digital television, the programme continues
to be successful for the BBC.
EastEnders two main
rivals are ITV soaps
Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
30.15 million viewers watched
Den Watts serve Angie divorce papers
(Christmas Day 1986).
The launch show in 1985 attracted 17.35 million
viewers. 25 July 1985 was the first time the
show's viewership rose to first position in the weekly top ten shows
BBC One. The highest rated episode of
EastEnders is the
Christmas Day 1986 episode, which attracted a combined 30.15 million
viewers who tuned into either the original transmission or the omnibus
Den Watts hand over divorce papers to his wife Angie. This
remains the highest rated episode of a soap in British television
EastEnders clashed with
Coronation Street for the first time.
EastEnders won the battle with 8.4 million viewers (41% share) whilst
Coronation Street lagged behind with 7.3 million viewers (34 per cent
share). On 21 September 2004, Louise Berridge, the then executive
producer, quit following criticism of the show. The following day
the show received its lowest ever ratings at that time (6.2 million)
when ITV scheduled an hour-long episode of
Emmerdale against it.
Emmerdale was watched by 8.1 million people. The poor ratings
motivated the press into reporting viewers were bored with implausible
and ill-thought-out storylines. Under new producers, EastEnders
Emmerdale continued to clash at times, and
Emmerdale tended to
come out on top, giving
EastEnders lower than average
ratings. In 2006,
EastEnders regularly attracted
between 8 and 12 million viewers in official ratings. EastEnders
received its second lowest ratings on 17 May 2007, when 4.0 million
viewers tuned in. This was also the lowest ever audience share, with
just 19.6 per cent. This was attributed to a conflicting one hour
special episode of
Emmerdale on ITV1. However, ratings for the
EastEnders repeat on
BBC Three reached an all-time high of
1.4 million. However, there have been times when
EastEnders had higher ratings than
Emmerdale despite the two going
The ratings increased in 2010, thanks to the "Who Killed Archie?"
storyline and second wedding of
Ricky Butcher and Bianca Jackson, and
the show's first live episode on 19 February 2010. The
live-episode averaged 15.6 million viewers, peaking at 16.6 million in
the final five minutes of broadcast. In January 2010, the average
audience was higher than that of
Coronation Street for the first time
in three years. During the 30th anniversary week in which there
were live elements and the climax of the Who Killed Lucy Beale?
storyline, 10.84 million viewers tuned in for the 30th anniversary
episode itself in an hour long special on 19 February 2015 (peaking
with 11.9 million). Later on in the same evening, a special flashback
episode averaged 10.3 million viewers, and peaked with 11.2
million. The following day, the anniversary week was rounded off
with another fully live episode (the second after 2010) with 9.97
million viewers watching the aftermath of the reveal, the Beale family
finding out the truth of Lucy's killer and deciding to keep it a
Average, highest and lowest ratings for
EastEnders by year
Number of episodes
EastEnders is the most complained about programme on the BBC. It
has received both praise and criticism for most of its storylines,
which have dealt with difficult themes, such as violence, rape, murder
and child abuse.
Morality and violence
Mary Whitehouse, social critic, argued at the time that EastEnders
represented a violation of "family viewing time" and that it
undermined the watershed policy. She regarded
EastEnders as a
fundamental assault on the family and morality itself. She made
reference to representation of family life and emphasis on
psychological and emotional violence within the show. She was also
critical of language such as "bleeding", "bloody hell", "bastard" and
"for Christ's sake". However, Whitehouse also praised the programme,
describing Michelle Fowler's decision not to have an abortion as a
"very positive storyline". She also felt that
EastEnders had been
cleaned up as a result of her protests, though she later commented
EastEnders had returned to its old ways. Her criticisms were
widely reported in the tabloid press as ammunition in its existing
hostility towards the BBC. The stars of
Coronation Street in
particular aligned themselves with Mary Whitehouse, gaining headlines
such as "STREETS AHEAD! RIVALS LASH SEEDY EASTENDERS" and "CLEAN UP
SOAP! Street Star Bill Lashes 'Steamy' EastEnders".
EastEnders has been criticised for being too violent, most notably
during a domestic violence storyline between
Little Mo Morgan
Little Mo Morgan and her
husband Trevor Morgan. As
EastEnders is shown pre-watershed, there
were worries that some scenes in this storyline were too graphic for
its audience. Complaints against a scene in which Little Mo's face was
pushed in gravy on Christmas Day were upheld by the Broadcasting
Standards Council. However, a helpline after this episode attracted
over 2000 calls. Erin Pizzey, who became internationally famous for
having started one of the first women's refuges, said that EastEnders
had done more to raise the issue of violence against women in one
story than she had done in 25 years. The character of Phil
Mitchell (played by
Steve McFadden since early 1990) has been
criticised on several occasions for glorifying violence and proving a
bad role model to children. On one occasion following a scene in an
episode broadcast in October 2002, where Phil brutally beat his
Jamie Mitchell (Jack Ryder), 31 complaints came from viewers
who watched the scenes.
In 2003, cast member Shaun Williamson, who was in the final months of
his role of Barry Evans, said that the programme had become much
grittier over the past ten to fifteen years, and found it
"frightening" that parents let their young children watch.
In 2005, the
BBC was accused of anti-religious bias by a House of
Lords committee, who cited
EastEnders as an example. Dr. Indarjit
Singh, editor of the Sikh Messenger and patron of the World Congress
of Faiths, said: "EastEnders'
Dot Cotton is an example. She quotes
endlessly from the Bible and it ridicules religion to some
extent." In July 2010, complaints were received following the
storyline of Christian minister
Lucas Johnson committing a number of
murders that he believed was his duty to God, claiming that the
storyline was offensive to Christians.
In 2008, EastEnders, along with Coronation Street, was criticised by
Martin McGuinness, then Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, for
"the level of concentration around the pub" and the "antics portrayed
in the [...] Queen Vic".
Allegations of national and racial stereotypes
In 1997 several episodes were shot and set in Ireland, resulting in
criticisms for portraying the Irish in a negatively stereotypical way.
Ted Barrington, the Irish Ambassador to the UK at the time, described
the portrayal of Ireland as an "unrepresentative caricature", stating
he was worried by the negative stereotypes and the images of
drunkenness, backwardness and isolation. Jana Bennett, the BBC's then
director of production, later apologised for the episodes, stating on
BBC1's news bulletin: "It is clear that a significant number of
viewers have been upset by the recent episodes of EastEnders, and we
are very sorry, because the production team and programme makers did
not mean to cause any offence." A year later
BBC chairman Christopher
Bland admitted that as result of the Irish-set
the station failed in its pledge to represent all groups accurately
and avoid reinforcing prejudice.
In 2008, the show was criticised for stereotyping their Asian and
Black characters, by having a black single mum, Denise Wicks, and an
Asian shopkeeper, Zainab Masood. There has been criticism that
the programme does not authentically portray the ethnic diversity of
the population of East London, with the programme being
'twice as white' as the real East End.
Some storylines have provoked high levels of viewer complaints. In
August 2006, a scene involving
Carly Wicks (Kellie Shirley) and Jake
Moon (Joel Beckett) having sex on the floor of Scarlet nightclub, and
another scene involving
Owen Turner violently attacking Denise Fox,
prompted 129 and 128 complaints, respectively. Carly and Jake's
sex scenes were later removed from the Sunday omnibus
edition. The showdown of Rob, Dawn and May's
storyline where May stated to Dawn she could give her an elective
caesarean (Dawn being handcuffed to the bed) prompted 200
complaints. The 2007 domestic abuse storyline involving Ben
Stella Crawford attracted sixty complaints from viewers,
who found scenes where Ben was attacked by bullies as Stella looked on
In March 2008, scenes showing
Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner) and
Sean Slater (Rob Kazinsky), burying Tanya's husband Max
(Jake Wood) alive, attracted many complaints. The UK communications
Ofcom later found that the episodes depicting the storyline
were in breach of the 2005 Broadcasting Code. They contravened the
rules regarding protection of children by appropriate scheduling,
appropriate depiction of violence before the 9 p.m. watershed and
appropriate depiction of potentially offensive content. In
EastEnders began a grooming and paedophilia storyline
involving characters Tony King (Chris Coghill),
Whitney Dean (Shona
Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer),
Lauren Branning (Madeline
Peter Beale (Thomas Law). The storyline attracted over 200
In December 2010, Ronnie swapped her newborn baby, who died in cot,
with Kat Moon's living baby. Around 3,400 complaints were received,
with viewers branding the storyline "insensitive", "irresponsible" and
"desperate". Roz Laws from the
Sunday Mercury called the plot
"shocking and ridiculous" and asked "are we really supposed to believe
that Kat won't recognise that the baby looks different?" The
Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) praised the
storyline, and its director Joyce Epstein explained, "We are very
EastEnders for their accurate depiction of the devastating
effect that the sudden death of an infant can have on a family. We
hope that this story will help raise the public's awareness of cot
death, which claims 300 babies' lives each year." By 7 January,
that storyline had generated the most complaints in show history: the
BBC received about 8,500 complaints, and media regulator Ofcom
received 374. Despite the controversy however,
in rating highs of 9–10 million throughout the duration of the
In October 2014, the
BBC defended a storyline, after receiving 278
complaints about 6 October 2014 episode where pub landlady Linda
Carter was raped. On 17 November 2014 it was announced that Ofcom
will investigate over the storyline. On 5 January 2015, the
investigation was cleared by Ofcom. A spokesman of
Ofcom said: "After
carefully investigating complaints about this scene,
Ofcom found the
BBC took appropriate steps to limit offence to viewers. This included
a warning before the episode and implying the assault, rather than
Ofcom also took into account the programme's role in
presenting sometimes challenging or distressing social issues."
Portrayal of certain professions
EastEnders came under criticism from the police for the way
that they were portrayed during the "Who Killed Archie?" storyline.
During the storyline, DCI Jill Marsden and DC Wayne Hughes talk to
locals about the case and Hughes accepts a bribe. The police claimed
that such scenes were "damaging" to their reputation and added that
the character DC
Deanne Cunningham was "irritatingly inaccurate". In
response to the criticism,
EastEnders apologised for offending real
life detectives and confirmed that they use a police consultant for
In October 2012, a storyline involving Lola Pearce, forced to hand
over her baby Lexi Pearce, was criticised by the charity The Who
Cares? Trust, who called the storyline an "unhelpful portrayal" and
said it had already received calls from members of the public who were
"distressed about the
EastEnders scene where a social worker snatches
a baby from its mother's arms". The scenes were also condemned by
the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), calling the
lazy and arrogant" to correctly portray the child protection process,
and saying that the baby was taken "without sufficient grounds to do
so". Bridget Robb, acting chief of the BASW, said the storyline
provoked "real anger among a profession well used to a less than
accurate public and media perception of their jobs .. EastEnders'
shabby portrayal of an entire profession has made a tough job even
Awards and nominations
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by EastEnders
In popular culture
EastEnders in popular culture
Since its premiere in 1985,
EastEnders has had a large impact on
British popular culture. It has frequently been referred to in many
different media, including songs and television programmes.
Many books have been written about EastEnders. Notably, from 1985 to
1988, author and television writer Hugh Miller wrote 17 novels,
detailing the lives of many of the show's original characters before
1985, when events on screen took place.
Kate Lock also wrote four novels centred on more recent characters;
Steve Owen, Grant Mitchell,
Bianca Jackson and Tiffany Mitchell. Lock
also wrote a character guide entitled Who's Who in EastEnders
(ISBN 978-0-563-55178-2) in 2000, examining main characters from
the first 15 years of the show.
Julia Smith and
Tony Holland also wrote a book about the
show in 1987, entitled EastEnders: The Inside Story
(ISBN 978-0-563-20601-9), telling the story of how the show made
it to screen. Two special anniversary books have been written about
the show; EastEnders: The First 10 Years: A Celebration
(ISBN 978-0-563-37057-4) by
Colin Brake in 1995 and EastEnders:
20 Years in
Albert Square (ISBN 978-0-563-52165-5) by Rupert
Smith in 2005.
Television in the United Kingdom
Television in the United Kingdom portal
East End of London
East End of London in popular culture
List of soap operas
British television programmes
List of most-watched television broadcasts
List of television programmes broadcast by the BBC
List of programmes broadcast by RTÉ
List of programmes broadcast by TV3 Ireland
List of programs broadcast by Showcase
List of soap operas with LGBT characters
List of television shows set in London
List of television programs by episode count
List of television programs by name
^ Official ratings are over a seven-day period up to 2014, and over a
28-day period from 2015 onwards. Up to the end of 2001, but excluding
1996 and 1997, the rating was also combined with that of the omnibus
(though for 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998, some ratings are not combined,
^ Nine ratings are unknown due to them being outside of the top 10
ratings for their respective weeks, therefore the true average figure
is likely to be lower.
^ The viewing figures for 16 episodes are not combined with the
^ This rating is not combined with the omnibus; the lowest rating for
an episode with a combined rating was 12.87 million.
^ The viewing figures for 52 episodes are not combined with the
^ This rating is not combined with the omnibus; the lowest rating for
an episode with a combined rating was 12.02 million.
^ The viewing figures for 138 episodes are not combined with the
^ This rating is combined with the omnibus; the highest rating for an
episode without a combined rating was 19.69 million.
^ This rating is not combined with the omnibus; the lowest rating for
an episode with a combined rating was 13.89 million.
^ The viewing figures for 10 episodes are unknown.
^ The ratings are not combined with the omnibus before 29 June 1998,
but are combined thereafter.
EastEnders episode guide". Radio Times. Retrieved 23 December
^ "'EastEnders' reveals production team changes". Digital Spy.
Retrieved 9 August 2015.
^ "'Coronation Street': 7.9m watch Paul and Lloyd's showdown". Digital
Spy. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
^ Pamela Demory, Christopher Pullen (2013). "Queer Love in Film and
Television: Critical Essays". p. 35. Palgrave Macmillan,
^ "Rival soaps tie on awards night". London:
BBC News. 26 September
2006. Retrieved 4 November 2009.
EastEnders won the top soap title for
the 10th consecutive year, voted for by readers of Inside Soap
^ "Past Winners – The
National Television Awards
National Television Awards 2011".
National Television Awards. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
^ "Rose D'Or honour for EastEnders".
BBC News. 27 April 2006.
Retrieved 4 November 2009.
^ a b c Smith 2005, p. 10
^ a b c d Smith 2005, p. 11
^ Richard Bacon, host (17 November 2010). "Daily Bacon: Coronation
BBC Radio 5Live. Archived from the original (podcast) on 3
March 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
^ "Hole at the heart of the BBC", The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February
^ a b c Smith 2005
^ Buckingham 1987, p. 15
^ "Market on Honey Lane / Honey Lane (1967–69)". British Film
Institute. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
^ a b Smith & Holland 1987, p. 24
^ "What is the history of EastEnders?]".
BBC Online. Archived from the
original on 19 February 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
^ a b c d e f Smith 2005, p. 15
^ Smith & Holland 1987, p. 164
^ Smith & Holland 1987, p. 48
^ a b c Smith & Holland 1987, p. 49
^ a b Smith & Holland 1987, pp. 51–56
^ Smith & Holland 1987, p. 15
^ Smith & Holland 1987, p. 52
^ Smith 2005, p. 20
^ "Who wrote the thee tune?".
BBC Online. Retrieved 29 October
^ Smith & Holland 1987, p. 97
^ a b "How did you get the view of
London used on the opening
BBC Online. Archived from the original on 31
August 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
^ Smith & Holland 1987, p. 154
^ a b c d e Smith 2005, p. 17
^ Slide 1996, p. 35
^ Sabbagh, Dan (8 February 2010). "Is
EastEnders the lifeblood of the
BBC?". The Guardian. London.
^ a b c d e Brake 1995
^ a b c d e f g Brake 1995, p. 70
^ Brake 1995, pp. 75–76
^ Brake 1995, p. 91
^ a b Brake 1995, p. 90
^ Brake 1995, p. 100
^ Brake 1995, p. 104
^ "EASTENDERS: 11 February 1993". catalogue.bbc.co.uk. Archived from
the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
^ a b Alan Plater (11 January 2006). "Leonard Lewis". London: The
Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2007.
^ Brake 1995, p. 129
^ "EASTENDERS", BBC. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to EastEnders.
EastEnders at TV.com
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British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series
British Academy Television Award for Best Continuing Drama
British Academy Television Award for Best Soap and Continuing Drama
British Soap Award for Best British Soap
Inside Soap Award for Best British Soap
National Television Award for Most Popular Serial Drama
Links to related articles
Awards and nominations
In popular culture
The Queen Victoria
"Who Shot Phil?"
"Get Johnny Week"
"The Secret Mitchell"
"Who Killed Archie?"
"Who's Been Sleeping with Kat?"
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Episodes in Ireland
Queen Vic Fire Week
EastEnders Live Week
EastEnders in Paris"
Dimensions in Time
Kat & Alfie: Redwater
"Anyone Can Fall in Love"
"Every Loser Wins"
"Something Outa Nothing"
Present and future characters
Zsa Zsa Carter
Charlie Cotton (1986)
Beppe di Marco
Bruno and Luisa di Marco
Gianni di Marco
Rosa di Marco
Little Mo Mitchell
Celestine and Etta Tavernier
Lists of characters
By year: 1985
Others: Flaherty family
Dickens Hill inmates
The Banned band members
Characters from spin-offs
Zsa Zsa Carter
Soap operas in the United Kingdom
Pobol y Cwm
Rownd a Rownd
Medical and emergency services
(co-produced in the UK)
Home and Away
199 Park Lane
The Cedar Tree
Emergency – Ward 10
The Grove Family
Market in Honey Lane
Miracles Take Longer
Night and Day
The Royal Today
Starr and Company
Take the High Road
Front Line Family
Mrs Dale's Diary
BAFTA TV Award for Best Drama Series
Inspector Morse (1992)
Inspector Morse (1993)
Between the Lines (1994)
Jonathan Creek (1998)
The Cops (1999)
The Cops (2000)
Clocking Off (2001)
Cold Feet (2002)
Doctor Who (2006)
The Street (2007)
The Street (2008)
The Fades (2012)
Last Tango in Halifax
Last Tango in Halifax (2013)
Happy Valley (2015)
Wolf Hall (2016)