Julia Smith |
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||4, 311 (as of October 28, 2011)|
Bryan Kirkwood |
|Original airing||February 19, 1985|
EastEnders is a British television soap opera, which made its debut in United Kingdom on February 19, 1985, and continues airing to this day.
Besides its run in the UK, EastEnders would also be seen on some US PBS stations (the episodes would be from a couple of years back) over the years.
One of the longer running soaps in the UK (it celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015), EastEnders' storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End of London.
The series primarily centers around the residents of Albert Square, a Victorian square of terraced houses, and its neighboring streets, namely Bridge Street, Turpin Road and George Street, and which encompasses a pub, street market, night club, community center, café and various small businesses, in addition to a park and allotments.
EastEnders focuses on the lives of the many various families who live and work in Albert Square in the fictitious borough of Walford in London's East End.
The original family unit in the series was the Fowler and Beale families, who were related. The Fowler/Beale family was led by widowed matriarch, Lou Beale (Anna Wing) who had several children. The children who were featured most prominently were her fraternal twin children, Pete (Peter Dean) and Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard), although later on, for a brief time, their brother, Kenny, joined the family fold.
Pete, who ran the fruit and vegetable stall in the borough's open-air street market, which had belonged to his late father, Albert, was married to Kathy (Gillian Taylforth), who ran a nearby café in the community, and they had a son named Ian (Adam Woodyatt), who wanted to become a chef; while Pauline was married to the somewhat loutish but lovable Arthur Fowler (Bill Treacher) and had two grown children, Mark (David Scardino; Todd Carty) and Michelle (Susan Tully; Jenna Russell).
Pauline was pregnant with her third child when the series began. She would later give birth to her son, Martin (currently played by James Bye).
Martin, now grown, along with his older sister, Michelle, and Ian (who is their cousin) comprise one of the few connections to the earlier Fowler years. The person who holds the family together is Martin's teenage daughter, Rebecca (Jasmine Armfield), who is now called "Bex".
In a lot of ways, Bex will continue being the glue that holds the family close, following in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Lou; her grandmother, Pauline; and her aunt Michelle.
Not long after, Michelle herself was pregnant, by the landlord of the Queen Victoria (commonly called the Queen Vic), Dennis Watts (Leslie Grantham). The Queen Vic was the local pub in the Albert Square neighborhood.
Dennis, aptly nicknamed, Den or Dirty Den, was the father of Michelle's best friend, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean). He was married to Angie Watts (Anita Dobson), and after he served divorce papers on her (at Christmas, no less! This would set the stage of a tradition of major and story-changing situations/fights occurring during the Christmas season), he would marry the scheming Chrissie (Tracy-Ann Oberman). It would be the scheming Chrissie who would kill Dennis with a doorstop; although she would try to frame Samantha Mitchell (Daniella Westbrook) for the crime.
Michelle would give birth to a little girl named Vicki. Vicki, who would become a slightly troublesome girl, would be played as an adult by Scarlett Alice Johnson. Michelle would later remarry a man named Tim in the US, and she would give birth to a son named Mark, named after her brother who would die of HIV.
However, it was later revealed that Mark Jr. (Ned Porteus) was the son of Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp), who had been married to her friend, Sharon. Mark told Sharon he knows who his father is, and Sharon confirmed it. She however, advises Mark to not get involved with Grant. He agrees to this and leaves Walford to go back to the States with his mother and Tim, the man he always considered his father.
Vicki is said to be living in Sydney, Australia with Spencer Moon, the brother of Alfie Slater (Shane Ritchie); and Mark, after the aforementioned time of visiting Walford, returned to the States, where he currently lives with the man whom he knew as his father, Tim, in Pensacola, Florida. He has a girlfriend, and is happy.
Some twenty-one years after she left Walford for good, Michelle would later return, where she would follow the steps of her mother and grandmother in being the matriarch of the Fowler family. It was revealed that she had had an illegal affair with a seventeen-year-old student, Preston Cooper (Martin Anzor), while a teacher of English Literature. It was due to this that Mark was not speaking to his mother, as she had broken Florida law.
She would leave again in 2018, going to visit Vicki and Spencer in Australia.
Many different families came and went, but the most stable of the families were the Fowlers; the Mitchells; the Slaters and the Brannings.
Ownership of the Queen Vic shifted many times over the years that the series has been on the air, but it was usually synonymous with the imperious Peggy Mitchell (originally played by Jo Warne; but later made famous by actress Barbara Windsor), who, when she was crossed, would yell, "Get outta my pub! (this was considered to be Peggy's catch-phrase)"
The Mitchells were originally just brothers Phil (Steve McFadden) and Grant. The more level-headed Phil was married to the widowed Kathy Beale (with whom she would give birth to a son, Ben); while the often violent Grant was married to Sharon. However, Phil and Sharon would have an affair (which followers of the show would dub "Sharongate") which destroyed blood ties.
However, years later, they would be reconciled. Meanwhile, Phil would become as violent as his brother, if not worse than he ever was! He would be involved with Mark Fowler's second wife, Lisa (Lucy Benjamin), and she would give birth to a daughter named Louise (named after Mark's late maternal grandmother, Lou).
Years later, he would become a crack addict (exacerbated by a frequent drinking problem), and would be hauled up and locked in a living room by his family.
A frequent presence in the square is Dot Cotton Branning (June Brown). Dot was Pauline's long-time co-worker and friend at the local launderette. She was pious, and quite moralistic, although she was also a very heavy chain-smoker. She had been widowed by scheming Charlie Cotton, and was the mother of Nick (John Altman), the square's first major villain (it was later revealed that Nick had killed pensioner Reg Cox, in the show's first story).
She would later marry divorced Jim Branning (John Barden), and would become stepmother to his children, Derek, Carol, Max and Jack. She also became the grandmother to their children, Bianca Jackson, Lauren Branning, Abi Branning, and Oscar Branning among others. Also joining the family was Max's wife, Tanya (Jo Joyner) and her mother, Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell). Later joining was Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks), Cora's younger daughter and Tanya's sister.
Others in the square include Pat Evans (Pam St Clement), a formerly loose and many times married woman (she was once married to Pete Beale, had an affair with Pete's brother, Kenny; and married to a man named Brian Wicks, who was proven to be the father of her now-grown son, Simon "Wicksy" Wicks, he had been thought to be Pete's son), who would later become of the stalwarts of the square until her death (she and Peggy were often frenemies, palling around one minute, while rowing the next); and her stepdaughter, the devious Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks).
Janine was the daughter of one of Pat's former husbands, Frank Butcher (who had also been married to Peggy Mitchell at one time). A former prostitute, she was also a very successful but conniving businesswoman who had a tendency to anger people.
The schemer would continually cause grief for many people on the square. Like her stepmother, Pat, Janine would be married numerous times. She would antagonize a lot of people in the square (she would feud with Laura Beale, one of Ian Beale's many wives, which would be fatal to her, but Janine would skate from it, after Pat was forced to give her an alibi) with no concern for the damage she would cause.
She would become very wealthy (due to her being the sole beneficiary of her late maternal grandmother, Lydia Simmons', will) although this would be tarnished as she would later be arrested for the murder of her final husband, Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd), with whom she had a daughter named Scarlett.
She was previously married to a man named Barry Evans (whose father, Roy, was married to Janine's stepmother, Pat, until his death); and was also married to Ryan Malloy, who cheated on her with one of her most frequent arch-enemies, Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner), and is the father of Stacey's oldest daughter, Lily.
Stacey, herself quite troubled (she had bipolar disorder), would later marry Martin Fowler and would give birth to their daughter, Hope. She also had an adopted son, Arthur, named after Martin's late father. She also became an excellent stepmother to Martin's teenage daughter, Bex.
In one memorable fight, Stacey took the fight to her in front of the entire square (as always), and punished Janine with getting her face muddied and punched for calling Social Services on her about her daughter, Lily and for Janine killing Danielle Jones, the unknown daughter of Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) in a hit and run accident.
Janine would be imprisoned for her murder of Michael (she WOULD be revealed to have had done the dirty deed, after she found out about his relationship with Alice Branning, the daughter of the evil Derek Branning), but, when she was released from prison, everyone in the square didn't have any good words to say about her.
As such, she left Walford for good, but true to form, she would latch herself to a young couple who had just won the lottery. She was intent to fleece them out of their newfound wealth to add to her own wealth.
Other familiar faces would include Stacey's cousin, Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace), a girl who had a lot of troubles in her life (including a rape from an uncle who would produce her daughter, Zoe, who would be raised as her sister), who would later become one of the landladies of the Queen Vic and would marry Alfie and would have children of her own with him; her father, Charlie (Derek Martin); her grandmother, Mo Harris (Laila Morse), who was the former best friend and sister in-law of Pat Evans, whom she would row with on more than one occasion; Little Mo (Kacey Ainsworth), who was married to the very abusive Trevor Morgan (Alex Ferns), who would meet his deserved end in a house explosion; and their other sister, Lynne Hobbs (Elaine Lordan). Also considered part of the Slater family was Jean (Gillian Wright), the mother of Stacey and her troublemaking son, Sean (Robert Kazinsky) who herself had bipolar disorder.
Another long-term character is Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), one of Phil Mitchell's many paramours. She was introduced as the mother of Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) and Carly Wicks (Kellie Shirley) and has had a long-time liaison with Phil, despite his relationship with Sharon Watts (after his marriage to Sharon, Shirley shot him accidentally).
Also introduced was her son (although she had said at first he was her brother), Michael, called Mick (Danny Dyer); his long-time partner and later wife, Linda (Kellie Bright), their children, Lee (Danny-Boy Hatchard), Nancy (Maddy Hill) and Johnny (Sam Strike, Ted Reilly), Linda would give birth to another child, Ollie (who would have seizures after a fight between his older siblings, Lee and Nancy) and other various members of their family, including her sister, Tina (Luisa Bradshaw-White), a woman who had a daughter named Zsa Zsa (Emer Kenny).
After her marriage to a man named Andy faltered, Tina would later come out as a lesbian, who had been in a violent relationship with fire fighter Fiona Mackintosh (Rebecca Scroggs), and would later become involved with the much nicer Sonia Jackson (Natalie Cassidy), the former wife of Martin Fowler and the mother of Bex.
Also included was Mick's aunt, Babe Smith (Annette Badland), a bubbly woman who was also known for her blackmailing streak.
Babe was a troublemaking woman who also had to deal with her sister, Sylvie Carter (Linda Marlowe) and her scheming and conniving nature against several people, including Les and Pam Coker whom she blackmailed; Abi Branning, whom she schemed and connived with to fake a pregnancy with Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid), her old friend; and her feud with Claudette Hubbard (Ellen Thomas).
After being caught stealing from the pub by Shirley, Mick threw Babe out of the pub and his life. She would curse them, and although most of her curse was reversed, troubles would befall the Carters.
The Carters would, despite all the trials, become one of the chief families in the Square. They owned the license of the Queen Vic, running it as well as the Mitchells had in their prime, until conniving businessman, James Wilmott-Brown (William Boyde) returned to town and proceeded to make their lives miserable.
However, his machinations failed, and his children, disgusted with his behavior (which included him raping Kathy Beale back in the early years of the series), gave up on their plans for revamping Albert Square called The Dagmar Project (named after Wilmott-Brown's former wine bar, The Dagmar, which had been burned down in a rage by Den Watts), and reinstated the Carters as the landlords of the Queen Vic (as it should be), and they left the Queen Vic and the square as it should be. In the end, the evil Wilmott-Brown died in the hospital of a heart attack, alone and unwanted.
The revelation that Max Branning had been the one who set the whole Dagmar Project in motion as a result of spite, nearly destroyed the Branning family completely. In a fit of sorrow, Max tried to jump off the roof of the Queen Vic (which had been the same method which his son, Bradley, done himself in), but he was stopped by his daughters, Abi and Lauren. In a horrible turn of events, Lauren and Abi both fell off the roof. Abi was critically injured and was in a coma; while Lauren would recover, and would only have a broken leg.
After a time, her parents, and the rest of her family, would have Abi taken off life support. Abi, who was pregnant, would have her baby delivered by caesarean section. The baby would be named Abi, after her late mother. Abi's father would be the late Steven Beale.
After Abi's funeral, Lauren, who had a massive drinking problem for a number of years, but kicked the liquor after her sister's death, would leave Walford for good.
A very timely and currently relevant storyline in 2017 brought two of the show's long-term legacy families, the Mitchells and the Fowlers, together in a common cause when their daughters, Louise (Tilly Keeper) the daughter of Phil Mitchell and Lisa Fowler and Bex were being bullied by fellow students, Alexandra D'Costa (Sydney Craven) and Madison Drake (Seraphina Beh).
The jealousy-ridden girls did not like Bex (they at first liked Louise, but they would eventually turn on her and begin to bully her as well), and proceeded to make her life miserable.
The two scheming girls, after seeing a fake photo of Bex being uploaded on the internet, took to attacking Bex in the bathrooms by tearing her shirt and marking her with a marker and by locking her in a store closet in the drama classroom.
They also would break Bex's guitar, which would upset her. Thanks to Alexandra and Madison, Bex and Louise would end their friendship.
However, thanks to Bex's microphone being on (the closet incident occurred at a talent showcase), everyone in the school heard what happened to Bex. This led to the Drama teacher, Mr. Gethin Pryce, to go into the drama room and releasing a traumatized Bex.
Louise would coldly announce to Alexandra, "Bex's mike was on.......and we heard EVERYTHING!" The stunned bully was frozen as the entire audience stared at her.
Louise and Bex would later patch up their friendship and gave statements to their headmistress, Mrs. Robyn Lund. She would place Alexandra and Madison to be in external exclusion from school (Suspended, as it would be called in America).
At the talent showcase, Bex sang her song in front of her school, her parents and her friends. They reacted warmly (they had cheered her name to perform).
Meanwhile, the end for Alexandra and Madison finally came during the prom (Alexandra and Madison were banned from attending due to their antics against Bex, but a friend of theirs, Keegan Baker, would get them in, despite said ban).
Troublemaking Alexandra taunted Louise, who, along with her crush, Travis, had been named the most beautiful couple, and in a fit of jealous rage, (Alexandra believed she should have been part of the most beautiful couple, and was jealous of Louise always stealing her thunder) she shoved Louise onto a table of lit candles, which caused her dress to catch fire, and burned her severely.
Despite the valiant actions of Mr. Pryce and her classmates to help cool the burns with water, and Bex being by her best friend's side, Louise was taken to Walford General Hospital, where she had to have skin grafts, due to third-degree burns she received. She would be scarred for life because of this.
The police were called and Alexandra and Madison finally turned against one another. Alexandra was the more aggressive against Louise and this caused Madison to tell the police the full story. That it was Alexandra who shoved Louise. (Alexandra attempted to lie, but Madison finally told the truth). However, they were both arrested for GBH (grievous bodily harm) against Louise.
The rest of the students berated the nasty duo (as they deserved, although Madison was now more remorseful and was in tears as she was marched out) and they would be promptly prosecuted for this crime.
Meanwhile, Louise's stepmother, Sharon (she would again be married to Phil), would tell both Louise and Bex that Alexandra and Madison had been expelled from school for the bullying and the injuries they had caused to Louise.
For an area like Walford, (and depicting London as a whole), diversity has always been a hallmark of EastEnders. Many and varied ethnic families (The Masoods and the Kashemis for instance) have lived and were well-represented in the Albert Square area, as well as a fair-share of Anglo-African families (The Hubbards and Truemans are notable examples).
Gay and lesbian characters have always been featured as well during the show's long run, with the current characters, Ben Mitchell; Johnny Carter and his aunt, Tina Carter being the most prominent.
A gay marriage occurred when Pakistani Syed Masood (Marc Elliot) and Christian Clarke (John Partridge) would marry and leave Walford to move to America.
Christian was the brother of Jane Beale (Laurie Brett), which has him related to Ian Beale. His BFF was Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), whom he always was friendly with. Jane would later leave town after her friend, Tanya, revealed all the crimes that Max had committed, and that he had been the reason Jane left town. Everyone was disgusted with Max's actions.
Meanwhile, Syed and Christian's relationship would not meet with approval from Syed's mother, Zainab (Nina Wadia) or her husband, Masood (Nitin Ganatra). And it also did not meet with any sympathy with Syed's now former wife, Amira (Preeya Kalidas), who got into a fight with Christian. However, Syed and Amira have a daughter named Yasmin, whom Christian becomes close to.
After a time, though, both Masood and Zainab would later relent in their thoughts and beliefs (with Zainab even going so far as to slap a long time friend, Bushra Abbassi across the face for her slamming Syed) and would accept the pairing. When Syed and Christian were ready to leave, the entire Masood family would see the happy couple off.
As of 2018, there are three original cast members (from the series 1985 premiere) that are presently on the canvas. They are Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale), who has played the role without a stop; Gillian Taylforth (Kathy Beale, Ian's mother), who has recently returned from the dead; and Letitia Dean (Sharon Watts Mitchell), who has made on and off appearances for years, but is now back in a more permanent basis.
June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton Branning, joined the show a few months after its premiere, but she is also considered long-term, having been on since 1985.
Another original character, Michelle Fowler, has returned to the canvas, but is now played by Jenna Russell (she was originally played by actress Susan Tully). It was thought that she would bring a Fowler presence back in a strong Fowler matriarch, in the same vein as her mother, Pauline and her grandmother, Lou, but that never materialized.
Michelle would eventually leave the square again in 2018 to go on an extended visit to see Vicki and her partner, Spencer in Australia, but she left, knowing that she still had her family in Walford, after coming to terms with what she had been through.
Jenna Russell recently left the show as there was quite a lack of story written for Michelle.
|Sal Martin||Anna Karen|
|Bobby Beale||Alex Francis||Kevin Curran|
|Reverend Stevens||Michael Keating|
|William Mitchell||Toby Warpole|
|Oscar Branning||Charlee and Neo Hall||Gabriel Miller-Williams|
|Mr Lister||Nick Wilton|
|Morgan Jackson-King||Devon Higgs|
|Amy Mitchell||Natalia Lipka-Kozanka, Kamil Lipka-Kozanka|
|Imam Ali||Emilio Doorgasingh|
|Kamil Masood||Arian Chikhlia|
|Grace Olubunmi||Ellen Thomas|
|Tommy Moon||Ralph, Shane|
|Poppy Meadow||Rachel Bright|
|Shenice Quinn||Lily Harvey|
|Marie Evans||Elizabeth Sweet|
|Gaynor Lucas||Kathleen Fraser|
Comings & Goings
|Jodie Gold||Kylie Babbington|||
|Poppy Meadow||Rachel Bright|
|Pat Evans||Pam St. Clement|||
|Heather Trott||Cheryl Fergison|||
|Jane Beale||Laurie Brett|||
|Derek Branning||Jamie Foreman||Terence Beesley|||
|Bianca Jackson||Patsy Palmer|||
|Ricky Butcher||Sid Owen|||
- ^ 07/06/2010. BBC Programmes. Retrieved on 31 May 2010.
- ^ Kilkelly, Daniel. 'EastEnders' duo Jodie, Poppy to leave Walford. Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved on 24 October 2011.
- ^ Love, Ryan. "Pam St Clement quits 'EastEnders': 'It's time to hang up Pat's earrings'", Digital Spy, Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved on 7 July 2011.
- ^ Boyle, Simon. "Actress Cheryl Fergison to leave EastEnders after nearly five years", 17 September 2011. Retrieved on 17 September 2011.
- ^ Kilkelly, Daniel. "'EastEnders' star Brett expecting baby", Digital Spy, Hachette Filipacchi UK, 9 January 2011. Retrieved on 26 February 2011.
- ^ Kilkelly, Daniel. "'EastEnders' announces Derek Branning casting", Digital Spy, Hachette Filipacchi UK, 26 August 2011. Retrieved on 26 August 2011.
- ^ Kilkelly, Daniel. "Patsy Palmer confirms 'EastEnders' return, teases Bianca future", Digital Spy, Hachette Filipacchi UK, 19 July 2011. Retrieved on 19 July 2011.
- ^ Jefferies, Mark. "Sid Owen is latest soap star to walk away from EastEnders", Daily Mirror, Trinity Mirror, 26 February 2011. Retrieved on 26 February 2011.