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Friday 29 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# gerrr outta my pub!
Why is everybody talking about Eastenders this week?
The show is broadcasting a run of live episodes this week.

THINGS ARE RUNNING a little bit differently over in Albert Square this week.

And it seems that people are taking notice. Eastenders has been in the news because of its anniversary celebrations this week.

As part of this, a run of partially-live episodes are being screened. These will be followed by a fully-live episode on Friday.

There has also been a lot of speculation over the revealing of Lucy Beale’s killer.

If you have caught some of the hubbub but are a bit confused about the specifics – here is a bit of a breakdown.

lucy beale BBC Actress Hetti Bywater who plays Lucy Beale in the programme BBC

Why is this happening now?

‘Live Week’ is being screened to mark the 30th anniversary of the programme which launched in 1985. While the only completely live episode will take place on Friday – others throughout the week will have live elements within them.

In its 30 years, the show has had a large number of high profile storylines that have helped maintain a loyal viewership.

Christmas Day in 1986 saw it take its place in British television history with the highest-ever rated episode. 30.15 million viewers tuned in to watch Dennis ‘Dirty Den’ Watts serve his wife Angie with divorce papers.

To celebrate the occasion, the BBC is also running a list of 30 facts about the programme, with one being given each day in the run up to Friday’s completely live episode.

dot cotton BBC BBC

So who killed Lucy Beale? 

Well, nobody knows yet. The murder has been generating a huge amount of interest – even seeing the BBC issue a list of 14 potential suspects. The list was broken down and analysed in yesterday’s Guardian.

Would be sleuths are able to peruse all of the available evidence via a case file on the BBC’s website.

The plotline has been ongoing for close to a year – with Lucy, played by actress Hetti Bywater, discovered dead last April. In keeping with the ‘Who shot JR?’ style of whodunnit television – viewers have been kept guessing as to the real killer’s identity.

According to the BBC, all is set to be revealed in tomorrow night’s flashback episode. This will be followed by Friday’s live episode. Executive producer of the series, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, has said:

So much happened on Good Friday 2014 after viewers saw Lucy leave her home and walk off into the night – and this flashback episode will fill in the pieces for the rest of that night, before she was killed.

Last night’s episode also saw the return of iconic character Peggy Mitchell, played by actress Barbara Windsor.

All of this has marked a major upswing in popularity for the programme. A couple of years ago it had been struggling to stop a ratings slide and had faced a slew of criticism over dull storylines. 

Live shows 

The live elements of this week’s shows have already been causing something of a furore.

On last night’s episode actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning in the programme, appeared to momentarily forget his lines. Confusion over what Wood was supposed to have said has led to speculation that he has already implicated Abi Branning in Lucy’s murder.

He tried to clear up the mess on Twitter…

But then had some fun adding to it:

Tomorrow’s episode will be a flashback containing the ins and outs of Lucy Beale’s murder before revealing the killer’s true identity.

Tweeting in character 

One interesting thing Eastenders are pioneering this week is character Tamwar Masood live tweeting throughout the live parts of the episodes. The character, played by actor Himesh Patel, has already been posting tweets from the Eastenders’ official Twitter account using the hashtag #TamwarTweets.

Read: Here’s why everyone is talking about Eastenders this morning

Also: Home and Away was RTÉ Player’s most watched programme of 2014

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