EastEnders in popular culture

EastEnders in popular culture

Since its premiere in 1985, "EastEnders" has had a large impact on popular culture.

In television

A charity special crossover between the science fiction television series "Doctor Who" and "EastEnders", "Dimensions in Time", was filmed in 1993 for Children in Need and ran in two parts on November 26 and November 27, 1993. It has been proven as non-canon by various references of "Doctor Who" as fiction in "EastEnders", and vice versa.

Characters have also been spoofed in the successul BBC comedy sketch show, "The Real McCoy" (1991-1995). One of the show's regular sketches featured a spoof version of "EastEnders", with black comedians taking over roles of well known "EastEnders" characters who frequented a pub called Rub-a-Dub.

The character of Pauline Fowler was mentioned in the successful BBC drama "This Life" in 1997. In one episode of the show two key characters, Anna and Ferdy, watched an episode of "EastEnders" on television and mocked Pauline's hysterics and her well documented tendency to wear cardigans. The first episode of "Spaced" refers to Michelle Fowler.

A special episode of "A Question of Sport", "A Question of EastEnders", was screened in 2000 to mark the show's fifteenth anniversary.

"EastEnders" and its characters were frequently spoofed in the impressionist sketch show "Big Impression", starring Alistair McGowan and Ronni Ancona. "Big Impression" once screened a one-off special, focusing on "EastEnders", called "Alistair McGowan's BigEnders". The cartoon sketch show "2DTV" has also spoofed "EastEnders" on many occasions.

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders created a sketch in their comedy series "French & Saunders" which featured Kacey Ainsworth, Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie. The sketch saw French and Saunders as two elderly ladies working as extras and interrupting the shooting of an episode. [ [http://www.frenchandsaunders.com/news/french_and_saunders.shtml French and Saunders news] ]

In "The League of Gentlemen" TV series, Judee Levinson bears a resemblance to Sharon Rickman, which is commented on in "The League of Gentlemen" DVD commentaries.

The dramatic drums at the end of every episode were parodied by "SMTV Live" in a "Friends" spoof entitled "Chums".

In the last ever episode of "Gimme Gimme Gimme", "Decoy", Linda faked a terminal illness to stop her flatmate, Tom, from moving out. When Tom discovered her lie, Linda defended herself by saying "Well, it worked for Angie Watts!", to which Tom replied "Den and Angie were married!" In this episode, Tom also mentioned throughout the series that he had had a role in "EastEnders", as an extra, buying a cagoule from Bianca Jackson's clothes stall. Linda also has a stuffed toy called Carol Jackson.

An episode of "My Hero" references "EastEnders". When George thinks his marriage is breaking up, he believes he and Janet will be told to sort themselves out by a fat woman named Pat and then have a reconciliation in a café or launderette.

In the third series of "Bo' Selecta!", there was a weekly sketch called 'EastEndings', featuring Ali Osman and Kat Moon. [" [http://www.thecustard.tv/thecrumble/thecrumble_32.html Reviews] ", "thecustard.tv". URL last accessed 2006-11-19]

An episode of "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps" entitled "War, Hurrgh!" contains references to Peggy and Grant Mitchell, Angie Watts and Pat Butcher. The episode also ended with the same theme music as "EastEnders". Another episode, "Speedycruise!" referred to Pauline and Martin Fowler, and the episode "Finger Sniffing" also refers to Peggy. Also, in the episode "When Janet Met Johnny", Donna sings the line "Don't stay in watching "EastEnders"." Also, in an episode of "Pulling", the character of Donna asks "Who am I going to tell when I have an idea for a new plotline in "EastEnders"?".

"EastEnders" appeared in a sketch for Children in Need in 2004, which saw fashion gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine giving the characters Little Mo and Mo Harris a makeover in the style of their television show "What Not to Wear". [" [http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/11_november/09/cin.shtml BBC Children In Need 2004] " "BBC Press Office". URL last accessed 2007-02-18]

In November 2005, Catherine Tate appeared in another sketch for Children In Need. The segment was a crossover between "EastEnders" and "The Catherine Tate Show", featuring Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell, Kacey Ainsworth as Little Mo Mitchell and Lacey Turner as Stacey Slater from "EastEnders" and Tate as her well-known character Lauren Cooper from "The Catherine Tate Show". The sketch saw Lauren arrive in Walford in search of revenge on Stacey, who had apparently stolen her boyfriend. She appeared in the launderette in a scene with Little Mo, and in The Queen Vic in a scene with Peggy and Stacey, where she made various references to Cockney culture, such as asking Peggy whether she knew Chas & Dave. [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolavconsole/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_4450000/newsid_4452400/bb_rm_4452426.stm Catherine Tate appears in Walford] ", "bbc.co.uk". URL last accessed 2007-02-18]

Shaun Williamson frequently plays himself in Ricky Gervais's "Extras", where he is referred to at all times as "Barry from "EastEnders".

A specially filmed clip of "EastEnders" features in the 2006 episode of "Doctor Who" entitled "Army of Ghosts". In the scene, Peggy Mitchell confronts the "ghost of Den Watts", ordering it to get out of her pub and that "We don't serve spirits".

Derek Martin (Charlie Slater) appeared in episode three in the third series of "Little Britain" in 2005. The sketch primarily focused around the character Marjorie Dawes telling her Fat Fighters group not to mention the fact that Martin is in "EastEnders", then mentioning it herself. In the Comic Relief special of "Little Britain", the character Dennis Waterman refers to his "daughter - the one in "EastEnders". This is a reference to the real actor Dennis Waterman, who is the father of Hannah Waterman, who played Laura Beale in the show. In "Little Britain Abroad", Vicky Pollard refers to an acquaintance's breasts as looking "like the Mitchell brothers".

In episode three in series four of "Shameless", Lip Gallagher says to his brother, Ian, "You even look like Ian Beale!", referring to Ian's entrepreneurial skills.

In one episode of children's show "TMi", featuring an interview with Matt Di Angelo (Deano Wicks) and Belinda Owusu (Libby Fox), host Mark Rhodes dressed up as Pauline Fowler, clutching a stuffed toy dog and grimacing at the camera, for a game.

For Red Nose Day 2007, Aardman Animations created a "Creature Comforts" style short featuring the dog Wellard, who appeared in various places including Albert Square and outside a pub called The Dirty Den, asking other dogs for charity donations, attempting to sell his offspring and being put in prison. [" [http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/tm_headline=&method=full&objectid=18741966&siteid=89520-name_page.html You'll Love The Big One!] ", "The Daily Mirror". URL last accessed 2007-03-23.]

In the 2007 documentary "F*** Off, I'm Ginger", Charlie Clements discussed his character Bradley Branning's geekiness, and the relation to his ginger hair. Pauline and Sonia Fowler were mentioned in the fourth episode of "Gavin & Stacey". The fifth episode also referred to Shobu Kapoor by her character name, Gita, and mentioned Pat Butcher.

In 2008, comedienne Katy Brand mentioned the characters of Pat Evans and Frank Butcher in a sketch mocking the singer Adele on her ITV2 show "Katy Brand's Big Ass Show".

In music

BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles remixed the Shaggy single "It Wasn't Me", singing about the "Who Shot Phil?" storyline. The theme tune of "EastEnders" has been parodied by MC Devvo, DJ Osymyso and Oxide & Neutrino. "EastEnders" is also mentioned in Sway DaSafo's remix of the Lily Allen song "LDN".

Ian Hunter's album "Rant" contains a song called "Dead Man Walkin' (EastEnders)". [" [http://www.ianhunter.com/disco.shtml Discography] ", "ianhunter.com". URL last accessed 2007-03-04]

The Punk band The Dead Milkmen's 1988 album Beelzebubba contains a song called "Bad Party", which contains the lyrics, "I'm gonna shoot somebody / If they don't stop talking about "EastEnders"." British rap group Fierce Girl have a song, called "What Makes a Girl Fierce", with a chorus containing the lyrics, "Kat Slater is our sister." [" [http://www.redflagrecords.com/music/fierce/What%20Makes%20A%20Girl%20Fierce%20-%20Fierce%20Girl.mp3 What Makes a Girl Fierce] ", "Red Flag Records". URL last accessed 2007-04-11.]

EastEnders is also mentioned in the song "Kill the Director" by The Wombats and in "Could Well Be In" by The Streets.

In theatre

"EastEnders" is referred to in John Godber's play "Teechers". The drama students, Gail, Salty and Hobby, say that they have acted out a part of "EastEnders", quoting "Hello, Arfur... All right, my love".

When "Emmerdale" actor Nick Miles (who plays Jimmy King) starred in a play at the Edinburgh Festival called "Meeting Joe Strummer", his character was from Walford. [" [http://www.edinburgh-festivals.com/reviews.cfm?id=1205782006 Meeting Joe Strummer] ", "Edinburgh Festivals". URL last accessed 2006-11-10] Miles said in an interview that his character was originally going to be from the village of Emmerdale, but it was changed to Walford for fun.

In advertising

During the 1990s, whilst on a hiatus from "EastEnders", Mike Reid starred in an advert for the soft drink Oasis, whose slogan at the time was "Open, pour, be yourself once more". In the advert, Reid was dressed as Frank and initially roamed around with an uncharacteristically sunny disposition, until he drank the beverage and trod in a cow pat. After which he took on a miserable disposition and exclaimed "Pat... Oh Pat, what have you done to me Pat?" in a blatant reference to his "EastEnders" alter ego.

In 1996, a BT commercial promoting its Friends and Family service featured ten former "EastEnders" stars. In the commercial, Letitia Dean calls nine former cast members; Susan Tully, Tom Watt, Leslie Grantham, Anna Wing, Oscar James, Linda Davidson, Peter Dean, Michelle Collins (in a scene shot in Paris to reflect the fact an international number could be included in the list - the advert itself was aired shortly after Cindy Beale was seen leaving on the Eurostar) and Bill Treacher (in a scene shot on an allotment to reflect the fact that one mobile number could be included).

Leslie Grantham also appeared in an advertisement for Radox Everfresh in the late 1990s. The first line of the commercial was "Not so Dirty Den now, eh?", and the final line was "Life after soap... no problem".

In 2008, Dean Gaffney (who played Robbie Jackson) appeared in an advert for Daz along with Julie Goodyear (Bet Lynch in "Coronation Street") and Sue Jenkins (Gloria Todd in "Coronation Street" and Jackie Corkhill in "Brookside"), which also included a parody of the "EastEnders" theme tune.


"EastEnders" was the first television show to have a "dial-a-soap" facility. Run by British Telecom in 1985, the facility allowed people who had missed an episode to ring a number and get an instant update. The synopses were scripted to be no longer than one minute and twenty-eight seconds per episode. Wendy Richard, in character as Pauline Fowler, was chosen to be the voice at the other end of the line and narrated each episode.

The name "EastEnders" is spoofed in a series of pornographic films called "RearEnders", which also spoof the "EastEnders" logo. [" [http://image.bizrate.co.uk/resize?sq=160&uid=438004633&mid=134141 "RearEnders 2" video cover] ". URL last accessed 2007-02-07 (Contains adult content)]

A promotional picture of Pauline Fowler and Joe Macer was used on the official "Torchwood" website, in a fictional magazine article about aliens. [" [http://www.torchwood.org.uk/html/gadgets/magazine.shtml MAGAZINE ARTICLE, 2007] ", "BBC". URL last accessed 2006-11-19]

The Office for National Statistics have attributed the rise in babies called Ruby in 2006 to the character of Ruby Allen. [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6192247.stm Jack and Olivia top baby names] ", "BBC News". URL last accessed 2006-12-23]

It is also mentioned frequently in the "Shopaholic" book series written by Sophie Kinsella as the favourite TV show of Becky Bloomwood, the main character.

The monthly Dot Cotton Club, a gay club night in Cambridge, is named after the character of Dot Branning, who was previously named Dot Cotton. [" [http://www.dotcottonclub.com/ Dot Cotton Club] " "Dot Cotton Club website". URL last accessed 2006-10-11] Dot is probably the most notable smoker on British television as she rarely appears on-screen without a cigarette. The character is so synonymous with smoking that the term "Dot Cotton syndrome" is used within the health industry to: "describe the elderly population who continue to smoke heavily without registering the health problems they are or will soon suffer from, seeing it as their only pleasure left in life". [" [http://www.studentbmj.com/issues/06/04/life/168.php Medical education via the mass media] ", "Student BMJ". URL last accessed 2006-10-23.]

Bianca Jackson's catchphrase "Ricky!" was printed on the packaging for Birds Eye's potato waffles.

Chris Moyles' "Difficult Second Book" contains a chapter called "There Is No "Carry On" in "EastEnders", referring to many things that cannot exist in the "EastEnders" fictional world, due to actors appearing in both TV shows, including Spandau Ballet (Martin Kemp), "Carry On" (Barbara Windsor), "Grange Hill" (Todd Carty and Susan Tully), "Hotel Babylon" and "Red Cap" (Tamzin Outhwaite), "Jonny Briggs" and "Star Wars" (Leslie Schofield), "Lovejoy", "Only Fools and Horses" and "Dad's Army" (John Bardon), "Bergerac", "Inspector Morse" and "Minder" (Perry Fenwick), "The Sweeney" and "Eldorado" (Derek Martin), "Are You Being Served?" (Wendy Richard), "Parklife" and "Quadrophenia" (Phil Daniels) and "A Touch of Frost" (Kyte).


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