I have been an EastEnders fan since the first episode that fateful evening in February, 1985; and regardless of whether you have watched since the beginning or are a relatively recent convert – the residents of Albert Square become ‘real’ over time…like old friends. I have seen Ian grow up from an unhappy teen yearning to be a chef, to owning the Cafe, the chippy and his own restaurant. I have seen Dot suffer at the hands of her first husband Charlie, and her son Nasty Nick–only to fall in love with (and lose) Jim Branning in her later years. Sharon has grown from a bratty teen to one of the Square’s matriarchs. From Angie and Den, to Linda and Mick; I too, reside in Walford for a half hour, a few days a week.
Characters you love and those you love to hate have shopped the Market on Bridge Street for almost 31 years now. As 2015 comes to a close, I share with you some of my favourite moments that Dominic Treadwell-Collins and his team at EastEnders have brought to our living rooms.
JanuaryIt’s hard to believe that just two years ago, the Carter’s arrived in Walford. Over the past year; the events surrounding Linda’s rape by Dean were woven around and drawn in to other stories-most recently involving his attempted rape of Roxy. But this past January, I felt Mick & Linda’s pain when Mick went to the police station to tell them that his wife needed to report a rape and Linda told them that it was her husband’s brother that did it. My heart went out to them both and we were once again witness to what the powers that be at Elstree do so well–bringing awareness to topics that usually go untouched by most mainstream soaps-something they continued to do through out the year.
FebruaryThe Beales were front and center in February with what I thought would be the culmination of the “Who Killed Lucy?” story line during Live Week to celebrate 30 years of EastEnders. Little did we know that another surprise awaited us as we saw the return of Kathy as the credits rolled!. Aside from one small bleep from Jo Joyner (which only endeared me to her even more) and the mystery surrounding whether Max had actually said Abi killed Lucy, the acting during the entire week was perfection. Nothing more I can say. I was glued to my seat, hugging a cushion the entire time! It really was “A Week of Revelations”!
In March, I sat (virtually) in the Vic with Kat, Kim, Shirley and Linda, listening as each of them opened up about their lives. Kat reminisced about running the pub with Alfie; Kim told them why she was hiding from her husband Vincent; and Linda confessed was worried that she wouldn’t love her baby- until Kat told her how she had felt the same about Zoe til she held her in her arms. Great stuff from four great actresses!
AprilApril found us saying goodbye to Stan Carter–the old grouch I couldn’t help but fall in love with. As his battle with prostrate cancer came to an end; I was reminded of loved ones I have lost. Truly touching scenes by everyone.
MayMay saw the beginning to a story line with Kat Slater that we are just now learning more about. Reaching rock bottom, Kat visited the nunnery where she gave birth to Zoe. Kat poured out her heart to Sister Ruth and I could feel her despair as she talked about being abused by her uncle Harry and how she felt she couldn’t confide in her family. Who couldn’t help but feel sorry for her as she talked about her affair with Derek and about feeling like a ‘slag’?
There were more ‘feels’ for Carol as she tried to come to terms with her mastectomy. The episode in which Shirley offered a few home truths was truly touching. If viewers weren’t a fan of Shirley Carter before this episode, they were after. Linda Henry and Lindsey Coulsen were amazing.
AugustIn August, Shabnam brought me to tears when she lost the baby. Rakhee Thakrar did an amazing job, so believable- and it brought the heartbreaking story of stillborn babies and their mothers to our attention.
SeptemberIn September, Max scarpered over the railings in the court room and made a run for it, and as you do; headed straight back to the Square to see Jane. Sharon saw Kathy again for the first time and after declaring that a cheese and pickle sandwich was common, Letitia Dean once again showed us that given a gripping story line-she can definitely deliver.
OctoberOctober did not disappoint. The most compelling for me was Ian-who felt himself spiraling out of control and perched on a ledge threatening to end it all until Jane talked him down. After months of hiding from her son, Kathy could no longer stay away and rushed to his side-and so begins the process of putting her past behind her & mending her relationship with both Ian and Ben. There’s so much more of this story to tell.
By late Autumn, the only people who don’t know that Bobby killed Lucy was the little demon child himself. Like many, I wanted this story over. I wanted to truth to be told and for Jane to be put out of her misery. What a wonderful job Laurie Brett has done! I can only imagine how taxing this story line must have been for her. I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with the little brat being shipped off to boarding school; but given his dark side, I’m sure he will hurt someone else before it’s all said and done. Denny got off lightly, I reckon!
But there’s more!! Shirley and Masood found Jade. Linda and Mick welcomed a pre-mature baby Ollie. Lee Carter unraveled as he fought with depression and Elaine returned from holiday with a toyboy that Aunt Babe couldn’t help but ‘trifle’ with! Mick finally called Shirley “Mum” and I melted. Lauren flew in from New Zealand to fight in Max’s corner and ended up delivering baby Louie instead. We met Sharon’s dad, who was Kathy’s husband and “Princess” took on a whole new meaning. Honey returned and Robbie showed up unannounced. We discovered Stacey had a stalker and finally, FINALLY found out what that mysterious key was all about! Christmas week was amazing as well. EastEnders never fails to bring the goods during the holidays. Recent episodes have reminded me of why I got hooked all those years ago. I laugh, I cry, I get frustrated, I get mad at the actors, I get mad at the writers, I shout at the TV and I always come back for more. Roll on 2016! Here’s to the cast and crew!
But before I go, I leave you with one last image: Les standing in the middle of Claudette’s living room in his y-fronts.
You’re welcome! 😉