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Trivia / EastEnders

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  • Acting in the Dark:
    • During the affair storyline between Stacey Slater and Max Branning, Jo Joyner (who plays Max's wife Tanya) did not read any parts of the East Enders scripts other than her own, as she felt her acting was improved by not knowing what Max did behind Tanya's back, and because she felt that she could better justify to herself why Tanya would not suspect Max of cheating if she in reality did not know what he was getting up to.
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    • For the special live episode in 2010 where Stacey Slater was revealed to be Archie Mitchell's murderer, none of the rest of the cast knew and Stacey's actress Lacey Turner was only told half an hour before broadcast. There's footage of the rest of the cast watching The Reveal live and reacting with shock.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • The character of Stacey Slater was created especially for Lacey Turner after she auditioned to play Demi Miller.
    • Michelle Collins, who portrayed Cindy Beale, previously auditioned for the role of Mary Smith.
    • Derek Martin, who played Charlie Slater, had got down to the last five for Den Watts when the series started but Julia Smith told him he wasn't "a ladies' man". He was also in the running to play Frank Butcher but was committed to another series, King & Castle, instead.
    • Nigel Harman revealed in a 2003 interview that he actually auditioned for a character called "Tim", and had no idea that he was set to join the Watts family as Dennis Rickman, the unknown son of the soap's most "iconic" figure, Den Watts.
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  • Creator Backlash: Barbara Windsor was opposed to the storyline which saw her character Peggy mount a hate campaign against Mark Fowler for being HIV positive. She later claimed:
    I got the most appalling hate mail because of it. I had a very dear friend of mine who was dying of AIDS so it was very personal to me. The last scene I did I went straight out and got terribly drunk.
  • Dawson Casting: The E20 Gang. Sam Attwater who plays Leon is 24. Poppy, who at a guess is 21/22 is played by Rachel Bright, who is 29 as of June 2013 and Shivani Ghai, who played the 23-24 year old Ayesha was according to reports born in 1975, making her 37/38. Wikipedia however now has her age as a slightly younger 31/32.
    • Averted with Michelle Ryan, who was 16 when she was cast as the 16-year-old Zoe Slater.
    • Subverted with Wendy Richard, who by the time of this series was over 40 and had been acting for over 25 years, took the role specifically because she was tired of playing younger, "glamorous" characters.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Jill Halfpenny really did have her own hair chopped off for the scene where Chrissie cuts Kate's hair in revenge.
  • Fan Nickname:
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    • Easties - Shortened form of the show's title.
    • With characters including 'Dirty' Den Watts, 'Nasty' Nick Cotton, Big and Little Mo Harris and Slater, Squeal Beale and
'Mad' May Wright.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Tony Jordan claimed that Mike Reid was the only castmember he ever allowed to change their dialogue, as his cockney sland was more authentic.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: While still under construction, the Albert Square set doubled as the Dusseldorf construction site employing the main characters in the first series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
  • Hostility on the Set: Maggie O'Neill was removed from the show only months into her contract due to reported extensive conflict with costars namely Samantha Womack who plays Ronnie Mitchell and Robert Kazinsky who played Sean Slater. Some of the stories meant to be including her character, Suzy Branning, had to be re-written such as the storyline in which Ronnie Mitchell finally finds out that her daughter Danielle Jones is still alive only to be killed by a car accident in which Suzy was originally meant to be driving the car until it was later changed to Janine Butcher being the driver.
  • The Other Darrin: Mark, Martin, Sam, Peggy, Steven, Peter, Lucy, Janine, Lauren, Ben, Lucy again)
    • Todd Carty took over the role of Mark Fowler after the original actor, David Scarboro, committed suicide.
    • Kim Medcalf replaced Danniella Westbrook as Sam Mitchell, after the latter was involved in a number of drug incidents. In 2009 when Sam was reintroduced again after 4 years away, she was portrayed by Westbrook, who had finally kicked her addictions.
    • In one of the most bizarre examples of this trope, the producers wanted more ethnic characters in the soap... and so replaced Janine Butcher's original actress, Rebecca Michaels (who was White British) with Alexa Demetriou (who was Southern European). She was restored to her former ethnicity when Demetriou was in turn replaced by Charlie Brooks.
  • The Other Marty: Barbara Windsor was fourth choice for Peggy Mitchell. The first choice was booked but never filmed any material. The second choice taped eight episodes that were never broadcast.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Mike Reid (Frank Butcher) was best known in the UK as a stand-up comedian.
    • Barbra Windsor was best known for her comedic roles, most notably the Carry On series.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor:
    • Melissa Suffield (Lucy Beale) got sacked after being caught going into London nightclubs while underage and getting unruly drunk. Her rather colorful social network sites might also have had something to do with it. The character was eventually reinstated with a new actress.
    • Rob Kazinsky (Sean Slater) got a temporary ban for sending photos of his nude self around.
    • Leslie Grantham ("Dirty" Den Watts) narrowly evaded this at the start when it was revealed that the actor had served a "life" sentence (paroled after ten years) for murder. The BBC stood by him, arguing that he'd learnt his lesson and every former criminal deserves rehabilitation, and he lasted several years on the show before leaving of his own volition. (The fact that he was playing a villainous, semi-criminal character rather than any kind of role model also may have helped.) However, he did suffer this at the end of his second stint as a regular character on the show, forced to quit after Internet footage was released of him performing indecent acts in front of a webcam for what he thought was a single-person audience.
    • Zigzagged by Danniella Westbrook (Sam Mitchell). In 1996 her character was axed from the show due to the controversy surrounding Westbrook's cocaine addiction. However, she returned to the role in 1999... only to be axed again the following year after her continued addiction completely eroded her septum. Sam was brought back again in 2002, with Kim Medcalf in the role, then written out in 2005. When the character returned briefly in 2009 and 2010, Westbrook, who had by now cleaned up her act and had reconstructive surgery on her nose, was handed the role back.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: The Mitchell brothers.
  • Too Soon:
    • In May 2007 a storyline involving the kidnapping of the newborn baby of Dawn Swann was scrapped because of similarities to the much-publicised abduction of 4-year-old Madeleine McCann in the Algarve, Portugal on 3 May 2007.
    • When the air date for a planned storyline about Lucas Johnson murdering a prostitute coincided with the high-profile murders of sex workers in Ipswich, the episodes were rewritten to have him kidnapping a random woman who survives.
  • Wag the Director: June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton is every bit as much a devout Christian in real-life as Dot is on the show. For this reason, she refuses to say anything that might be considered blasphemous, or have Dot do anything un-Christian. Additionally, she forced the writers to add scenes showing Dot celebrating lesser-known Christian holidays such as Maundy Thursday, which she collected charity money for — though this being EastEnders, she was promptly mugged and the money stolen.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Before it was decided Bobby Beale was Lucy's killer, other culprits considered were Jane and Cindy.
    • Ross Kemp and Steve McFadden were interested in a Spin-Off about the Mitchell brothers.
    • Emma Bunton auditioned for Bianca Jackson.
    • Joanna Lumley was considered for Chrissie Watts.
    • Originally it had been planned for Chrissie Watts' trial for the murder of her husband Den to be screened. However the idea was scrapped because the actresses Tracy Ann Oberman (Chrissie Watts), Kim Medcalf (Sam Mitchell) and Michelle Ryan (Zoe Slater) had all moved on to other projects.
    • Following the decision of Natalie Cassidy to leave the character of Sonia Fowler in 2007, it was originally planned for her on-screen former husband, Martin Fowler to murder her after failing to come to terms with her new lesbian relationship. In the end scriptwriters decided to reconcile the couple and have them leave together.
    • Originally there was a storyline written that the whole Ferreira clan killed their pushy father Dan, but actor Dalip Tahil could not get a visa for working in the UK, so the storyline was scrapped and instead Ronny Ferreira got stabbed.
    • Den, Angie and Sharon were originally going to be called Jack, Pearl and Tracy.
    • Morrissey was once offered a guest role, but turned it down.
    I was invited to be Dot Cotton's other son, a mysterious son no one had ever spoken about, who returns to the Square, doesn't get involved with anybody and doesn't immediately have sex with anybody as most characters who come into the Square do.
  • Working Title: Square Dance, Round the Square, Round the Houses, London Pride and East 8.
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Tony Holland created the Beale and Fowler family, drawing on his own background. His mother, Ethel Holland, was one of four sisters raised in Walthamstow. Her eldest sister, Lou, had married a man named Albert Beale and had two children, named Peter and Pauline. These family members were the basis for Lou Beale, Pete Beale and Pauline Fowler.
    • Julia Smith used her personal memories of East End residents she met when researching Victorian squares. Ethel Skinner was based on an old woman she met in a pub, with ill-fitting false teeth, and a "face to rival a neon sign", holding a Yorkshire Terrier in one hand and a pint of Guinness in the other.

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