After much fanfare EastEnders‘ new gay bar will open in the coming weeks, and the show has ended fan speculation by confirming the name of the nightspot – The Prince Albert.
Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) will be in charge of the bar, on the site of hipster hangout The Albert, last seen when run by Kim Fox-Hubbard (Tameka Empson) and husband Vincent Hubbard (Richard Blackwood) before he became embroiled with gangster Aidan Maguire (Patrick Bergen) who forced him to sell up in 2018.
Albert Square legend Kathy recently had a windfall after selling a sparkly necklace given to her by son Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) for a small fortune. Having sold the item of jewellery, and heard her gay son lament the lack of opportunities to meet a man in his own manor, suddenly-wealthy Kath has nabbed the lease to the empty building and decided to turn it into the first gay bar in soap to be part of the regular set.
The addition of ‘Prince’ to the name may be a nod to Kathy hoping her single son meets his own Prince Charming once the venue opens its doors…
How long have EastEnders planned to have a gay bar?
Plans for the groundbreaking bar were announced by BBC Head of Continuing Drama Kate Oates in January 2019 as part of her vision to increase diversity on EastEnders.
“I’m interested in bringing some LGBTQ characters in and looking at opening a gay bar on the Square,” said the soap boss, who has also enjoyed successful stints producing rivals Coronation Street and Emmerdale, “a super-cool precinct where gay and straight characters can hang out and loads of stories can cross.
“It will be something fun, exciting, visual and true to multicultural London,” she teased. “It is an important move for the show to authentically reflect modern London life.”
EastEnders will also feature its first Gay Pride parade later this summer to coincide with London’s Pride event in early July.
What’s the history of The Prince Albert?
The Prince Albert’s premises is steeped in Walford history, and not all of it positive for Kathy who was raped there by publican James Willmott-Brown when it was wine bar the Dagmar back in 1988. On Tuesday 28th May, Kath acknowledged the link to Ben when discussing her new business venture and explained she wanted to banish the bad memories and make new, happier ones.
As well as drinking establishments, the site has also been home to various business over the years including Ian Beale’s catering enterprise the Meal Machine and Tanya Branning’s salon Booty.
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