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Series / EastEnders

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"EastEnders is so unlike the actual East End that it may as well be set in Narnia. The real East End has got Hawksmoor churches and fashionable nightclubs and a thriving Bangladeshi community; Walford's just got Keith Miller swabbing windows with a rag on a stick."

DUFF. DUFF. DUFF DUFF D-D-D-D- de de de de de di dun, de de de di dun, di dun de di dun de, de de de de de di dun, de de de di dun de dooo de di dooo dooo de, doo de di dun...

EastEnders is a popular Soap Opera on The BBC, created as a competitor to ITV's Coronation Street. Since 1985, it has followed the lives of the inhabitants of Walford, a fictional district in the East End of London. Renowned for the absolute misery it inflicts on the characters. Their Twisted Christmas episodes are particularly depressing and it is not unknown for characters to die alone in the snow on Christmas. Which is why it's a jinx to say "This is gonna be the best Christmas Walford's ever had."

And whenever something good happens, like a wedding, or a well-received baby, this is predictably balanced out by a dirty secret - like an affair that has been written specifically to make the marriage tense - a little blackmail being prepared, a vicious attack resulting in a slow death, somebody getting raped, the villain of an arc pulling a Karma Houdini, or perhaps somebody just being portrayed as being desperately lonely or suicidal.


Famous Storylines:

  • Who's Michelle's Baby's Father?
  • Den & Angie's Divorce.
  • "Sharongate"
  • Who Shot Phil Mitchell?
  • The Slater Family switcheroo
  • Dirty Den's murder
  • The Return Of Dirty Den.
  • Dirty Den gets killed off again.
  • The Secret Mitchell.
  • Who Killed Archie Mitchell/EastEnders 25.
  • Syed And Christan's Affair.
  • The Lucas Johnson Murders.
  • The Queen Vic Fire.
  • The New Year 2011 Baby Plot.
  • Who’s Been Sleeping With Kat?
  • Who Killed Lucy Beale?
  • Nasty Nick's Final Return
  • "Sheanu"
  • The Queen Vic Boat Party Crash/EastEnders 35
  • Who Attacked Ian Beale


Tropes featured include:

  • Abortion Fallout Drama:
    • Erstwhile single mother Michelle matter-of-factly aborted her husband's baby, after rejecting abortion while she was pregnant the first time. The difference was partly that she loved the father of the first child, the notorious Dirty Den, and didn't actually love her husband, the weedy Lofty. Sadly, Lofty had wanted the baby, and this led to the breakup of their marriage (and arguably a better future for all concerned).
    • Prior to his arrival in Walford, Steve Owen had allegedly forced his then-girlfriend Saskia Duncan to get an abortion against her will. When Saskia arrived in Walford she began a campaign of revenge against Steve that culminated in her trying to strangle him to death, and Steve killing her in self-defence.
    • Stacey also aborted Bradley's kid, and the show dealt with it unusually: instead of getting over it and everybody forgetting what had happened, Stacey was never comfortable with what she had done.
  • Abusive Parents: Ben had Phil and Stella. It hasn't ended well for him.
  • Accidental Pervert: Billy Mitchell was hazed on the day before his wedding and found himself wearing nothing but his boxers. He tried to ask a woman for some spare clothes, but then her dog tore off his boxers and she called the police (even though she could clearly see the dog did it).
  • Accidental Murder:
    • Two notable examples were Steve Owen killing Saskia Duncan with an ashtray in self-defence, and more recently the death of Heather Trott by Ben Mitchell using a photo frame. Both examples also involved a cover-up.
    • Bobby Beale killed Lucy by accident while fighting with her. Jane covered it up.
  • Actor Allusion: Whe Den Watts returnd in 2004, he addressed the wheelchair-bound Ian Beale, as "Davros" and encountered a police officer named "Kiston", nods to Leslie Grantham's role in "Resurrection of the Daleks".
  • Alone with the Psycho:
    • Stella and her treatment of Ben Mitchell. Also Mad May.
    • Ben also did this to Louise.
  • Always Second Best: This is one of Steven's motivations for trying to kill Jane: he feels his parents only ever loved Peter and completely ignored him. Of course, it's unclear how much of this is his own feelings and how much is just Max's influence.
  • Amoral Attorney: Ritchie Scott, the Mitchells' go-to lawyer.
  • Anachronic Order: The first three episodes of the 35th anniversary week in February 2020 cover the same seven hour period from the perspectives of different characters (the Carters for day 1, the Beales and Brannings for day 2 and the Mitchells for day 3).
  • Anyone Can Die: And they do, all the time. It's sometimes used in combination with Tonight, Someone Dies, with the implication that the "someone" could be anyone (or at least, one of a number of characters).
  • Away in a Manger:
    • The 1990 Christmas Day episode.
    • Stacey gives birth to her baby son Arthur during the children's nativity play in Christmas 2015. A few days later she starts suffering from postpartum psychosis and actually believes that her son has been sent from God.
  • Baby Be Mine: Dr. May Wright (known to the media as Mad May) develops this desire for her husband Rob's daughter Summer with his mistress Dawn Swann. Unable to have children herself, May goes out of her way to push herself into Dawn's life, claimed to be the infant's mother during the pregnancy, and after threatening to take the child from the womb tried to steal a newborn Summer from the hospital (though Dawn woke up and managed to retrieve her). Things took a turn when May attacked Dawn and her brother Mickey to kidnap Summer yet again, only to fail and die soon after.
  • Back for the Dead:
  • Ethel actually invoked this in one of the show's biggest Tear Jerker moments. Having spent the last three years in a care home away from Walford, she returned in early 2000 solely to be with her East End family when she died.
  • Badass Family: What the Mitchells believe themselves to be (and arguably are). Even Billy has his moments on occasion.
  • Bash Brothers: Phil and Grant Mitchell. When they aren't, you know, trying to kill each other and stuff.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Mitchells, the Beale/Fowler clan, the Butchers, the Brannings, the Slaters, the Masoods. Every single family fits this trope.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Sharon's baby son is born on the same day that her first born son Dennis dies.
  • Blatant Lies: Dot's catchphrase, "I ain't one to gossip..."
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In the first episode of Live Week, Mick Carter said "Get outta my pub" to Peggy Mitchell.
  • Bottle Episode: The famous two-hander episodes, and their variants - including four-handers and even a one-hander; these are also usually Locked in a Room.
  • Brainless Beauty: Zoe Slater. As Dennis Rickman once put it, "You don't think, do you Zoe? You just get it out of magazines."
  • Break the Cutie: Where to start? As a general rule, anyone played by someone young and/or good-looking is bound to have this happen to them at some point. Memorable examples include Aidan Brosnan, Joe Wicks, Zoe Slater, Stacey Slater and Ben Mitchell.
  • Breakout Character: Frank Butcher was introduced in 1987 as a guest character. That turned out to be Mike Reid's audition episode and he became one of the show's most beloved characters.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: A variation in September 2017. After a gas explosion in the Square, Ted Murray becomes paranoid and thinks burglars are attacking his house. He grabs an old handgun to defend himself, and when a neighbour knocks on the door to see if they're okay, he shoots them through the glass. The episode ends with the victim collapsing over the threshold, with no indication as to who it is. It turns out to have been Johnny Carter, who survives.
  • Bus Crash:
    • Mark Fowler. Justified and invoked: he was HIV-positive, and didn't want his family and friends to watch him slowly die of AIDS.
    • Kathy and her death to bring in Ben Mitchell. Subverted as of February 2015.
    • After being sentenced to life in prison for the violent murder of Jase Dyer, you could have been forgiven for thinking that Terry Bates would never appear on the show again. But in 2019, he did... as a corpse being brought to the Coker & Mitchell Funeral Directors. The kicker? The parlour's manager was none other than Jase's son Jay, who understandable refused to bury his father's murderer. He only relented after realising that Terry's wife Viv no longer recognised him, and therefore didn't understand what he was so upset about.
  • Call-Back: Mel Owen exited the show in 2019 the same way her ex-husband Steve exited the show in 2002: getting into a car chase with a member of the Mitchell clan (Phil in Steve's case, Sharon in Mel's case) and crashing. The difference was that Mel, unlike Steve, was pulled from the wreck before it exploded, only to wander across the road in a daze and get hit by a truck.
  • Character Shilling: A lot of this occurred in the aftermath of Lucy's murder despite the fact that in real life she probably would be considered a sociopath for the amount of pain and misery that she had wilfully caused - as the laundry list of murder suspects reveals, she had badly wronged dozens of people. It's no wonder that Peter was so pissed to hear that she was Ian's favorite.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A literal example with Ted Murray's handgun, which he uses to shoot Johnny Carter after mistaking him for a burglar.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Sasha.
    • Linford Short.
    • Seemingly Luke Browning after the conclusion of the Willmott-Brown revenge storyline on 28/12/17. Luke was last seen on screen on 5/12/17, being bundled into the back of a van by heavies hired by Phil Mitchell. His disappearance went almost unnoticed by the square and seldom referenced by his family, who showed no concern about his whereabouts.
      • His fate finally seems to have been revealed with the end of the Aidan storyline in March 2018 - Aidan killed him after having his men grab him, explicitly against Phil's orders.
  • Cliffhanger: Pretty much every other episode, but especially the ones at the end of each week, and the Christmas episodes. All are accompanied by the famous drum beats. A few examples: Phil and Ian crashing their car. Phil getting shot. Jamie getting run over on Christmas Day.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Honey.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • When DC Emma Summerhayes texted Lucy Beale's killer asking to meet up, all 13 other suspects also received a text at the same time.
    • Les, Sylvie, Claudette and Abi all decided to go out around the same time before Babe was locked in the Queen Vic's walk-in freezer.
  • Crapsack World: Crappier than the crappiest crap that a crap did when it took a crap in a bush, in winter! Every week someone is either murdered, having an affair, in trouble with the law, in trouble with the tax man, hurting their children; you would go mad from depression. You wouldn't go near Walford with a ten foot barge pole, with crap on the end!
  • Christmas Episode: Twisted Christmas at its most cruel every time, but it doesn't stop the characters from thinking it's going to work this year. "This'll be the best Christmas Walford's ever had!"
  • Death Is Cheap: Dirty Den, or Grant Mitchell for whom it is not so much cheap, as buy one, get one free. Nasty Nick faked his own death before finally returning and dying of a bad heroin trip.
  • Defictionalisation: The E20 postcode was fictional in 1985 when the show began, but was allocated in 2011 to a certain development in Stratford.
  • Depending on the Writer: One of the factors some consider part of the show's more surreal evolution is the occasionally extreme swings in characterization. Perhaps some of the best examples are Phil Mitchell or Janine Butcher, who can switch between rough-edged but somewhat humanized Jerkass types or completely ruthless borderline psychopaths who will revert to any monstrous tactics for their own self-gain.
  • Dramatic Drop: Inane episode, Zoe drops the champagne and glasses when she catches her fiancée Anthony and her mother Kat in bed together.
  • Diabolus ex Machina:
    • Nick Cotton severed the brakes on Mark Fowler’s motorbike in a clumsy attempt to fatally end their feud. Mark Fowler’s bike is stolen by Nick’s son Ashley, who is killed instead.
    • Just moments after Ronnie found out Danielle was her long-lost daughter, Danielle was suddenly accidentally run over by Janine.
    • Dean Wicks being found not guilty for the attempted rape of Roxy despite all the strong evidence against him.
    • Roxy passes out and drowns after drunkenly diving into a swimming pool after Ronnie's wedding reception, Ronnie tries saving her but can't swim in her dress and also drowns.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery:
    • Donna Yates.
    • Adam Best.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Joe Macer, who died from falling out of a window after killing Pauline.
    • Stella Crawford, who jumped off a chapel roof after her abuse of Ben Mitchell was revealed.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • Ben Mitchell's bully Jordan Johnson picked on him one too many times and Ben attacked him with a spanner, fracturing his skull.
    • Little Mo Mitchell whacking her abusive husband Trevor with an iron. She went to prison for it, only to return and bite back again when Trevor threatened to resume his abuse.
  • Domestic Abuse: Several storylines have focused on this. The early 2000s saw a notable one between "Little Mo" Mitchell and her husband Trevor, which resulted with Mo being sent to jail when she finally tried to defend herself by hitting Trevor over the head with an iron. She's sent to prison for eight years and Trevor begins a new life with another woman, who he also beats, to the point where she's taken to hospital. Eventually he agrees to take back his statement about Mo attempting to kill him if said woman agrees not to take the abuse to the police. In November 2002, Trevor tried to get Little Mo back after she began dating another man where she stood up to him again, berated him and demanded he hit her because she wasn't going to cower to him anymore. He threatens to burn down the house but Mo lights the match instead because "he doesn't have the guts". They struggle, the match is dropped and Trevor burns to death (Little Mo escapes).
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Ronnie unwittingly persuading her secret daughter Danielle to have an abortion when she was haunted by the loss of said daughter.
    • Ben pretty much killing Heather as he lost his temper with her, because he thought she'd told the police when it was actually his own brother who did.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • When Andy Hunter was killed by Johnny Allen he was pushed off a flyover.
    • When Derek Branning gets his comeuppance, suffering a heart attack after shouting at Max saying that he was the runt of litter.
    • A lesser-known example was when Tom Clements died in the Vic's toilets.
    • Billie Jackson was found to have died in his sleep after drinking too much alcohol at a party.
    • Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell drowning in a hotel swimming pool, just after Ronnie's second wedding to Jack Branning.
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • Nasty Nick Cotton and his heroin addiction, which finally killed him when Dot Cotton found out how truly dreadful he was and refused to call an ambulance. In her defence, she stayed by his side all night so that he wouldn't die alone.
    • Phil and cocaine. An EXPLOSIVE mix. Phil was also an alcoholic.
    • Janine on cocaine (turning to prostitution).
    • Lauren on alcohol.
    • An extreme case was Billie Jackson who actually died after a massive bender.
    • Demi and Leo, in true Romeo and Juliet fashion. Demi overdoses on heroin, Leo finds her unconscious and also takes an overdose, and Demi wakes up just in time to watch Leo die.
    • Lucy Beale and cocaine, being murdered shortly after her addiction is revealed.
    • Roxy Mitchell develops a cocaine habit due to the emotional trauma of her attempted rape by Dean Wicks. This leads to her completely going off the rails and behaving ever more erratically as 2016 neared to a close. This culminated in her drowning whilst intoxicated in a swimming pool at her sister's wedding a year after the assault; and the death of Ronnie minutes later by the same method after a valiant attempt to try and save Roxy's life.
  • Dumb Blonde: Jodie Gold takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Dysfunction Junction: So much so.
  • Enemy Mine: Peggy and Pat are not friends at first - though it reaches that point by the end - and they fight like there's no tomorrow. However, Pat is the only one allowed to fuck with Peggy... and Peggy is the only one allowed to fuck with Pat. God in heaven help you if you fuck one of them off and the other is around. Right, Harvey?
  • Enfante Terrible: Dotty Cotton. After being told by her father Nasty Nick Cotton, she tried to gradually poison her grandmother Dot Cotton (who is classed as the only truly nice person in the square). When she realised he wasn't going to take her with him when he got the inheritance, she pretended she'd poisoned him instead, making him throw up for hours.
    • Bobby freaking Beale. First he murders his half-sister Lucy, then he attempts to murder his own mother, Jane.
  • Ethical Slut: Zainab Masood, who considers herself the most pious Muslim woman despite cheating on her first husband (and getting nearly burnt up for the trouble) and getting divorced twice. And the gay son is the bad one in this family?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The morally dubious (at best) inhabitants of Walford consider Janine, and before their deaths, Archie, Donna etc. to be repugnant.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Alfie and Spencer's grandma, her first name was Victoria but the entire square called her 'Nana' and she was even listed in the credits as 'Nana Moon'.
  • Everyone Is Related
  • Evil Versus Evil: More like evil marries evil. The most evil pair on the square were Janine and Michael so their kid didn't stand much chance of being sane. Janine could be considered the lesser of the evils.
    • Janine is a Smug Snake ex-Daddy's Girl who is responsible for the deaths of two of her husbands: she pushed one of a cliff and another had a heart attack after finding out she wasn't the Jew bride he thought. Ex-cocaine addict and a prostitute, which is indirectly responsible for Laura Beale's death. However, she does have several Morality Pet though longstanding examples are Billy, Tiffany and Ricky.
    • Michael is a sociopathic man still suffering from a traumatic childhood event. He once almost killed his half-brother for the look on his father's face. Put Ronnie in prison for something she didn't do. is incapable of love or anybody's else s feelings. Conned a woman with bipolar out of her and most of Kat and Alfie's money, turned everyone against her and almost got her sectioned. But, his Freudian Excuse is that he was left home alone and his mother committed suicide and it was implied that he was a Momma's Boy and is damaged beyond repair.
    • Culminated in 2013 when Michael tried to strangle Janine, then got stabbed by Alice, and Janine finished him off. Lesser of the evils indeed.
  • Fake Food: The drinks in The Queen Vic aren't as real as they look. Water is used to look like vodka, water with burnt sugar is used for whiskey and watered down apple juice makes a convincing white wine.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Zoe and Kat Slater. Revealed in a famous Luke, I Am Your Father moment that achieved Memetic Mutation status.
    • Much later, Shirley and Mick Carter, in much the same fashion.
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: The part of Bobby Beale was recast during the "Who Killed Lucy?" plot (Bobby is Lucy's half-sister). This necessitated using the new actor for The Reveal episode which showed a flashback to the night of Lucy's death, although the new actor had taken over six months after Lucy's death.
  • Football Hooligans: A gang of them, run by vicious gangster Terry Bates, appeared as recurring villains between 2007 and 2009. In a heated discussion with Jase, who used to be a member of the gang, Minty reminds him of the real-life Heysel and Hillsborough disastersnote 
  • Freudian Excuse: Surprisingly, it's rarely used.
    • Except for Ben. He seems to blame his Dad for everything. Mind you, considering who Ben's father is (and his abuse at the hands of Stella) he may have a point.
    • Janine, but even she doesn't believe that excuse anymore. Michael seemed to use this trope too.
    • Stella was implied to have an abusive childhood (supposedly stemming from the ambiguous death of her sister), and was enough of a Psychopathic Manchild from the process to believe Ben and Phil were bullying her. Naturally, screaming this excuse at the pitch of her lungs and petulantly trying to blame him for her physically abusing his young son didn't stop Phil from wanting to rip her to shreds.
    • Steven Beale also blames his parents for how he turned out, though again, it's debatable whether that's actually true or not.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: London has one of the highest costs of living in the world and the East End has been significantly gentrified since the 1980s; how can these people afford to live here?
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Round 1: Pauline hits Arthur. Pauline wins. Round 2: Joe hits Pauline. Pauline dies.
  • Gay Aesop: Done with Colin and Barry, the first same-sex couple to feature on the show. Also referenced in a storyline that revealed that Derek Harkinson had once been to jail after being convicted of homosexual sex back when it was still illegal.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Female lawyer Richie Scott. Also Ronnie, whose name was eventually revealed to be short for Veronica.
  • Get Out!: Some weeks Peggy Mitchell would only pop on-screen to say "GET OUTTA MOY PAB!" Here's her greatest hits.
  • The Ghost: The launderette owner, Mr Popadopolous, and Big Mo's erm... friend Fat Elvis. Elvis did eventually get an on-screen appearance when he and Mo announced their engagement.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Bobby bludgeoned Jane with a hockey stick, it cut away to blood splattering on Martin and Stacey's wedding cake.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Kevin Wicks attempts to dispose of one of his illegal "cut-and-shut" cars by joyriding it until it runs out of fuel and then setting it alight. He is killed when the car malfunctions, causing him to crash and get impaled by a metal pole.
    • In Christmas 2011, Yusef set fire to the B&B in an attempt to kill Masood. Zainab tricked him into going back inside by lying that his daughter Afia was still in there, and while Masood got rescued in the end, Yusef was trapped and succumbed to his own fire.
      • Zainab herself nearly fell victim to this at the same time: her son Tamwar (Afia's husband) didn't realize Afia was safe, and ran in after her as well. Unlike Yusef, he did make it out, but was burned quite badly.
    • Trevor doused his and Little Mo's house in petrol and threatened to set it alight. When it did catch fire, Little Mo escaped but Trevor perished.
    • In September 2017 Steven Beale traps Jane inside the Beale's restaurant and sets it alight as part of Max Branning's Revenge plot. When Abi rushes in looking for Lauren and is knocked unconscious by falling debris, Steven goes in and rescues her and then goes back in to look for Lauren (who isn't actually in there). Abi and Jane survive, but Steven succumbs to smoke inhalation. You'd think people would realize by now that Kill It with Fire doesn't work in Walford...
  • Honest John's Dealership: Frank Butcher is a wheeler-dealer who likes to think of himself as a "big player" in the business world, but in reality he is little more than a wily conman.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Done deliberately straight with Danielle and Ronnie.
    • And before that, Sharon and Dennis.
  • House Fire: Quite a few. The most well-known example was when Little Mo's abusive husband Trevor snapped and doused their house in petrol with them and Little Mo's baby trapped inside. Mo bravely (or stupidly) lit a match in defiance, but in a scuffle the match was dropped and the house caught fire. Heroic fireman Tom managed to rescue both Little Mo and her baby, but when he went back for Trevor an explosion killed them both.
  • Idiot Ball: Almost the entire cast, if not all have had their moment of making stupid decisions, many even lacking common sense.
    • Anytime anybody decides to have an affair, some even doing this multiple times. Almost every time that it happens, they're caught, which only makes it dumber when the character decides to do it again later on.
    • Jay not blocking Linzi's number after finding out the truth about her.
    • Jane turning her back on Bobby when he's upset and holding a hockey stick.
    • Several characters keeping alcoholic Phil out of jail instead of leaving him in there so he can sober up.
    • Abi thinking Ben just suddenly turned straight. Some characters even called her out on this.
    • Louise believing known trouble makers Alex and Madison over Bex and Travis after the former frame Travis for spiking her drinks.
    • A skint Denise rejecting all offers of help out of stubborn pride.
      • Selling her prized 'D' necklace for a fiver when she has an iPhone she could sell.
  • I'll Kill You!:
    • More precisely, "I'll flaming well kill you!" was invented for Peggy Mitchell, along with "GET OUTTA MOY PAB!"
    • Pat: You bitch! [slap]
    • Peggy: You cow! [slap]
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kevin Wicks met his end this way, crashing one of his own cut-and-shut cars and getting impaled by a steel pole.
  • Incest Subtext: It's implied that Den had a little too much affection for his "Princess" Sharon. As one of the writers put it, "The love of his life was Sharon. You just had this feeling that he thought he was the only person good enough for her, but she was his daughter. It was a weird relationship."
  • In Medias Res: The first episode started with Den Watts, Arthur Fowler and Ali Osman breaking into Reg Cox's flat and finding him almost dead.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: After catching Anthony and Kat together, Zoe suggests breaking up with Anthony so Kat could be with him. Kat disagrees and suggests she will cut herself off and let Anthony and Zoe be together. It gets discussed back and forth before Zoe insists on breaking things off gently with Anthony and letting Kat and Anthony be together.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Played for Drama when a gas explosion causes Ted Murray to believe burglars are attacking his home, and that he needs to defend himself. Lampshaded by his wife Joyce, who tries to talk some sense into him.
    Joyce: Why would a burglar knock?
  • Interfaith Smoothie: The Ferreira family. Dan was a Christian, Pushpa a Hindu, others in the family had names commonly found in Muslim cultures, and all seemed to dip in and out of each other's religious traditions.
  • Internal Homage: The first-ever episode, in 1985, opened with Den Watts, Arthur Fowler and Ali Osman breaking into Reg Cox's flat and finding him dead. A live episode to celebrate the show's 30th anniversary recreated this moment shot-for-shot, with Stacey Slater, Martin Fowler, and Kush Kazemi breaking into the very same flat to find Nick Cotton (Reg's murderer) dead.
  • Internal Reveal: The show uses this technique for almost all of its major episodes.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Dot, a chain-smoker who is often seen with a glass of wine, is aghast at the idea of people doing drugs!
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Derek at Christmas 2012 exclaiming that no one in Walford has any idea about marriage, shortly before his fatal heart attack.
    • While it hardly justifies her psychotic child abuse towards Ben, Stella's ramblings to a livid Phil that he himself was a horrible father and that Ben was a monster to her first have some weight considering how things turned out for them long after her suicide, though it was Stella who was one of the major reasons for Ben's descend to villainy amongst other reasons.
    • Speaking of Ben, though not exactly a saint himself, he was right about Phil being an utterly irresponsible and neglectful father during any heated confrontations between the two. Hence, why Ben has at least tried to become a more loving father towards his own daughter, than Phil could have ever been to him.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Janine Butcher avoiding punishment for Barry's death. Pat conspired to get her wrongfully convicted of Laura Beale's death in revenge, but changed her mind at the last minute. Janine's ability to dodge trouble (legal trouble at least) has been frequently lampshaded, and ensured that (minus about 4 people) everyone despises her openly, leading her to at least suffer several unpleasant (but comparatively insignificant) moments in life to balance things a little.
      • After Christmas 2010, the fact that she's now a permanent pariah, despised by her family and her husband (who even she acknowledged as her last chance at redemption), who tried to kill her, might be regarded as the Karmic Down-payment.
      • It has gotten better since Pat's death with Janine being back on somewhat good terms with the rest of her family and can be considered the lesser of two evils in comparison to her newest husband Michael Moon.
    • Depending on your view of the resolution of Lucy Beale's murder, this trope is out in force.
    • Aunt Babe gave Abi the idea to pretend she was pregnant in the first place and helped her keep the ruse going, but Babe's involvement in the scheme was never uncovered, while Abi was exposed as a liar and publicly humiliated.
  • Kissing Cousins: Joey and Lauren, or so it seems.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Nick Cotton, also known as 'Nasty Nick' and one of the meanest characters ever on the show, killed Reg Cox who was found in his flat. 30 years later, Nick was found dead in the same flat after overdosing on bad heroin - his mother, Dot Cotton, had bought the heroin, and when it turned out to be bad, remained by his side and held him as he died but didn't call an ambulance.
  • Live Episode:
    • The 25th Anniversary episode.
    • One pre-recorded episode during the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics was intercut with live footage of Perry Fenwick, in-character as Billy Mitchell, taking part in the official Olympic torch relay, before quickly dashing off to witness the birth of his (In-Universe) great-granddaughter.
    • The 30th Anniversary week had live elements in every episode (intercut with pre-recorded elements - the live elements were all chiefly concerned with the "Who Killed Lucy Beale?" storyline, including The Reveal of the killer), culminating in a wholly live episode.
  • Locked In The Freezer: Happens to Ian and Denise (by accident), and later to Babe (deliberately). The former was used to set up Ian and Denise's Relationship Upgrade, while the latter was the basis for yet another whodunnit.
  • London Gangster: "The Firm". Truth in Television in that Barbara Windsor was, at one time, married to Ronnie Knight, an associate of the Kray Twins. Jaime Foreman (Derek Branning) is the son of another Kray associate.
  • Long Bus Trip: Yolande.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Danny Mitchell and millions of others.
  • Love Father, Love Son: After Kat breaks things off with Anthony because she couldn't tell him she loved him back, Anthony ends up dating her daughter Zoe. They get engaged but then Zoe catches Anthony in bed with her mother (his ex) Kat. Zoe breaks up with him and Kat and Anthony end up dating for a little while.
  • Love Triangle: Dear God! It is like there is an unwritten law that states that at least one love polygon should be in effect at all times. Examples included:
    • Bradley, Max and Stacey
    • Bianca, Ricky, Sam, Minty, Heather
    • Christian, Syed, Amira [[note]]A notable one since it was Christian and Syed having the affair
    • Gary, Dawn, Jase
    • Kat, Anthony, Zoe
    • Pat, Frank, Peggy
    • Pat, Harvey, Peggy
    • Jack and virtually the entire female cast.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Several examples over the years, but the Taylor family are this even to the existing examples in the cast.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Memorably done with Kat and Zoe.
    Zoe: You ain't my muvver!
    Kat: Yes I am!
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Done by Danielle to Ronnie. Ronnie doesn't believe her at first, and by the time she does, it's too late.
  • Malaproper: Ethel Skinner fulfilled this role in the series' early days.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Janine pushed Barry off a cliff and then untied his shoelaces to make it look like he'd tripped.
  • Mama Bear: Kat Slater, Bianca Jackson... the show has had a lot. More recently, Lola Pearce and HOW.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Most of the cast.
  • Meaningful Name: Kim Fox's daughter, who was born during the live episode for the show's 30th anniversary, was named Pearl since pearls are traditionally given at 30th wedding anniversaries.
  • Metaphorgotten: Honey constantly gets well-known metaphors wrong.
  • Misplaced Retribution: DS Cameron Bryant blames Max Branning for the death of DC Emma Summerhayes because she was in his car when they got in the car accident that killed her, even though it was Nick Cotton sabotaging the brakes on Ronnie Mitchell's car that caused the accident.
  • Monochrome Casting: The East End hasn't been this white in nearly half a century. There was a variation in 2009 when they had an episode with an all-black cast.
  • Moral Myopia: In spades. Even the most scrupulous members of the Square are usually self-righteous borderline criminals at best. Naturally Lampshading is common in feuds.
  • Murder by Mistake: Has happened repeatedly.
    • The first example was when Nick Cotton sabotaged the brakes on Mark Fowler's motorbike in an attempt to kill him. The bike was then stolen by Nick's own son, Ashley, who was killed while riding it.
    • Somehow, Nasty Nick didn't learn his lesson after that, because fourteen years later he tried to kill Ronnie Mitchell using the same method: sabotaging the brakes of her car. To his credit, that time Ronnie actually was in the car when it crashed, but she survived. Emma Summerhayes didn't.
    • The chain continued exactly a year later, with Ronnie trying to murder Vincent by paying some thugs to kidnap him and leave him tied up in the boot of a car that was due to be scrapped. She obviously didn't give them a detailed enough description of Vincent, because they mistakenly kidnapped Fatboy (who looked nothing like Vincent!), and he got crushed to death instead.
  • Mutually Fictional: In-universe, Doctor Who is fictional (Bradley goes to a Doctor Who convention). In the Doctor Who episodes "The Impossible Planet" and "Army of Ghosts", it's vice versa (the Doctor refers to "This is gonna be the best Christmas Walford's ever had!" as an example of Tempting Fate in the former; while "Army of Ghosts" had a scene of Peggy telling Dirty Den's ghost (actually a Cyberman) to get out of her pub).
  • My Local: The Queen Victoria Public House, commonly known as the Queen Vic. Along with its Coronation Street counterpart the Rovers Return, it's one of the most iconic examples in British fiction.
  • Never Found the Body: Den Watts. (The first time.)
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Phil Mitchell's abusive treatment of his son Ben, who was quiet, intellectual and introverted, thus not a "real man". Eventually this caused Ben to snap under the pressure, attempt to toughen himself up, causing him to get into fights and get sent to juvenile detention facility. He then received more flak for coming out as gay. Eventually Ben grew so tired of the abuse he conspired to frame Phil for murder, which was overturned, leading him to accidentally kill Heather in anger.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: "Walford" is a fictional district in inner East London, although the name appears to be a portmanteau of Walthamstow and Ilford, both of which are a bit further out than that. On in-universe Tube maps, Walford East station is placed on the District Line, replacing Bromley-by-Bow, which is the right kind of area. The postal code for Walford is depicted as "E20", which was non-existent when the show first began but has since been brought into use for the redevelopment area in Stratford where the 2012 Olympic Games were held.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: A few domestic abuse storylines end in a rather dramatic showdown, perhaps most epically with Little Mo (against Trevor) and Zainab (against Yusef) who both mentally tear apart their monstrous boyfriends to breaking point after being pushed too far. Not to mention said boyfriends both get burned to death shortly afterwards.
    Little Mo: What's wrong, Trevor? Cat got your tongue?!?
  • Not Blood Siblings: Dennis Rickman and Sharon Watts.
  • Not-So-Forgotten Birthday: Everyone pretended to forget Diane Butcher's 16th, and secretly planned a Surprise Party. Unfortunately, she took it to heart and ran away from home for three months.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Yusef, after being tricked by his abused lover Zainab into searching for his daughter in a house he set alight, looks out to see her safe outside. He merely stands still in the burning room, with a small, almost impressed-looking smirk before the house collapses around him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens almost Once per Episode, usually followed by those closing drums. An extremely good one occurred during the show's Christmas 2015 arc. Ronnie orders some thugs to kidnap Vincent, tie him up, and lock him in the boot of a car that's due to be scrapped. It looks as though they've managed it... until Vincent brazenly strolls into the Queen Vic.
    Ronnie: How did you do it?
    Vincent: Do what?
    Ronnie: Escape from the car.
    Vincent: What car?
    [after a moment of dawning realization, Ronnie dashes over to the Arches in a blind panic only to find that the car has already been taken to the scrapyard]
    • Max Branning had an epic Oh, Crap! moment in September 2017 - after giving Jane a Motive Rant and leaving her to die in a burning restaurant, his reaction when he sees her being wheeled into the hospital alive and realizes she can now expose his entire revenge plot is priceless.
    • Luke Browning's reaction when he realizes he's dating the son of the woman his father raped thirty years ago.
  • Oire Land: After discovering that they had some long lost relatives living in Ireland, the Fowler clan decide to take a trip over the sea to visit them. Unfortunately, the Producers decided to portray Ireland as something from the mid 1890's as oppose to the mid 1990's. The Irish were not amused, and the show got into a lot of trouble over it.
  • Orient Express: Den and Angie Watts spent their honeymoon on the train.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Dirty Den may be a scumbag, but do NOT fuck with Sharon.
    • Phil is so angry when he finds out Ben has been abusing Louise, he punches him out. And when he finds out Ben himself was being abused by his fiancee Stella, he goes apeshit, pretty much driving her to suicide when he is robbed of the opportunity to just strangle the life out of her.
  • Parental Abandonment: Oh so very much...
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Stacey Slater.
  • Police Are Useless: Oh very much so! This show seems to love playing this trope straight almost every single time they're called.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Stacey's brother Kyle is hit hard with this. First Stacey mistook him for a stalker because he kept following her but was too nervous to talk to her, then later he's again mistaken for a stalker by Martin when it's discovered Stacey only had sisters, and for some reason Kyle doesn't think of just explaining that he had a sex change despite being given multiple opportunities.
  • Positive Discrimination: Averted with Donna Yates. She's disabled, but she can be just as much of a Jerkass as her rivals Bianca and Kat.
  • Put on a Bus: Or more commonly, a black cab or a train.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Infamously used when Trevor raped Little Mo, with the action cutting immediately to Pauline and Derek Harkinson singing at the rehearsal for the community pantomime.
  • Ratings Stunt: Most of the big storylines: "Who Shot Phil?", "Who Killed Archie?", "Who Killed Lucy Beale?", etc. Many were also timed to coincide with major anniversaries.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Spencer Moon was hastily written out after actor Chris Parker attempted suicide. Similarly, the actor playing Gavin Sharp was abruptly axed so Gavin's storyline was wrapped up with a throwaway line of dialogue.
    • An exit storyline every time an actress falls pregnant.
    • Jim Branning's stroke was written in due to John Bardon unfortunately having one in real life.
    • The Ferreira family's exits began when the actor playing Dan, who is an Indian citizen, ran into problems with his permit to work in the UK.
    • After June Brown's eyesight began to deteriorate due to macular degeneration, a storyline was created in which her character Dot Cotton suffered the same condition.
  • Really Gets Around: Pretty much every female Slater (even Lynne for some reason), Roxy Mitchell, Bianca (but not anymore), Kim Fox (she'd like you to think so anyway), Lauren Branning. On the male side of things, Max and Jack Branning, Dean Wicks, Ryan Malloy, Sean Slater, Dennis Rickman, Den Watts, Peter Beale and Tyler Moon have all had many sexual encounters.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Played painfully straight with Steven Beale. At the last minute, he decides he can't go through with killing Jane, but is forced out of the burning restaurant by Max before he can save her. Taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, he learns that Abi really is pregnant and that, while she knows he was lying about his brain tumour, she's willing to forgive him. Realizing he finally has what he wanted all along - a family - Steven vows to try and become a better person... and then immediately takes a turn for the worse and dies.
  • Red Herring: All the major suspects in Lucy Beale's murder started acting suspiciously even before they were told about it. In the end it turned out all of the suspects were red herrings.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Roxy and Ronnie Mitchell, respectively. Ronnie has been described as the 'ice to Roxy's fire'.
    • Played straight with Jack and Michael, the owners of the boxing club and childhood friends - Jack is aggressive and passionate, wears his heart on his sleeve and exudes a serious and intimidating demeanour. On the other hand we have Michael, who is almost constantly calm and collected (even when being beaten to a pulp) and seems to enjoy a good laugh yet remains dead inside, hoarding secrets and lying compulsively as he happily sets he sets his gambits in motion. Accordingly, whilst they both wear black suits, Jack wears orange shirts with the top button undone whilst Michael wears lavender shirts with a tie.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Yusef Khan's entire tenure on the show can be considered this as almost all of his actions (especially those that directly and indirectly effected Zainab, Masood and their family) are to get back together with Zainab and (if December 2011 is any evidence) attempt to remain with her utilising fear and violence. Ultimately his intimidation tactics proved to be his undoing but briefly it looked as if his money left to Zainab would tear apart the family yet again. However, despite all this, not only have the Masood family reunited but they appear to be stronger then ever.
    • Matthew Rose had an absolutely epic one after Steve Owen successfully framed him for the murder of Saskia Duncan. After Matthew was exonerated and freed, he began stalking Steve, trashing his flat and graffitiing "Dead Man Walking" on his front door. Finally, he confronted Steve in his club, demanding money, and when Steve refused, Matthew showed him a tape of him planting lightbulb bombs in Steve's flat, which would explode when Steve's sister turned the lights on. Steve then pulled a gun on Matthew, but Matthew had already emptied the gun beforehand and knocked Steve unconscious with a glass bottle. When Steve woke up, he was tied to a chair and Matthew was pouring what seemed to be petrol all over the club, threatening to set it alight. Steve was quickly reduced to a gibbering wreck, helplessly begging for mercy, at which point Matthew revealed that the "petrol" was actually water, the tape of him planting the lightbulb bombs was fake, and that all he really wanted was to see Steve grovel. Having accomplished that, Matthew left the Square for good. Wow.
    • Double Subverted with Max Branning's hyped return to the Square on Christmas Day 2016. Initially he seemed uninterested in getting revenge on those behind his false imprisonment, but it turns out he's working with a developer named Weyland & Co who are looking to redevelop the Square (which includes buying out many of its iconic buildings and tearing them down). He also corrupts Steven into trying to kill Jane; she survives, but Steven dies.
      • Max is now being joined in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge by James Willmott-Brown, Kathy Beale's rapist, and his three children and half-brother.
  • Say My Name:
    • "RICKAYYYYYY!!!"
    • Steve Owen, trapped in a burning car, shouted for "PHIL!!" to save him just before the car blew up and killed him.
  • Scandalgate: In the mid-1990s, the show ran a storyline nicknamed "Sharongate" where Sharon confessed to cheating on one of the infamous Mitchell brothers with the other brother.
  • Sexiness Score: One episode in 2018 had Martin Fowler and his friends rating the girls in the club, and things take an awkward turn when one of the girls that Martin ends up rating a "10" is his own daughter Bex.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: 'Boat Party Week' covers the same seven hour period from multiple perspectives, showcasing how Linda's alcoholism, Mick protecting Whitney over Leo's death, Ian and Dennis clashing over an attack on Bobby and Phil's final confrontation with Keanu all culminate in the latter story causing the party boat to crash and sink, with Ian's actions resulting in Dennis's death.
  • Sinking Ship Scenario: The 35th anniversary week in 2020 centred around a boat party the majority of the cast were on with the boat crashing and sinking on the River Thames.
  • Sinister Minister: Lucas Johnson, a priest who killed two people and a dog, left a third to die, and kidnapped his wife and locked her up to make people think she'd committed suicide.
  • Smoking Is Cool: It's pretty amazing that Dot Cotton hasn't keeled over yet considering how much she smokes.
  • Smug Snake: Janine.
  • Spinoff:
    • CivvyStreet, a one-off spin-off/prequel set in Christmas 1942, depicting Walford during the Second World War.
    • EastEnders E20, a Younger and Hipper spin-off that aired online between 2010 and 2011. Several characters from the main show made cameos in E20 and vice versa, with Fatboy proving popular enough to to be promoted to the main show permamently.
    • Kat and Alfie got their own named Kat and Alfie: Redwater, in which they travelled to a remote Irish village in search of Kat's long-lost son and, in typical EastEnders fashion, things went south very quickly.
  • Staircase Tumble: A favourite of the show. Laura Beale met her demise that way. Others such as Tiffany Mitchell, Tanya Branning, Glenda Mitchell, and Linda Carter have fallen down stairs in a non-fatal manner.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: A twisted example with Luke Browning and Ben Mitchell. Ben and Luke meet, quickly fall in love, and Ben invites Luke to meet his parents. When Luke sees Kathy, Ben's mother, he freaks the hell out and leaves. Why? Because Luke's father is none other than James Willmott-Brown, who raped Kathy way back in 1988.
  • Stepford Smiler: Whitney became one in 2016 after suffering a miscarriage; when she got out of the hospital she had a near-permanent smile on her face and dismissed the whole thing by saying she could always just get pregnant again. Absolutely nobody was fooled, and if anything it just made them even more concerned about her.
  • The Stinger:
    • Pat Butcher's funeral had one, in which her son Simon Wicks (who hadn't appeared on the show for 22 years) turned up at her gravestone to lay flowers and say his goodbyes.
    • Peggy Mitchell's final episode had a stinger that strongly implied that the dying Peggy committed suicide by overdosing on pills.
  • Tag Team Suicide: Leo finds his girlfriend Demi unconscious from an (accidental) heroin overdose, thinks she's killed herself, and overdoses on the remaining heroin... just as Demi wakes up. At that point, her parents arrive and find them, preventing her from killing herself in turn.
  • Take That!: When Bryan Kirkwood (producer of Hollyoaks) was incoming as producer in 2010, the outgoing producer Diederick Santer's last storyline was a bunch of the teenage characters staying in an abandoned house in the woods, which seemed to be a shallow attempt at a Hollyoaks Later storyline.
  • Tangled Family Tree: The huge Branning-Jackson clan and the Mitchells as well. The fact that Jack Branning has managed to impregnate sisters Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell AND their cousin Sam Mitchell, must make things even worse! Through blood, marriage, and adoption, Big Mo and Little Tiffany are related to about 70% of the other characters.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Loads. Sonia Jackson, Kat Slater, Lucy Beale, Lisa O'Brien, and Demi Miller to name but a few. Demi took it Up to Eleven by being just thirteen when the child was conceived. Michelle Fowler was the Ur-Example. The resultant child, Vicki, ended up in the same situation herself, but opted for an abortion.
  • Television Geography:
    • The London Underground station, Walford Mosque, and the speedway track where Rickaaaaaaaay raced in one arc, have all come and gone as locations.
    • Played with at some length by Alistair McGowan's Big Impression:
      • There are only three place names in England; Walford, Up West and Manchester (from where no-one ever returns).
      • No-one ever talks about sport, least of all football; Big Impression had a long sketch in which someone actually tried this in the Queen Vic and was met with blank incomprehension.note 
      • They did once have a football team (the rather imaginatively named Walford F.C), but once the writers had finished putting one of the players through the Trauma Conga Line, it quietly disappeared and has never been seen or heard of since.
      • Dot Cotton announces that she is selling her house for a considerable price and moving to Southend, at which point she discovers that several other characters are, as well.
  • Theme Naming: The Fowler kids all began with M; Mark, Michelle and Martin. Johnny Allen had a daughter called Ruby and a dead daughter called Scarlet.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Count the number of times characters order tea in the café or drinks in the Vic without drinking them.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Subverted at times, when they insert fake spoilers into their trailers to throw fans off the scent.
  • Trash the Set: Several of the sets had to be rebuilt for the show's transition to high-definition broadcast at the end of 2010. The Queen Vic was destroyed in a fire during a week of episodes that fall, giving Phil an excuse to renovate it in time for the format change. Another storyline during that period was Kim forgetting to turn the bath off, leading to a refurbishment of her B & B. Not all adjustments got a storyline; Ian's house could be seen boarded up without any explanation whatsoever.
  • Trauma Conga Line: ALL THE TIME! Especially if your last or maiden name is Slater. Or Cotton. Dear God...
  • Troubled Abuser: Most characters involved in a Domestic Abuse story line were likely the victim of one somewhere down the line too. The Mitchells in particular have a long history of parental abuse.
  • Twisted Christmas: The show has become memetically notorious for the sheer grimness of its Christmas episodes:
    • Christmas Day 1986: Dennis "Dirty Den" Watts hands divorce papers to his shocked wife, Angie. About 30.15 million people watched. The population of the United Kingdom at the time was about 57 million. The Trope Maker episode.
    • 1998: Grant gets arrested for attempted murder. His wife then gets run over during the New Year's Day special.
    • 2001: Trevor abuses Little Mo, forcing her face-first into a pot of boiling gravy. He'd also raped her a couple episodes prior to that. The New Year's Eve special sees her bludgeon him with an iron.
    • 2002: Jamie Mitchell gets injured after being run-over by a joy-riding Martin. While he initially recovers just enough to declare his everlasting love to Sonia, put a ring on her finger, and kiss, he dramatically dies while Sonia's lips are still on his. All interposed with scenes of another couple's marriage. Manly Mitchell tears follow.
    • 2003: Finally averted, as Walford finally gets a rare happy Christmas as Alfie Moon married Kat Slater, and the ceremony concludes with a snow machine (arranged by Alfie) covering Albert Square with the white stuff. Of course, the happiness couldn't last long and a couple of days later several residents were caught up in a minibus crash.
    • 2004: Sharon and Dennis announce to their family (and Dennis's girlfriend Zoe) over Christmas dinner that they've resumed their relationship and are leaving together later. Desperate to stop Sharon going, Den tells a devastated Zoe to fake a pregnancy. This backfires horribly, as not only does Sharon leave anyway without Dennis but other daughter Vicki overhears him telling Sharon he doesn't care for her nearly as much and leaves too. As a result Den is left with a son he hates and a baby that doesn't exist.
    • 2005: Averted this year. Alfie Moon leaves to travel the world, still having failed to reconcile with his estranged wife Kat. However, when a depressed and drunken Kat staggered out of the pub that evening, Alfie was waiting to take her with him. This was followed by the rest of the square's residents coming out for a merry Christmas Day snowball fight. Of course, a week later, Dennis Rickman was stabbed to death moments before he and pregnant wife Sharon were due to leave Walford to start a new life.
    • 2006: Pauline Fowler fell out with her son and daughter-in-law, whose relationship she had broken up by pretending to have brain cancer, then died suddenly in the square.
    • 2007: Bradley Branning discovered that his father had been having an affair with his new wife Stacey (via video, in front of his whole family no less).
    • 2008: Sean Slater learned he was not the father of his new wife Roxy's baby when he found paternity test results in his homemade Christmas cracker! He proceeded to drive Roxy and the baby onto a frozen lake, which of course collapsed. They all survived, but Sean was forced to flee.
    • 2009: Archie Mitchell is murdered in the Queen Vic, sparking another endless "whodunnit" storyline.
    • 2010: The murderer of Archie Mitchell the previous Christmas is revealed to the Square to be Stacey Branning - not her husband Bradley, who was blamed after his death. Evil Janine Butcher stabs herself and frames Stacey, who then flees the country with baby Lily.
    • 2011: The Domestic Violence storyline between Zainab and Yusef reaches a climax culminating in Yusef setting fire to the B&B in an effort to kill Masood. Zainab tricked Yusef into thinking his daughter was still inside, leading to both he and (to Zainab's horror) her son Tamwar running back inside. Yusef died, and Tamwar suffered horrific burns.
    • 2012: Derek Branning dies of a heart attack following his family throwing him out, fed up of his domineering, violent and corrupt attitude toward them. Just when Max and Tanya look to be finally returning to happiness, Max's secret wife that he engaged with during his absence turns up looking for him setting things spiraling down out of control for Max. Kat arrives just in time to see Alfie and Roxy come together, leaving her rejected.
    • 2013: Janine Butcher is arrested on suspicion of the murder of Michael Moon, following her attempt to escape which results in David Wicks nearly being run over by her. Alfie and Kat are ejected from the Queen Vic after Phil sells the pub... to Shirley's brother, Mick, unaware of their relationship. Carl White is killed by Ronnie Mitchell after she is threatened once too much.
    • 2014: The Beales are grief-stricken after the recently murdered Lucy's jewellery box is wrapped up and left as a sinister "present" under their tree. Mick can take no more and smashes up the Queen Vic after finding out within the space of one day that his "sister" Shirley is really his mother, his dying "parents" are his grandparents, and Dean (who is his brother, not his nephew as he thought) raped Linda.
    • 2015: The Mitchells and Beales' dinner goes awry as it is thought that Bobby has struck once again, apparently killing off Sharon's son Dennis. Before then, Dennis revealed to Bobby that he killed Lucy, when he was believed it wasn't his fault. Phil's excessive alcohol consumption leads to cirrhosis of the liver. Shabnam finds out that her husband Kush is the father of her best friend Stacey's newborn baby. Fatboy is an unintentional victim in a clash between Ronnie and Vincent. Shirley dismisses Dean over his attempted rape of Roxy, forcing her to try and drown her own son. When Linda gets involved, Dean admits he raped Linda. On New Year's Day, Dean takes revenge and tries to drown Shirley in the canal right next to where Mick and Linda's wedding is located. Mick risks his life jumping in the water trying to stop Dean.
    • 2016: On Ronnie Mitchell's wedding day, her sister Roxy drunkenly falls into a swimming pool. Ronnie jumps in after her in a desperate attempt to save her, but they both drown, the final coup de grace of one of the longest, most relentless Trauma Conga Lines in television history.
    • 2017: The truth about Max Branning's involvement in Steven Beale's death and Jane Beale's departure from Walford (the last remaining undiscovered elements of his revenge story) are revealed, as is his one night stand with Stacey the night before. He attempts suicide by jumping off the roof of the Queen Vic, and in their attempts to stop him his daughters Lauren and Abi fall off themselves. Lauren survives, but Abi doesn't.
    • 2018: Kat learns that Alfie is the father of her cousin Hayley Slater's baby. An explosive row leads to Alfie falling down the stairs, seemingly dying, and as the Slaters try to get their story straight for the police, he gets up and kidnaps the baby.
    • 2019: Phil learns about Sharon and Keanu Taylor's affair and that Sharon's baby is not his. Enraged, he, Ben and Louise (Keanu's fiancee and mother of his daughter) conspire to have Keanu murdered, with Ben assigning Martin Fowler to do the job. Though Martin seemingly goes ahead with it, New Years Day reveals that he actually faked Keanu's death with the help of Linda.
    • 2020: It's revealed that Sharon has known all along about Ian's involvement in her son Dennis's death, thanks to a voicemail he left her shortly before the boat crash. She is revealed to have orchestrated the attack on Ian a few weeks earlier, getting Phil to do it. When Phil refuses to kill Ian on the grounds of him being family, she vows to do it herself and begins poisoning his food.
    • Lampshaded in Doctor Who during "The Impossible Planet", when the Doctor chides Ida Scott for using a jinxed line.
      The Doctor: Oh, did you have to? "No turning back"? That's almost as bad as "nothing could possibly go wrong" or "this is going to be the best Christmas Walford's ever had."
  • Variations on a Theme Song: Several more poignant endings replace the iconic drumbeats with a soft, elegant piano build-up to the theme song (officially titled "Julia's Theme"). Exceptional cases sometimes replace the entire theme with a piano-only rendition.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Janine's normally a few steps from this at the best of times, and Christmas 2010 was most definitely one of her worst. And then came Christmas 2013. Hoo boy.
    • After Steve Owen framed Matthew Rose for the murder of Saskia Duncan, Matthew's consequent epic Roaring Rampage of Revenge reduced Steve to a gibbering wreck, helplessly begging for his life. Which is exactly what Matthew wanted.
    • A fair amount of the series' most ruthless villains end up driven over the edge in their closing moments; the most explosive examples (literally) include Trevor, Yusef Khan, Stella Crawford, and May Wright.
    • Johnny Allen suffered a massive heart attack in prison and died as a result.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Zoe runs outside and vomits after catching Anthony and Kat in bed together.
  • Whodunnit: Several. Mysteries gets everyone talking - characters and audience alike. It's easy to build a list of suspects, with six people picking up a phone just before the big Reveal Shot...
    • 1984: Reg Cox is found dead in his living room the very first scene of East Enders. While not strictly a Whodunnit, the identity of the killer is unknown... until Nick Cotton confesses in prison in 1989.
    • 1985: 16 year old Michelle Fowler falls pregnant and refuses to reveal the father's identity. One day she asks to meet him by the canal, and the audience discovers it's Den Watts, father of Sharon; Michelle's best friend. He earns the nickame Dirty Den to the public.
    • 2001: Notorious hardman Phil Mitchell gets shot on his doorstep in a drunken stupor. He recovers however, and months later confronts his shooter, his ex-girlfriend Lisa Shaw.
    • 2009: Heather Trott falls pregnant to a mystery man. At the baby's birth, the father is revealed to be Darren Miller - more than 20 years her senior.
    • 2009-10: Villainous Archie Mitchell has the Queen Vic bust dropped on him and dies. On the first-ever live episode, Bradley Branning falls off the Queen Vic roof and in response Stacey Branning tearfully confesses.
    • 2014-15: Lucy Beale is found dead in the woods. After ten long months, Jane Beale tells her husband Ian that 11 year old Bobby Beale killed his own sister.
    • 2020: Ian Beale was attacked at the Queen Vic, but survived. The attacker turns out to be Phil Mitchell, who conspired with Sharon Watts, to avenge the death of Sharon's son Dennis.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: One was broadcast during EastEnders' 30th anniversary week on February 19th 2015, detailing the events of the night Lucy Beale was murdered.
    • New Year's Day 2020 featured the real conclusion to the Mitchell's hit on Keanu Taylor.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: The "Who Killed Archie?" and "Who Killed Lucy Beale?" storylines; particularly the latter, in which every single person in Walford was a suspect at some point. Downplayed with "Who Shot Phil?", as Phil didn't actually die and the suspect pool was much smaller.
  • Who's Your Daddy?:
    • Heather and her baby. Teenage Darren disappointingly turned out to be the father.
    • Michelle Fowler's teenage pregnancy. That time the father turned out to be her best friend's dad, aka. Dirty Den Watts.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Janine Butcher, Stella Crawford, Sean Slater, May Wright, and Phil Mitchell. As was seen coming a mile off, Ben Mitchell finally snapped from years of abuse from Phil.
  • The Worf Effect: Most notably when Dennis Rickman first appeared and immediately proved his bad boy credentials by decking Phil Mitchell.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Ronnie Mitchell, over and over again, almost to the point of tedium. Gives birth to the baby she wanted? Baby is stillborn. Finds out she already had a daughter? Said daughter is immediately run over. Try to kill someone threatening your family? You kill the wrong person (and subject them to their worst fear in the process). Gets married? Her sister drowns that same night and Ronnie drowns trying to save her.
  • You're Not My Father: Zoe screeching about her sister Kat not being her mother... funny thing about that.








Video Example(s):


Heather's Staircase Tumble

Harry Hill lampoons a scene from EastEnders (in which Heather climbs a long flight of stairs) as well as a previous scene where another character kept shouting her name while looking for her ("Ev! Ev!").

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / StaircaseTumble

Media sources: