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EastEnders is a British soap opera created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland which has been broadcast on BBC One since 1985. Set in Albert Square in the East End of London in the fictional Borough of Walford, the program follows the stories of local residents and their families as they go about their daily lives. Over the course of the program's lifespan, the show has produced several controversies and memes.


Julia Smith and Tony Holland wanted to create a soap opera for primetime television on BBC One after seeing the success of ITV's Coronation Street.[1] The project had a number of working titles -- Square Dance, Round the Square, Round the Houses, London Pride and East 8. EastEnders aired it's first episode on February 19th, 1985 on BBC One and gained over 17 million views. By the end of the 1986, EastEnders beat the 1965 Royal Variety Performance broadcast to become the most watched television broadcast ever in the history of the United Kingdom, with the December 25th, 1986 episode where character Den Watts gives her wife Angie Watts divorce papers, which was watched by 30.15 million people.

Today, EastEnders remains a significant program in terms of the BBC's success and audience share, and also in the history of British television drama, tackling many dilemmas that are considered to be controversial and taboo issues in British culture and social life previously unseen on United Kingdom mainstream television.

As of May 2016, EastEnders has won nine BAFTA Awards and the Inside Soap Award for Best Soap for 14 years running (from 1997 to 2012), as well as twelve National Television Awards for Most Popular Serial Drama and 11 awards for Best Soap at the British Soap Awards. It has also won 13 TV Quick and TV Choice Awards for Best Soap, six TRIC Awards for Soap of The Year, four Royal Television Society Awards for Best Continuing Drama and has been inducted into the Rose d'Or Hall of Fame.


EastEnders has been considered the most popular television program in the United Kingdom. The show, when started, was so popular, that after episodes had aired, electricity use in the United Kingdom rose significantly as viewers who have waited for the show to end begin boiling water for tea.[2] EastEnders is the BBC's most consistent program in terms of ratings, rising from 55–60 points on the Appreciation Index to 85–95 later on, a figure which was nearly 10 points higher than the average for a British soap opera.[3]

Notable Storylines

Over the course of the program's lifespan, it has been shown various notable storylines which have captured the attention of the British media and viewers overall.


"Sharongate" is the term used for a storyline involving Sharon Watts (Letita Dean), Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) where Sharon has an affair with Phil Mitchell, Grant Mitchell's older brother.

You Ain't My Mother

You Ain't My Mother refers to a moment on an episode of EastEnders where the character of Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) had revealed to Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan) that she was her mother after Kat was raped by Harry Slater, her uncle.

The Secret Mitchell

The Secret Mitchell was a storyline involving the characters of Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) and Danielle Jones (Lauren Crace), starting in May 2008 and climaxing on April 2nd, 2009. It became one of EastEnders' most dramatic storylines and also impacted on the "Who Killed Archie?" storyline. "Mitchell Week" which was aired in the build up to the storyline, the audience were introduced to Ronnie and Roxy's father Archie (Larry Lamb), and learned that Ronnie had given a child up for adoption.

It was revealed that Archie had forced Ronnie to give Danielle up for adoption at a young age and the revelation that Danielle was Ronnie's long-lost daughter was made to the audience when, after rowing with Ronnie, Danielle opened the locket she wore to reveal a photograph of her birth mother inside.

Danielle was later killed off in the episode after being run down by a car minutes after revealing her true identity to Ronnie, and subsequently dying in her mother's arms.

Who Killed Archie Mitchell?

"Who Killed Archie?" was a storyline which began on December 25th, 2009, Christmas Day, when the character Archie Mitchell, played by Larry Lamb, was murdered by an unseen person. Events leading up to and following the murder put several characters in the frame, in the style of a whodunnit mystery. The culprit was kept a tight secret within the production crew as well, with only seven people knowing the identity of the killer. The murderer was revealed as Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) during a live episode titled "EastEnders Live", broadcast on February 19th, 2010, the show's 25th anniversary.

Who Killed Lucy Beale?

Who Killed Lucy Beale? was a storyline from 2014 until 2015 where the character of Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) was murdered by an unknown assailant. Lucy Beale was discovered dead on Walford Common from a deliberately inflicted head injury. The storyline reached a peak during EastEnders Live Week on February 19th, 2015, the show's 30th anniversary episode, during which Lucy's brother Bobby Beale (Eliot Carrington) was revealed to have killed her following a confrontation at home. Bobby's adoptive mother, Jane Beale (Laurie Brett), had covered for him, moving Lucy's body to Walford Common and convincing Bobby that he was not responsible for his sister's death.

Bubbly's in the Fridge

Bubbly's In The Fridge is a phrase used by character Vanessa Gold where she lashes her anger out in her house after she learns about Max Branning's (Jake Wood) affair with Tanya Cross (Jo Joyner) on the soap.

I've Got Nothing Left

"I've Got Nothing Left" refers to a line said by Ian Beale, a character on the program where he cries heavily over the loss of Lucy Beale, his daughter as part of the Who Killed Lucy Beale storyline which was to celebrate the show's 30th anniversary in February 2015.

I Became A Total Slag!

I Became A Total Slag* refers to a quote by Kat Slater where she refers herself as 'not a bit of a slag', but a total slag!'



#FreeDot refers to a humorous campaign where fans called on for Dot Branning (June Brown) -- who was arrested for the death of her son Nick Cotton (John Altman) on the February 20th, 2015 episode of EastEnders as part of the prograe's live week -- to be released as she was not responsible for his death. The #FreeDot hashtag trended alongside #EastEnders and #EastEndersLive on the 20th February 2015.

The image of Dot in the police car after being arrested which was associated with the #FreeDot campaign had sparked several Twitter picture memes.


On The Google

"On the Google" is a phrase often associated with character Dot Branning in which she mentions whenever someone is showing her something on the internet or whenever she goes on the internet to search something on Google. "We can do it on the Google", "She found it on the Google", "Do the Google" are just some of the phrases Dot has said on the program.


What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Sonia


What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Sonia is a phrase which mocks 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' in which the character of Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) is rhymed with the phrase. Several pictures of Sonia when she was young are often associated with the phrase showing the innocence of the character.


Bingate was a term used by EastEnders fans during 2017 and 2018 where the writing team for the programme focused too much on bins, bin collections and bin overflows. Many Twitter users criticized then executive producer Sean O' Connor who had focused too much on issues that made the program "boring" and "dull." Bingate became subject to various memes on Twitter and YouTube during 2017 and 2018.


The Sean O' Connor Era

The EastEnders Sean O' Connor Era refers to a controversial production era of the British BBC soap opera EastEnders where it was run under by executive producer Sean O' Connor.

Under O' Connor, EastEnders gained a considerable amount of criticism from the cast and fans of the show due to the way he ran the show which resulted in a boycott and raised tensions between the cast and O' Connor.

O' Connor was fired due to the situation that the show was in due to his influence. In the aftermath of his axing, RadioTimes wrote an article on how Sean O Connor's time on the show went terribly wrong

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