“Cor, it stinks in ‘ere.” So said publican Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) in the opening seconds of EastEnders’s first-ever episode back in 1985.
And it’s a scene that is to be recreated this coming Thursday as the BBC1 soap celebrates its 30th anniversary. Using the actual sound effects from that episode, as well as references to that memorable dialogue, viewers will see three characters kick down the door to No 23 – the exact same house where Arthur Fowler, Den Watts and Ali Osman found Reg Cox shortly before he died.
However, 30 years on, there is a big difference – three residents will find Nick Cotton, but this time he is already dead. As viewers of last Friday’s episode are aware, Dot let her villainous son Nick die rather than call an ambulance as he sat gasping for breath.
Show bosses are keeping tight-lipped about which characters are involved, but it’s apparently not the only nod to the past that fans will get during the show’s birthday week.
Says executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins: “Live week allows us to have some fun while also paying respect to our past. Our story producer Alex Lamb had the idea to replicate EastEnders’s first ever scene back when we started planning our anniversary.
And it has been lovingly modernised for 2015 by anniversary producer Sharon Batten, our longest serving EastEnders writer Rob Gittins and director Karl Neilson. With little touches like this throughout the week, we will hopefully make Julia Smith and Tony Holland proud of the show they created back in 1985.”
You can watch the opening scene of EastEnders below. And beneath that, there’s a 60-second rundown of all the drama set to feature in the 30th anniversary week.
For more spoilers, news and interviews, visit our dedicated EastEnders page here.