DVD Release For Market In Honey Lane

1960s ATV soap opera Market in Honey Lane is set to be released on DVD later this year.

Louis Marks who also penned episodes of Doctor Who, Danger Man, Doomwatch, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Special Branch created Market in Honey Lane.

The soap was devised for ATV and aired between September 1967 and March 1969: originally as a weekly series before being re-formatted into a twice-weekly afternoon soap with its name shortened to Honey Lane. The saga sat alongside ATV’s other popular soaps of the time; Crossroads and Emergency Ward 10 but never achieved the same rating highs.

The series revolved around the traders in a street market in the East End of London. Honey Lane was produced at ATV’s studios in Elstree, which is perhaps ironic considering the very same area, would later become the set of EastEnders, BBC One’s flagship soap. In many ways, Honey Lane is a forerunner of EastEnders with working-class families in London at the forefront of the storylines and a market central to the plots of the show. Perhaps Honey Lane’s failure to really take off with viewers is because it was twenty years too early!

The cast of Honey Lane included John Bennett, Michael Golden, Basil Henson, Ray Lonnen and reportedly future EastEnders actress Anna Wing who recently passed away. The Network DVD release of the soap contains 13 episodes of the first series – the only episodes currently known to exist.

Although nearly 100 episodes were produced most of them are now missing from the archives; the soap sharing a similar fate to many other productions of the time which had episodes wiped.

An episode of Market in Honey Lane was part of Network DVD’s Soap Box release that also included episodes of General Hospital, Revelations, London Bridge and The Cedar Tree all of which have had subsequent releases of their own. The boxset also contained episodes from Crossroads, Emmerdale Farm, Gems, Families, Weavers Green and Marked Personal.

Market in Honey Lane is scheduled for release on 4th November 2013 by Network DVD.

Honey Lane and Market In Honey Lane were made at ATV Elstree in Borehamwood – now BBC Elstree and the home of EastEnders. The same backlot was used to create both outdoor worlds for Honey Lane market street and Albert Square. Let’s take a look at both:

Then and Now:

Same backlot four decades apart: Honey Lane Market with its three story buildings which included the Forum Theatre, flats and garage while Walford’s Bridge Street has its newsagents, laundrette and railway bridge.
The Duchess of Verona stands in a spot at Elstree not far from where the Queen Victoria currently resides.
Honey Lane also had a bookies, supermarket and saucy sex shop and stripper club, which Dot Branning wouldn’t approve of… EastEnders has its laundrette which is the only place you’ll find anything dirty in Albert Square. Both at one time had a gents hair dressers too.
Honey Lane Café and Bridge Street Café, both home to good food and plenty of arguments.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One.

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