The BBC loves celebrating anniversaries. Doctor Who had its special in November 2013 - this week it is the turn of Eastenders.
First aired on February 19, 1985, the BBC have decided to celebrate the programme in style with the emphasis being on the Beales, with firstly Ian and Jane’s forthcoming wedding and secondly the climax to the storyline - why and how did Lucy Beale die?
There will be a special Flashback episode on Thursday night at 9.25pm, showing what happened to Lucy on that fateful night last year. Throughout this week small sections of the episodes which have gone out live – while on Friday the whole episode will be live.
It will be followed by a programme featuring Zoe Ball interviewing the cast which I feel might rather spoil the illusion somewhat. Perhaps a history of Eastenders might have been better? I am also unsure about the need now to have ‘live television drama’. When television first began, drama was transmitted live’ but as the years went on programmes became prerecorded including even the earliest Doctor Who episodes.
Certainly in the distant past much of drama was recorded ‘as live’ with the tape being stopped only for very serious mistakes with the minor ones being left in. However by the time of Eastenders’ first appearance all that was very much in the past. However it is very easy to overlook the soaps like Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Eastenders as they are a permanent part of our television landscape.
Eastenders has regularly performed well in the ratings and so its time in the spotlight is well deserved. After all, not all soap operas have staying power – Weavers’ Green or Eldorado anyone?