EastEnders are to, in a storyline which will seem similar to viewers of a certain age, burn down the Queen Vic pub leaving fans wondering whether Landlady Peggy Mitchell will get out in time.
The BBC soap is trying to recreate, it seems, the hype and speculation which surrounded the great Crossroads Motel fire of 1981 – which left 16 million viewers wondering whether soap queen Noele Gordon’s character of Meg would survive the inferno. New Enders producer Bryan Kirkwood has previously said in interviews he was a fan of the ATV Network soap, and watched it with his gran back in the 80s.
Earlier this month gossips at Elstree suggested Peggy was to die, although it has been known for a few misleading stories to circulate in order to keep viewers guessing. The previous information released suggested Peggy Mitchell – played by Barbara Windsor, famed for her wigs, boobs and giggle – and sometimes acting – would die in the pub after returning there after suffering a head injury in a car crash.
The latest inferno storyline would be the first major fire for the EastEnders landmark since 1992 when Grant Mitchell burned down the bar for financial reasons [pictured top left]. This time however bosses are having to re-create the public house frontage due to the fact it looks so fake currently, and will look even more pathetic when EastEnders upgrades to HD filming.
The pub – currently painted whore red – has been in previous incarnations brown and cream (the original colours), black, gold, green and yellow, (all at the same time) and for a special programme set in the 1940s a dark green. In recent years the joins of the exterior set have become more noticeable, leaving the supposed brick, stone and plaster structure looking like plywood.
An insider at Elstree said that no one other than the producer knows for sure if Peggy will die in the blaze, but the inferno will be rather spectacular they said.
In Crossroads Meg Richardson, it was discovered in a flashback later, had left the Crossroads Motel some minutes before the inferno took hold. She later re-appeared on the QE2, having decided to retire.
In 1986 Coronation Street staged one of its most spectacular stunts of its first 25 years when Granada burned down the Rovers Return. Viewers were left wondering if Landlady Bet Lynch would make it out alive. Bet did, but unfortunately her wig didn’t.
Maybe in EastEnders all we’ll see come out of the Queen Vic is Peggy’s singed nylon buffant…
Coronation Street recently staged another major fire, this time burning down the Weatherfield knicker factory. Baddie Tony Gordon perished in the flames, although some viewers complained the inferno wasn’t realistic due to other buildings nearby being unscathed by the explosion.