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I'm hoping the recasts are the start of investing in the younger group. One of the few things I liked about this younger group was the friendship between Tamwar and Darren and that seems to be gone.

That's a great idea about Kim and Syed. I was thinking Janine but that would probably be a disaster.

Allcock/Shirley would be interesting, especially to see Pat's smirk when she hears the name...

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This show has always treated teens as secondary, and when they do feature them a lot, they seem to move them out of the teen group and write them as some quasi-adults. Bianca, Ricky, Tiffany, Sonia, Jamie, Martin, Janine, Zoe, Bradley, and Stacey, and many others were barely allowed to be teens before they written as more adult-like characters. I mean early on, you did get a strong indication that those characters were teens, but not for long.

Santer seemed to be trying to forge a teen group earlier in the year with the E20 gang, but that in no way worked out, and they'll be losing Zsa Zsa and Leon soon, who he featured the most. I don't really care for teen storylines, so I hope the teens are just supporting (and the new ones are well-cast) until they can be featured more often.

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Peggy's last episode will be 40 minutes, and BBC1 will spend the other 20 minutes of that hour doing a Revealed special on Peggy.

http://www.tvtv.co.uk/tvtv/web/programdetails.vm?programmeId=45638633&lang=en&epgView=list&groupid=0&tref=Program

I'm guessing it's only 20 minutes because it focuses on only Peggy, not in addition to other characters like other Revealed specials.

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Today episode:

I felt bad for Stacey when she was in the car and they were driving away to scatter Bradley's ashes, and then she started to get uncomfortable and cry because she wasn't ready.

The scenes with Max and Stacey in the Slater kitchen talking about moments from Bradley's childhood was well done too.

Becca is a damn controlling freak when it comes to Stacey.

Oh shut up Heather. She always wants Shirley to interfere in her life, and when she does, like today with Minty, she's pissed and accuses Shirley of being a bad friend. Shirley will be right in the end, because Minty will never love Heather more than Sam.

Poor Jane, she's right though. She's given up all of herself for Ian, their marriage, and Ian's kids, and at the end of the day she has nothing to really show for it and is very unappreciated. I liked seeing Denise support her.

Melissa Suffield had a low key exit, but that's to be expected with Jane keeping the abortion lie to herself and wanting to stick it to Ian when he least expects it. I'm glad Lucy mentioned to Peter that they do have family on their mother's side and that she'll be staying with her Nana Williams. I'm assuming Lucy will be back around Christmas, maybe even on Christmas, like knocking on Ian's door that day.

I think Lucy as a character can be interesting when she comes back. She demonstrates both Ian and Cindy's worst tendencies.

Peter doesn't seem like any of his parents. I think he may be closest to his grandma Kathy, being a voice of reason type in his family.

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I thought this was a pretty decent episode. I know some are upset that the show hasn't had a lot of big cliffhangers but I will trade that for consistent episodes, which we've had for the past few months.

I don't care about anything with Heather/Minty; I did watch the part where Shirley threatened "Richard" -- that was fun.

Even though Jane's baby rabies did scare me with its intensity, I do feel sorry for her -- probably the saddest scene was when she realized Peter had been lying to her. I'm surprised Peter hasn't let Ian know yet that Jane knows. I wonder where they're going to go with this story. I guess this is the last we will hear of Kelvin, although I hope not. I know there is some upset over Lucy not having a bigger exit but I don't know if she needed one, she's coming back. Santer spent too much time pushing Melissa Suffield the actress, not Lucy the character, and Lucy as a character suffered. I don't envy the actress who replaces her because a lot of people are already saying no one will compare to Melissa.

I'm glad they haven't forgotten what Denise is going through. Jordan is annoying but that doesn't mean the story needs to end.

Nice to see that Tamwar was written as less of a bizarre plot device today. Great to see more of the Masoods; there still seem to be some tensions between Masood and Zainab, sadly. The writer of this episode finally found the perfect outlet for Marc Elliot's theatrical acting style by giving him that monologue to Shabnam. The scene where he watched the family video and for a second thought Zainab missed him or was going to mention him...good stuff.

Can't wait until Becca is gone, she is such a desperate control freak. I'm happy the spoilers misled me and the fallout between Max and Stacey was based on a misunderstanding, not on Max distancing himself from Stacey. Their talk in the kitchen was moving and showed yet again what chemistry Lacey and Jake have. Max's scene with Abi and Vanessa was also good. Jo Joyner's maternity leave and Charlie Clement's departure have been the best things that ever happened to Max as a character. I still don't quite understand why they no longer mention Bradley's love for Doctor Who or other sci fi stuff like BSG, and now only mention Star Trek.

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Here's an article I found that was first posted a decade ago this month. It's about the introduction of the Slater family in September 2000.

It also confirms that it was John Yorke who thankfully got rid of the di Marco's (with the exception of Beppe).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/903679.stm

I will always love and have a special fondness for the Slater's. EastEnders, or soaps in general, have not introduced a family that fit in so seamlessly and successfully from the beginning since. I really can't believe it has been 10 years since their introduction.

I found it interesting that John Yorke and Tony Jordan picked the best actors from an improvisation session for 30 actors and actresses to be apart of the family. For most of those in the family, this was their first real acting job.

Also, the Slater's doing the karaoke to the Nolan's I'm In The Mood for Dancing was apart of the improvisation session, and later famously incorporated into the show.

I didn't know Kat was originally created as a rival for that twit Mel. I don't remember any real big Kat/Mel moments to be honest, though I do remember them interacting.

John Yorke and especially Tony Jordan poured so much love, care, and dedication into this family and into making them work as both a unit and individual characters, and I think it really showed on-screen. They really helped give the show a new lease on life and an added popularity in the early 00's.

I've been looking up the end credits of a lot of Kat's major episodes, and it's not surprising that it was Tony Jordan who wrote most of her big episodes from 2000 to 2005. He really loved that character, and that's probably why she became so iconic and such a big presence so fast.

Also, there was such an electricity about the show under John Yorke's reign from 2000 to 2002. The episodes were can't miss, there was so much excitement, heart, community, and complex and iconic characters interacting. Even when a lot of the issues were quite gritty and disturbing, like Trevor/Little Mo, you couldn't help but watch and be entertained. The day to day writing was so superb. I don't think the show, or soaps in general have come close to match this era since. I think this era remains the peak of British soap over the past 10 years.

Now I feel like I've posted way too much on something that I probably shouldn't have. :lol:

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I didn't know that either, about the rivalry for Mel. At that time it did seem like Mel was being shoved at viewers as the show's lead heroine -- no thanks.

I guess you saw the interview with Tony Jordan that was on the Slaters in Detention DVD?

I am not as fond of that era as you, mostly because I don't like seeing so much Phil, but I agree it was certainly a very strong period of time for the show. The show had a lot of polish without losing its core identity. It's a shame Anita Dobson refused at the last minute to return to the show -- I think that Yorke and Tony Jordan could have done a lot with her.

That's interesting about the casting for the Slaters. It worked, as they were very believable as a family from the start. The only one who for me has sometimes never been entirely believable is Big Mo.

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I didn't know that either, about the rivalry for Mel. At that time it did seem like Mel was being shoved at viewers as the show's lead heroine -- no thanks.

It's funny how they seemed to get tired of Mel after a while, and by the end of 2001, Kat had become such a popular character in her own right that whatever rivalry with Mel they might have had in mind wasn't written for.

I think Mel was clearly a case, like Kara Tointon, where her looks kept her on the show for longer than she should have been.

I guess you saw the interview with Tony Jordan that was on the Slaters in Detention DVD?

Yes. I really do wonder how Kat and Alfie will be as characters without Tony Jordan there. He was really a big part in their development, especially Kat's development, so I wonder how they'll turn out without his influence on the show.

According to Jessie Wallace in 2009, this is what Tony Jordan told her what would have happened to Kat had she not left. I don't know if she was halfway joking though:

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/news/a161496/soaps-greatest-lineup-revealed.html

Jessie Wallace commented: "Considering I left EastEnders over three years ago it's great that Kat is still in people’s memories. Kat was such a fantastic character to play… Tony Jordan [former chief script writer] told me if Kat had stayed in Walford, she would have been a completely different character. After all she'd been through, she'd take off her face and just be a plain Jane. That would have been depressing, wouldn't it?"

I am not as fond of that era as you, mostly because I don't like seeing so much Phil, but I agree it was certainly a very strong period of time for the show. The show had a lot of polish without losing its core identity. It's a shame Anita Dobson refused at the last minute to return to the show -- I think that Yorke and Tony Jordan could have done a lot with her.

That's interesting about the casting for the Slaters. It worked, as they were very believable as a family from the start. The only one who for me has sometimes never been entirely believable is Big Mo.

You know, I wonder how Den's return would have turned out if it happened under John Yorke and not the massively flawed and just boring Louise Berridge era. Maybe he wouldn't have brought Den back at all and fight hard against it, since it was apparently Mal Young's big idea, and Berridge happened to agree. I think the brass at the BBC now wish Den had never returned, and given the way that story played out over the long haul, I can't say I disagree. The best thing about Den's return was Chrissie and his death, IMO.

John Yorke did such a fantastic job with Sharon's return in 2001, the most successful return the show has ever had IMO. None of the returns in recent years compare.

The show lost something almost immediately after John Yoke stepped down, and I don't know if it's ever really gotten it back. My PBS affiliate is currently airing stuff from 2003, Berridge's first full year. The differences between her and Yorke's show is just astounding. The show just lacks the heart, creativity, and continuity that Yorke's era had.

But still to this day, the show hasn't introduced a family as successful from the beginning since the Slater's, or any soap really. I really wonder when they're creating new families why they don't look at the template that worked so well a decade ago. The Masood's are a success, I guess, but they don't have the same impact the Slater's did.

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I think in some ways they are victims of their own success, in that the Slaters were so huge for a few years there and since then they tried to bring in other families with a similar splash, and it didn't really work (like the Millers), or there's a backlash against loud women, as Eastenders has become known for that. There was also no real sense of family on the show over the past few years -- if the Slaters had been introduced later you probably would have rarely seen them interacting. It took over two years for the most recent version of the Brannings to be believable as a family. It's like the McQueens on Hollyoaks, they had so many family scenes that first year and then afterwards less and less, and there was little heart. I think the heart really went out when Kate Harwood was there, I was watching Little Mo's exit back when the clip was on Youtube, and while I don't think anyone would argue that her best years as a character were gone, it was just so dispiriting to see a woman who had been at the center of some of the show's most emotional storylines ever, yet she left in a very very cold manner, not wanting to have any real goodbyes, not wanting to hug Billy, nothing.

I can't remember if Yorke was at the BBC when they brought Den back but something tells me he wouldn't have done it. The thing is there was so much potential in Den's return. So even with the 2004 mess and the webcam scandal I would say his return was worth it, probably moreso than a lot of returns in the last decade. But they could have done so much more. Even if they couldn't bring Angie back they could have had more with people like Pat at least. They didn't even show most of the characters reacting to his return from the dead, did they?

Berridge's era does seem dull, I think if there was any bright spot to her time with the show it's that I could see she did think fondly of certain characters and she did try to move them on to places they should have gone. I think she did a lot to help the Janine character, I think she did a lot to give Sharon a new dimension (I know Yorke had moved her on from Phil, which was needed, but I hated Tom and the whole "he's a bully what fun" stuff). I thought that, if you take out that annoying as hell nanny, she gave Phil perhaps his best love interest in Kate and some good material. And while I think she ultimately left Pat stranded, I can understand where she was going with Pat and I do think Pat and Roy were over as a couple -- she just didn't seem to realize that she needed to build Pat's connections up more before she killed Roy off.

For me Eastenders is more about the characters than the stories, and about a certain atmosphere. I do think Yorke got that atmosphere. I think Berridge, with proper help, could have known, because I think her ideas on where the show had strayed from (lack of minorities, lack of a rough edge, the Watts) were right. She just didn't execute anything that well and she made some stupid choices. Santer is probably the one I felt, aside from Kate Harwood, got Eastenders the least, but then, his era was a big success so who am I to say that?

I think they would have had to tone Kat down if she'd stayed, and they were clearly going towards that (one of her last scenes had her scrubbing her face off in the Vic bathroom). But the end was clear for that character. There was nothing left for her if she had stayed. I can't think of what she would have done. I have this awful vision of them pairing her with Kevin Wicks.

Mel -- she came on at a time when the show had lost a lot of female characters so she kind of lucked out. I remember when they moved her up by having her dump Ian for his lies. I just thought she was princessy ice queen. If Tamzin hadn't become so popular outside of EE I wonder if she might still be there.

The next year is crucial for Eastenders because it's going to be a real building block. I think Kirkwood did a good job with families in his first year or two at Hollyoaks. I hope he can do the same at EE.

Edited by CarlD2
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Kate Harwood was there, I was watching Little Mo's exit back when the clip was on Youtube, and while I don't think anyone would argue that her best years as a character were gone, it was just so dispiriting to see a woman who had been at the center of some of the show's most emotional storylines ever, yet she left in a very very cold manner, not wanting to have any real goodbyes, not wanting to hug Billy, nothing.

Harwood also gave that crappy exit to Sharon that I posted a few days ago, in addition to killing Kathy off-screen (WTF!). Her time on the show wasn't long, but it was so damaging. To his credit, I did think Santer tried to make things more cohesive again in his first year, but I don't know if things worked out as well as he hoped.

I can't remember if Yorke was at the BBC when they brought Den back but something tells me he wouldn't have done it. The thing is there was so much potential in Den's return. So even with the 2004 mess and the webcam scandal I would say his return was worth it, probably moreso than a lot of returns in the last decade. But they could have done so much more. Even if they couldn't bring Angie back they could have had more with people like Pat at least. They didn't even show most of the characters reacting to his return from the dead, did they?

Yeah, I don't remember too many strong initial reactions to his return. I don't think they exactly knew what they were doing when they brought him back, or something just got lost in the execution. In the long run, I think his return and the way it was handled might have hurt the Watts legacy on the show, which is why I now think it was pretty unnecessary and useless.

Berridge's era does seem dull, I think if there was any bright spot to her time with the show it's that I could see she did think fondly of certain characters and she did try to move them on to places they should have gone. I think she did a lot to help the Janine character.

I think she was just picking up where Yorke left off with Janine, but she did seem to get that character very well, and much better than Santer did.

I think she did a lot to give Sharon a new dimension (I know Yorke had moved her on from Phil, which was needed, but I hated Tom and the whole "he's a bully what fun" stuff). I thought that, if you take out that annoying as hell nanny, she gave Phil perhaps his best love interest in Kate and some good material. And while I think she ultimately left Pat stranded, I can understand where she was going with Pat and I do think Pat and Roy were over as a couple -- she just didn't seem to realize that she needed to build Pat's connections up more before she killed Roy off.

I think if Sharon ever returns, they'll go right back to pairing her with Phil. There really is no other potential love interests left for her since Dennis' death. Letitia might have left at the right time, because I don't know if Harwood would have seen her as anything other than an afterthought in the mob drama.

For me Eastenders is more about the characters than the stories, and about a certain atmosphere. I do think Yorke got that atmosphere. I think Berridge, with proper help, could have known, because I think her ideas on where the show had strayed from (lack of minorities, lack of a rough edge, the Watts) were right. She just didn't execute anything that well and she made some stupid choices. Santer is probably the one I felt, aside from Kate Harwood, got Eastenders the least, but then, his era was a big success so who am I to say that?

I think Berridge's stupid mistakes were so huge and numerous that it often took away from what good she might have contributed.

Berridge also seemed to really force and push her favourite characters on the show. It seemed like Kat, Alfie, Dennis, Den, and Sharon were forced into every episode during her tenure, even when they weren't really needed there.

I think they would have had to tone Kat down if she'd stayed, and they were clearly going towards that (one of her last scenes had her scrubbing her face off in the Vic bathroom). But the end was clear for that character. There was nothing left for her if she had stayed. I can't think of what she would have done. I have this awful vision of them pairing her with Kevin Wicks.

I think Kat would have definitely had to have been watered down if Jessie hadn't left. Would you agree that she is definitively the most iconic character EastEnders created in the 00's? I don't think anyone else comes close, maybe Stacey, but every show seemed to want a Kat Slater of their own in the 00's. Kirkwood should know, both Jacqui and Mercedes McQueen seem like softcore rip-offs of Kat's many facets.

Kat seems like the type of character Kirkwood would love, so I'm hoping he'll get her return right.

I really do think they were setting Stacey up as Kat's successor when Kat left. There was a scene the day after Kat left where Big Mo was sad that Kat was gone and that the house would be quiet, and Sharon and Dennis were holding a boxing day party. Anyway, Stacey decides to bake a turkey, and there's so much mess around her, Little Mo insinuates that it reminds her of Kat. However, unlike Kat, I think Santer especially stripped Stacey of her fun side.

<object width="480" height="360"><param name="movie" value="http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/video/xcr5hb?additionalInfos=0"></param><param'>http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/video/xcr5hb?additionalInfos=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/video/xcr5hb?additionalInfos=0" width="480" height="360" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed></object><br /><b><a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcr5hb_eastenders-stacey-tries-to-cook-a-t_shortfilms">EastEnders - Stacey tries to cook a turkey</a></b><br /><i>Uploaded by <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/Ryanlcfc2">Ryanlcfc2</a>. - <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/us/channel/shortfilms">Classic TV and last night's shows, online.</a></i>

Mel -- she came on at a time when the show had lost a lot of female characters so she kind of lucked out. I remember when they moved her up by having her dump Ian for his lies. I just thought she was princessy ice queen. If Tamzin hadn't become so popular outside of EE I wonder if she might still be there.

I thought they just naturally grew tired of her and thought it was the right time to get rid of her when they killed off Steve, who I never really cared for either.

The next year is crucial for Eastenders because it's going to be a real building block. I think Kirkwood did a good job with families in his first year or two at Hollyoaks. I hope he can do the same at EE.

Yeah, the show is still in transition and it won't really be out of it until early 2011. I wonder what type of new family he'll want to bring in. I wonder if the show will ever attempt an Oriental family? A British-Chinese family perhaps?

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I liked Steve but not so much when they had him in the feud with Phil (which he was going to lose of course) and the relationship with Mel. I thought he was best with Matthew Rose.

I agree that they planned to take Stacey as the new Kat. While that might not have been the best idea ever it could have been more fun and balanced than all the misery piled on Stacey. She has just been buried in it for years.

I love the Jacqui character on HO when they get her right, and part of that is the resemblance to Kat. Mercedes also has that resemblance but Mercedes has no heart. Jacqui does. So does Kat.

In the long run, I think his return and the way it was handled might have hurt the Watts legacy on the show, which is why I now think it was pretty unnecessary and useless.

I think the Watts legacy as it was had already been all but forgotten anyway. Sharon was there but as much as a Mitchell than a Watts. He hurt it but also helped bring it back. I think the biggest mistake was the casting and writing for Vicky.

Yeah, the show is still in transition and it won't really be out of it until early 2011. I wonder what type of new family he'll want to bring in. I wonder if the show will ever attempt an Oriental family? A British-Chinese family perhaps?

That would be interesting. The last soap which did that was Brookside, 20 years ago.

John Yorke was at channel 4 when Den was brought back. Mal Young was still in charge at the BBC.

What was Yorke involved in at Channel 4?

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John Yorke was head of drama at Channel 4. He commissioned Shameless, The Deal, Sex Traffic, Not Only But Always and Omagh.

Edited by dannigold
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