EastEnders fans will get a chance to relive classic episodes throughout August when the Drama channel starts showing the BBC1 soap from the very beginning. Episodes will be aired in double bills on weekday lunchtimes at midday, with viewers also being given the opportunity to catch up via UKTV Play.
The move by the digital television channel comes following ITV3’s decision last year to start broadcasting double bills of Coronation Street dating back to the mid-1980s.
A spokesperson said to RadioTimes.com today: “This summer on Drama, viewers can relive early episodes of EastEnders, including the very first one, and remember characters like Den and Angie Watts, Pauline and Arthur Fowler, Ian Beale and of course, Ethel Skinner and her dog, Willy.”
The opportunity to see the origins of EastEnders comes following the death last Friday of one of the drama’s original stars, Leslie Grantham, who played roguish publican Den Watts.
The Camberwell-born actor – along with co-star Anita Dobson – became the breakout stars of EastEnders following its launch in February 1985, with a 1986 Christmas Day episode in which Den served wife Angie with divorce papers watched by a consolidated audience of over 30 million.
Speaking last week, Dobson said of Grantham: “The time we had together was amazing. The chemistry was just extraordinary and a very memorable time and I won’t forget him.
“It was a magical time because I don’t think either of us expected the chemistry to be so potent. But the first time we rehearsed together, I remember after we’d done a little scene Leslie walked away and went ‘Yes, brilliant!’ and I knew exactly what he meant. It just worked.”
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