65 Facts About EastEnders


EastEnders is a British soap opera created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland which has been broadcast on BBC One since February 1985.

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Four EastEnders episodes are listed in the all-time top 10 most-watched programmes in the UK, including the number one spot when over 30 million watched the 1986 Christmas Day episode.

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EastEnders has been important in the history of British television drama, tackling many subjects that are considered to be controversial or taboo in British culture, and portraying a social life previously unseen on UK mainstream television.

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Since co-creator Holland was from a large family in the East End, a theme heavily featured in EastEnders is strong families and each character is supposed to have their own place in the fictional community.

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EastEnders has been filmed at the BBC Elstree Centre since its inception, with a set that is outdoors and open to weather.

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However, EastEnders has been commended for representing real-life issues and spreading awareness on social topics.

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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.

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Only after EastEnders began, and featured the characters of Tony Carpenter and Kelvin Carpenter, did Coronation Street start to feature black characters, for example.

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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 .

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EastEnders was a racist thug, who often tried to lead other young characters astray.

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Press coverage of EastEnders, which was already intense, went into overdrive once the show was broadcast.

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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".

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EastEnders left EastEnders in 1994 after the BBC controllers demanded an extra episode a week, taking its weekly airtime from 60 to 90 minutes.

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EastEnders axed the majority of the Di Marco family and helped introduce popular characters such as the Slater family.

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Kathleen Hutchison was swiftly appointed as the Executive Producer of EastEnders, and was tasked with quickly turning the fortunes of the soap.

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On Friday 11 November 2005, EastEnders was the first British drama to feature a two-minute silence.

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EastEnders introduced several characters to the show, including ethnic minority and homosexual characters to make the show 'feel more 21st Century'.

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EastEnders axed multiple characters from the show and introduced the extended Carter family.

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In late 2016, popularity and viewership of EastEnders began to decline, with viewers criticising the storylines during the O'Connor reign, such as the killing of the Mitchell sisters and a storyline centred around the local bin collection.

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In February 2020, EastEnders celebrated its 35th anniversary with a stunt on the River Thames leading to the death of Dennis Rickman Jr .

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EastEnders's confirmed that EastEnders would return to filming during June 2020 and that there would be a transmission break between episodes filmed before and after production paused.

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On 9 April 2021, following the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the episode of EastEnders that was due to be aired that night was postponed along with the final of Masterchef.

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On 12 October 2021, it was announced that EastEnders would partake in a special week-long crossover event involving multiple British soaps to promote the topic of climate change ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

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On 2 June 2022, EastEnders aired an episode celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

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Central focus of EastEnders is the fictional Victorian square Albert Square in the fictional London Borough of Walford.

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EastEnders is built around the idea of relationships and strong families, with each character having a place in the community.

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In 2006, EastEnders became largely dominated by the Mitchell, Masood and Branning families, though the early 2010s saw a renewed focus on the Moon and Slater family, and, from 2013 onwards, the Carters.

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Key people involved in the production of EastEnders have stressed how important the idea of strong families is to the programme.

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EastEnders has an emphasis on strong family matriarchs, with examples including Pauline Fowler and Peggy Mitchell, helping to attract a female audience.

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EastEnders has always featured a culturally diverse cast which has included black, Asian, Turkish, Polish and Latvian characters.

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EastEnders has been praised for its portrayal of characters with disabilities, including Adam Best, Noah Chambers, Jean Slater and her daughter Stacey, Janet Mitchell, Jim Branning and Dinah Wilson .

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EastEnders has a high cast turnover and characters are regularly changed to facilitate storylines or refresh the format.

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EastEnders 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.

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EastEnders has covered the issue of Down syndrome, as Billy and Honey Mitchell's baby, Janet Mitchell, was born with the condition in 2006.

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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 as the perpetrator and Whitney Dean as the victim.

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The 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.

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The majority of EastEnders episodes are filmed at the BBC Elstree Centre in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

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In January 1987, EastEnders had three production teams each comprising a director, production manager, production assistant and assistant floor manager.

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EastEnders is often filmed on location, away from the studios in Borehamwood.

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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.

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In 1986, EastEnders filmed overseas for the first time, in Venice, and this was 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.

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Since 1985, EastEnders has remained at the centre of BBC One's primetime schedule.

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EastEnders was originally broadcast twice weekly at 7:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 19 February 1985; however, in September 1985 the two episodes were moved to 7:30pm as Michael Grade did not want the soap running in direct competition with Emmerdale Farm, and this remained the same until 7 April 1994.

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On 21 February 2022, it was announced that from 7 March 2022, EastEnders would begin airing from Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm, therefore no longer airing on a Friday.

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EastEnders was regularly repeated at 10pm 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 10:30pm.

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Episodes of EastEnders are available on-demand through BBC iPlayer for 30 days after their original screening.

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EastEnders is broadcast around the world in many English-speaking countries.

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In June 2004, the satellite television provider Dish Network picked up EastEnders, broadcasting episodes starting at the point where BBC America had ceased broadcasting them, offering the series as a pay-per-view item.

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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 BBC and ITV.

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EastEnders is shown on BBC Entertainment in Europe and in Africa, where it is approximately six episodes behind the UK.

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In Canada, EastEnders was shown on BBC Canada until 2010, at which point it was picked up by VisionTV.

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In Ireland, EastEnders was shown on TV3 from September 1998 until March 2001, when it moved over to RTE One, after RTE lost to TV3 the rights to air rival soap Coronation Street.

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Additionally, episodes of EastEnders are available on-demand through RTE Online for seven days after their original screening.

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On 4 April 2015, EastEnders confirmed plans for a BBC One series featuring Kat and Alfie Moon.

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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.

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EastEnders is the BBC's most consistent programme in terms of ratings, and as of 2021, episodes typically receive between 4 and 6 million viewers.

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The highest rated episode of EastEnders is the Christmas Day 1986 episode, which attracted a combined 30.

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In 2006, EastEnders regularly attracted between 8 and 12 million viewers in official ratings.

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EastEnders received its second lowest ratings on 17 May 2007, when 4.

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Mary Whitehouse, social critic, argued at the time that EastEnders represented a violation of "family viewing time" and that it undermined the watershed policy.

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EastEnders's regarded EastEnders as a fundamental assault on the family and morality itself.

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EastEnders's made reference to representation of family life and emphasis on psychological and emotional violence within the show.

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EastEnders has been criticised for being too violent, most notably during a domestic violence storyline between Little Mo Morgan and her husband Trevor Morgan .

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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.

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In September 2008, EastEnders began a grooming and paedophilia storyline involving characters Tony King, Whitney Dean, Bianca Jackson, Lauren Branning and Peter Beale .

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