EastEnders facts and trivia

Happy 30th birthday, EastEnders! Trivia every fan needs to know

Happy birthday, EastEnders! BBC’s flagship show is celebrating its 30th anniversary today – marked by the unveiling of the killer of Lucy Beale.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, here are the facts and figures every fan needs to know…

  • The first-ever episode of EastEnders hit screens on 19 February 1985.
  • Within eight months of the show’s launch, it had hit the top spot of UK TV ratings.
  • The programme has won six BAFTAs. (That’s more than northern rival Coronation Street, FYI.)
  • Walford has the postcode E20. In reality, this area code isn’t used in London.
  • The distinctive EastEnders theme tune was composed by Simon May, assisted by Leslie Osborne.
  • Walford East tube station was first seen in 2011. FYI, the station is on the District and Hammersmith & City lines.
  • In case you were searching for it on the tube map – Walford doesn’t actually exist. Rather, the name is a hybrid of Walthamstow and Stratford, the areas where the show’s creators, Julia Smith and Tony Holland, grew up respectively.
  • The Olympic flame was delivered to the set as part of the 2012 Games, giving Billy Mitchell an opportunity to play torch-bearer.
  • The show is big on family, and features several large clans who have lived in the area for decades: think the Mitchells, Brannings, Beales, Watts, Slaters…
  • The bulk of the show is actually filmed in… Hertfordshire. Despite its east London setting, a lot of filming takes place at the BBC Elstree Centre in Borehamwood.
  • The Queen and Prince Philip both visited the show’s set in 2001.
  • Den, Angie and Sharon Watts were originally going to be named Jack, Pearl and Tracy.
  • Adam Woodyatt – Ian Beale – is the only member of the cast who has been in the show since the very first episode.
  • The 1986 Christmas special remains the most-viewed episode of a soap ever (ever!), with 30.15million viewers tuning in. Crazy.
  • Wellard – Robbie Fowler’s beloved German Shepherd – was played by three female dogs. *Minds blown*
  • Ian Beale and Phil Mitchell are the show’s two resident lotharios, with the sometimes-enemies racking up four weddings each during their time on the show.
  • According to estimates from the BBC, watching every episode of EastEnders so far back-to-back would take you 104 days.
  • Dot Cotton wears the same dress in every Christmas Day episode of the show; the frock is the oldest item in the EastEnders wardrobe department.
  • According to Walford history, Albert Square – the central location of the show – was built in the late 19th century.
  • Dot Cotton is the only character in UK soap who has monologue’d an entire episode (which actress June Brown pulled off excellently in 2008).
  • The show’s theme tune beat the National Anthem in being voted the UK’s most recognisable piece of music, in 2008.
  • The Queen Vic pub has been set on fire twice: and each time it was by a Mitchell brother. (Grant in 1992 and Phil in 2010.)
  • Peggy Mitchell – played by former Carry On star Barbara Windsor – had the most expensive wardrobe of all the cast.
  • Emma Bunton originally auditioned for the role of Bianca Jackson. She didn’t get the role – but she later became a Spice Girl!
  • Pat Evans (played by Pam St Clements) was the proud owner of 125 pairs of chandelier-style earrings.
  • The show’s costume department has to prepare 150 outfits. A week!
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