EastEnders first hit the TV screens on 19th February 1985 and has been one of the most watched TV shows ever since. It is centred around the fictional London borough of Walford, with the Queen Vic and Albert Square being the main focus of action. It started off life as two half episodes a week on BBC1, but since August 2001 it has been expanded to four episodes a week, with an omnibus every Sunday.
During its time it has won many awards, including the Inside Soap Award for ‘Best Soap’ for 10 years, eleven National Television Awards for ‘Most Popular Serial Drama’, eight TV Quick/TV Choice Awards for ‘Best Soap’ and six BAFTA Awards. It was created by producer Julia Smith and script editor Tony Holland who brought elements of their real life into the show, giving it a gritty edge and being the first TV show to tackle several controversial issues.
The soap has had several different families as its central focus, starting off with the Fowler and Beales when the show first aired. Since then different families have come and gone, both in presence and in power, from the Watts in the 1980s and the Mitchells in the 1990s. The 2000s have seen several families take the limelight, from the Slaters, back to the Watts and then onto the Brannings and Mitchells.
Over the years it has covered many issues, including abuse, unemployment, racism, rape, divorce, mental health issues, AIDS and prostitution. The show has also featured characters at both ends of the age spectrum and of different races. The show has featured the older generation, thinking of Lou Beale, Dot Cotton and Ethel Skinner, and in more recent years has had story lines centred around younger people such as Stacey Slater.
As well as winning many awards EastEnders has also taken a large chunk of the viewing figures, reaching the number one spot just 8 months after it was launched and staying in the top TV programmes list ever since. There have been many headline hitting story lines over the years, including ‘Who made Michelle Fowler pregnant’, ‘Who shot Phil’ and ‘Who killed Archie’, the conclusion of which was shown as a live episode on the 25th anniversary of the show.
EastEnders Actors & Actresses