EastEnders 35th anniversary to see boat party disaster

The action is moving to the River Thames as the BBC One soap turns 35.

The River Thames has featured in EastEnders opening titles since 1985

In tonight’s episode (14th January), viewers saw the Carter clan cheered by the news that they had won first prize in a ‘Best Pub’ competition – a party on the Thames for them and their regulars. It’s believed that the event will take place next month for the soap’s coral anniversary with one character losing their life when it all goes wrong.

“As we journey out of Walford to the banks of the Thames, the week’s episodes will be set over 24 hours, with each episode telling the day’s events from a different perspective. As the party sets sail, tensions escalate for one family, causing an incident onboard and leading to disastrous consequences,” a source told Metro.co.uk

Mick (Danny Dyer) and Linda (Kellie Bright), whose marriage has been under strain of late due to Linda’s boozing, are set to be faced with some of the toughest decisions they will ever have to make. It’s also a dramatic time for the Mitchell family as Sharon’s (Letitia Dean) due date edges ever closer with the Metro teasing that ‘past actions will come back to haunt them all’.

Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) arrives on board fresh from dealing with more challenges relating to his youngest son Bobby (Clay Milner-Russell), while his eldest son Peter is also about to show his face. But what has lured Peter – now played by Dayle Hudson – back to London?

“It’s thought that as part of the dramatic scenes Sharon will give birth on the boat, but she is just one of many who could see themselves go overboard to an icy, watery death.” – The Sun

Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty), the Truemans and the Fowlers will also be taking centre stage with storylines set in the more familiar surroundings of Albert Square. The Metro, however, note that reports about who is and who isn’t present on the boat may not be entirely accurate.

“For the 35th anniversary, we wanted to entertain the EastEnders audience on the iconic river which has heralded the start of the show for 35 years. This unmissable week of episodes is destined to be exciting, gripping and heart-breaking – it will be a week that will go down in EastEnders history.” – Jon Sen, Executive Producer

EastEnders has been a staple part of the BBC One schedule since it was launched at 7pm on February 19th 1985. It seems fitting that the 35th anniversary will feature the Thames as the iconic waterway is seen at the start of every episode in the titles.

The sequence sees a birds eye view of London starting in the river Thames and moving ever upwards and more and more of the capital is shown. Originally a black and blue map; as CGI has improved over the years the map has become more of a life-like view with moving boats on the river and floating clouds added.

Up until 2009 the EastEnders logo also used to rise upwards – like water. Very clever, although too clever for bosses at the time who changed the effect to a non-watery fade in from the middle.

EastEnders Titles Timeline

February 19th 1985 and the first episode of EastEnders airs with its produced on film opening sequence. A blue and black ‘photocopied’ style map of the East End of London spins round out of the River Thames to the theme tune composed by Simon May. The film sequence would later be re-recorded on videotape before finally being dropped in 1993.

Whilst EastEnders continued its brand of gritty, hard-hitting storytelling, the titles went in a more ‘up market’ direction in 1993 – a teal river with cityscape represented by shades of cream and green. There was also a sax-ed up theme tune, which might have been inspired by the ill-fated Eldorado.

In 1994, the EastEnders titles were updated again, retaining the visuals from the previous look but with a new theme tune plonked on top. More in style of the 1985 version this saw – due to the titles being slightly longer – the ‘duff duffs’ from the end of the show also added to the opening sequence.

In 1999 EastEnders went widescreen and the map was updated to fill the screen. Slight tweaks saw the shades of green become darker, and the cream replaced with also darker tones – including black. The Millennium Dome was also introduced to the map.

Introduced in 2009 with another Simon May reworked version of the theme tune this time the EastEnders map was updated in preparation for HD broadcasts of the soap from the following year. This sequence is the most real to life and reflects a satellite view of London with extra effects including moving vessels on the Thames and clouds. These titles were tweaked in 2012 to include the Olympic Village on the map.

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