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30 YEARS OF EASTENDERS: EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT IT

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It’s impossible to have failed to notice that EastEnders is about to turn thirty. It’s unbelievable! I remember being a kid and watching the trailers for a new BBC series that was about to hit our screens in which a host of characters introduced themselves and their families. At the time I was too young to understand what was happening, but looking back it’s very obvious that hopes were high that this soap was going to be something huge – and it was! Thirty years on, EastEnders is still going strong but it’s so surreal to think that there are people under thirty who will never have known a time when EastEnders wasn’t on the box.

When the Cockney soap, which is set in the fictitious London borough of Walford, was first screened, it was only shown twice a week: on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30. As the show gained in popularity, I began to look forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays which became known as EastEnders days, and felt quite bored on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – which became known as Wogan days – because there wasn’t anything worth watching. Unless Terry Wogan had some interesting guests on!

In the early days, EastEnders centred primarily around three families: the Beales, the Fowlers, and the Watts. It was only when the character of Dot Cotton was introduced several months later, did the Cotton family become another well-known family in the Square – although many would say that it was for all the wrong reasons!

Over the years, EastEnders went through periods where it was gripping, unmissable stuff to times where I’d rather have a nap than tune in to what was happing in Walford. In fact from early 2011, I pretty much stopped watching the soap – something I never thought would happen. It was a combination of ridiculous storylines, dull characters, and awful actors that just made me want to switch off. And I know that I wasn’t the only one who felt that EastEnders had lost the plot. But I have to say that in recent months, the show’s gotten to be very interesting again, and it takes me back to the days when EastEnders was nothing less than brilliant. But whether I tuned in regularly or not, one thing was for sure – that missing the Christmas Day episode of EastEnders was not an option! It has been a family tradition for so long, and it doesn’t matter what we’d be doing but everything stopped as soon as we heard the familiar opening bars of the EastEnders theme tune. My Aunt and Uncle have been having huge Christmas bashes at their house for years but as soon as it was time for EastEnders, everyone would huddle in their front room; it was an episode not to be missed.

The dominant storyline right now in EastEnders is the murder of Lucy Beale whose killer is going to be unmasked during the week of live episodes – and we cannot wait. It’s absolutely exciting stuff and I’m so glad that EastEnders is back on form. So to celebrate this momentous occasion there’s going to be a host of EastEnders-inspired blog posts honouring this legendary soap and having us skipping down memory lane. In this post, we’ll look at thirty factors that make EastEnders what it is…

1. THE QUEEN VIC

The Queen Victoria public house is the hub of Walford and was named after er, Queen Victoria. It’s where the locals meet and have a night out. And if any of the residents are having a wedding, funeral wake or christening, you can be sure that they’ll hold their event at The Vic. And let’s not forget it’s also been the venue for many a showdown, bust-up and shocking revelation!

When EastEnders first began, The Queen Vic was home to the Watts family. Since then it’s been owned by the Mitchells, the Butchers, and run by Kat and Alfie. Nowadays it’s very much the domain of the Carters.

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2. THE LAUNDERETTE

It appears that no one in Walford actually owns a washing machine, so they’re always popping into the laundrette with bags of laundry, keeping Dot busy with service washes. It’s also quite bizarrely something of a meeting point and quite a few argy-bargies have taken place there. A bit like the Vic but without the drinks!

Dot has always worked in the laundrette and she used to work there with Pauline Fowler. However the often-mention Mr.Papadopolous, the laundrette’s owner whose name cannot be pronounced by Dot, rarely appears on screen.

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3. THE CAFE

It was first owned by Sue and Ali Osman, a couple who made Den and Angie look like Terry and June. It was later taken over by Kathy Beale who thought that Walford needed something a little upmarket and transformed the day-time café into a late-night bistro. But I don’t think the locals were fooled – it was still the café! Today it’s owned by Walford’s answer to Alan Sugar, Ian Beale. It’s the place where everyone meets, especially when they have private matters to discuss, because let’s face it, there’s not much chance of anyone overhearing your conversation in the café!

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4. THE FRUIT AND VEG STALL

It may just be a humble fruit and veg stall but it’s been a part of EastEnders from the very beginning and you just can’t imagine Walford without it. The fruit and veg stall has been in the Beale family for years. Viewers first saw it run by Pete Beale with help from his then wife Kathy and son Ian. After his death, the stall was run by Pete’s nephew Mark Fowler for years, and it’s currently Pete’s grandson Peter who now works the stall. Although most of us tend to visit the supermarkets for our five a day, the Walford locals won’t think of going anywhere else for fresh fruit and veggies.

Who’d have thought the stall could be a nice little earner?

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5. THE MARKET

I remember when Angie Watts used to head ‘up west’ on many of her numerous shopping expeditions despite having a market on her doorstep. These days, the market seems to be the only place the locals will shop. They buy just about everything there including outfits for a night out. And many of the Square’s residents have been market traders at one time or another including Sanjay and Gita Kapoor, Bianca Jackson, Stacey Branning, Zoe Slater, Kat Moon and Ronnie Mitchell’s long-lost daughter Dannielle.

And who could forget slimy market inspector Richard ‘Tricky Dicky’ Cole? A corrupt lothario, Richard was more concerned with trying to get into the pants of the female population of Walford than the stall holders selling them! And when he wasn’t on the look-out for new conquests, he wasn’t averse to taking a few backhanders from stall-holders. Of the monetary variety of course but there were a few times he got himself a well-deserved slap!

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6. THE CAR LOT

Even though it’s now owned by Max Branning and was previously run by David Wicks and Roy Evans, whenever I think of the car lot, I still think of Frank Butche as he’s the one who opened the car lot in the square. It may just seem like an ordinary car lot but if the walls of the portacabin could talk, it would have more than a few stories to tell: romantic trysts, dodgy deals, vicious attacks… it all took place here. And that’s before we even get to Frank torching the place as part of an insurance scam in which a homeless man was killed.

I still remember the episode where a few of the Square’s residents went to Spain and David Wicks picked up Sam Mitchell in a bar not realising who she was. She then told him about the car lot her father-in-law used to own.

“But it’s not like the car showrooms you have,” Sam said, “it’s just a tatty little  car lot.”

“Yeah, I think  know what you mean,” David smirked.

Indeed you did, David. Indeed you did!

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7. THE ARCHES

The Arches – a garage – was what brought the Mitchell brothers, Grant and Phil, to Walford, and it was always considered Mitchell territory. Well at least until recently when Max Branning conned Ben Mitchell into signing it over to him. Like many of the establishments on the Square, The Arches have witnessed it’s fair share of drama including Ricky Butcher and Natalie Price conducting their affair behind Bianca’s back; Ben Mitchell undergoing a personality transplant and attacking his friend Jordan, and that fight between Phil and Grant after Grant discovered what Phil had been getting up to with Sharon for months. mechanics who have worked there included, Phil, Grant, Ricky, Gary, Minty, Jase and Ben.

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8. ALBERT SQUARE

I don’t know why but for a long time, I thought that ‘Albert Square’ referred to the little bit of enclosed greenery where the residents often sit and mope. But it isn’t – that is actually the Square’s gardens. Albert Square refers to the row of terraced houses where most of the residents live and it is named after Prince Albert. The Beale family live at number 45, which used to be home to the Fowler’s when the show first started. The Masoods live at number 41; Phil and Sharon are at number 55; Patrick Trueman resides at numbers 19-20 with Kim and Denise, while Ronnie and Roxy live at number 27. And of course The Queen Victoria is the focal point of the Square.

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9. THE GARDENS

The gardens are central to the Square and it houses Arthur Fowler’s bench which was placed there in his memory. There is hardly an episode that goes by when someone isn’t sat on that bench – known by viewers as the Bench Of Tears –  crying, brooding, sulking, moaning or threatening another resident. Though as they all have houses on the Square it’s not quite understood why they can’t do all the above from the comfort of their own home and not publicly out in the Square!

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10. THE MORE-THAN-EXTRA EXTRAS

The Queen Vic’s resident barmaid Tracy has been in EastEnders for years. The pub is always changing hands but it doesn’t matter who the new owners are – Tracy stays! Then there’s Winston who runs one of the stalls in the market who’s been in EastEnders since 1986 – who my family absolutely loved and cheered when he made an appearance.

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But get this Tracy and Winston aren’t members of the main cast but humble extras. They’re often seen whenever there is an important event in EastEnders and every now and again, they may get the odd bit of short dialogue. Tracy did have a (speaking) part in a storyline that was fairly major (for her) when she was attacked by Sam Mitchell as Sam dug up the body of Den Watts on Dennis and Sharon Rickman’s wedding day. That’s the closest she’s ever got to having a role in a major storyline and there are often calls from the public to give both Tracy and Winston more prominent roles – and I agree.

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And we can’t forget Big Ron played by actor Ron Tarr. Big Ron appeared in EastEnders since 1985 but was never given a main role. I remember that in the 1990s, a TV mag even had a campaign for Big Ron to get a bigger slice of the action but it never happened as Ron Tarr passed away in 1997 after battling cancer.

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11. THE FOWLER HOUSE

Just like The Queen Vic, 45 Albert Square stands the test of time – and is probably the only house where people tend to enter via the back door rather than the front! Now owned by Ian Beale, at the start of the show it was still very much the residence of Ian’s grandmother Lou Beale who lived there with her daughter Pauline and her family. Back then the house seemed very small, cramped, and extremely dated, but nonetheless it had a certain charm to it. Of course when Ian bought the house, he set about making changes, turning it into the more roomy, modern pad that it is today.

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12. THAT THEME TUNE

Composed by Simon May and Leslie Osbourne, the Eastenders theme tune is easily one of the most recognizable theme tunes around. Producers had requested May to come up with something melodic which would “bring people in from the kitchen or garden” – and that’s exactly what they got. The theme tune is so iconic that people know the show is starting when they hear it without having to look up. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t whistle or hum that tune every now and again.

In 1986 the theme was turned into a song called Anyone Can Fall In Love sung by Anita Dobson who played Angie Watts,which reached number 4 in the charts.

The EastEnders theme tune has undergone a few tweaks and changes over the years although it has generally been kept as close to the original as possible. During the mid-nineties, the theme tune underwent a major revamp which didn’t go down too well with viewers, so it went back to the original tune.

13. ‘DOOF DOOF’ SCENES

Every EastEnders fan is familiar with the ‘doof doof’ scene. It’s that famous drum beat that can be heard at the end of the last scene which signals that the episode has finished and that that famous theme tune is about to begin. This type of scene is now synonymous with EastEnders.

It wasn’t until the late nineties that I realised that this type of scene actually had a name. It was Tamzin Outhwaite, who played Melanie Owen, who said in an interview that cast members naturally wanted to be in the ‘doof doof’ scene, especially if it featured a cliff-hanger. The scene got its name from the sound of the drum beats that sounded like ‘doof doof.’

I was impressed that the scene actually had a name!

14. THE OPENING CREDITS

The opening title sequence of Eastenders is as well-known as its theme tune. It’s been revamped a few times but it’s essentially a map of the East End of London. It starts by zooming in on the River Thames before panning out to give an ariel view of London. Easily one of the most iconic opening sequences.

15. CHRISTMAS EPISODES

There were always two things we had to do on Christmas day without fail. The first was go to mass, and the second was to watch the Christmas day episode or episodes of EastEnders. This was something we always looked forward to, and it didn’t matter whose house we were celebrating Christmas in, as soon as we heard that familiar theme tune we dropped whatever it was we were doing and gathered in front of the telly. Not only was it a family tradition, but we also knew that the Christmas day episode was one that was guaranteed to have us on the edge of our seat. Yes, the public often complained that the episodes were often depressing and full of misery and often featured someone dying, but most of us found them to be full of drama and either featured a whopper of a cliff-hanger or resolved one.

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16. WHODUNITS

Anyone would think that Ms. Marple resided in Albert Square with the number of murders, attempted murders and other crimes that take place. The very first episode of EastEnders opened up with the murder of Reg Cox and these whodunits have been keeping us enthralled for years. There was the shooting of Phil Mitchell (the first time) the murders of Dennis Rickman, Eddie Royal, Archie Mitchell and we’re currently gripped by the mystery of who was responsible for the death of Lucy Beale which is going to be revealed very soon.As with the murder of Archie Mitchell, many of the cast members only found out at the same time that the public did in a live episode – and that’s exactly what’s going to happen when the Lucy’s killer is going to be unmasked.

And let’s not forget there are whodunits of a different variety, which have nothing to do with crime,  where pregnancies are involved where viewers are trying to work out who the baby’s father is as in the case of Michelle Fowler’s, Laura Beale’s and Heather Trott’s pregnancies. There was also one occasion when viewers had to work out who a positive pregnancy test belonged to with suspicion falling on the Fox-Wicks women.

It eventually turned out to be Dawn Swann’s.

17. THE NEIGHBOURING STREETS

Although most of the residents live on Albert Square, many of the small businesses are based in neighbouring streets such as Turpin Road, Bridge Street, and George Street. These places are often mentioned by the characters.

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18. JULIA’S THEME

Julia’s Theme is named after the show’s creator, Julia Smith. It is used in place of the regular theme and emphasizes a particularly emotional event such as a character leaving or dying. Each episode normally ends with the ‘doof doof’ drum beats, but with Julia’s Theme, the ‘doof doofs’ are replaced with a slow melody played on piano.  Julia’s Theme has been revamped a number of times, so there are different versions of this tune. Sometimes the beginning of Julia’s Theme is used as the intro to EastEnders‘ main theme tune.

I remember Julia’s Theme being played when Lofty proposed to pregnant Michelle Fowler, after Debbie Bates had been killed in a road accident; as Cindy Beale fled to Italy with her sons and was forced to leave her daughter behind; while Sharon watched Phil and Kathy embrace on their way home from France, and when Jim Branning proposed to Dot.

19. THE TRAILERS

Right now we’re all a bit spooked after watching the trailer promoting the unveiling of Lucy Beale’s killer. But spooked or not it’s a fantastic trailer, and you can’t expect anything less from the show who release great trailers whenever a major, new character is about to descend on the Square, a new storyline is about to hit, or when an old face returns. I especially liked the ‘Everyone’s talking about it’ slogan which accompanied some of the trailers.

Trailers were used when Kat and Alfie returned to the Square, just before Archie Mitchell’s killer was revealed, for Den Watts’s shock return, the Zoe, Dennis, Sharon love triangle which exploded on Christmas Day, the murder of Den Watts, Sharon’s return, and the arrival of the carter family.

20. SUNDAY OMNIBUS

When I was growing up, we all looked forward to the omnibus edition of EastEnders where Tuesday’s and Thursday’s episodes were repeated for those who had missed them. Well I say we all looked forward to them, but I’d say it was probably us kids who looked forward to the omnibus (nicknamed the ‘lonely bus’ by my brother) because we would watch it whether we’d seen the episodes during the week or not! I’ve lost count of the times Mum or Dad would walk into the living room see us all glued to the TV and exclaim, “But you’ve already watched this!” That’s right and now we’re watching it again! The EastEnders omnibus was the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon.

In more recent years, there has been a change in the scheduling of the omnibus but it has now emerged that the BBC are going to scrap the Sunday omnibus from April of this year, as the thirty day catch up on iPlayer means that broadcasting the omnibus is no longer necessary. I agree but it’s sad to lose this classic Sunday afternoon tradition.

21. THE FAMILIES

EastEnders is just about people being miserable; growling at each other; screaming their heads of in the market, or starting fights in The Vic. No EastEnders is all about family and the importance of familial relationships –  or perhaps I should say faah-mily! During the last three decades there have been many prominent families who have made their mark in Albert Square: The Watts; the Fowlers; the Beales; the Mitchells; the Jacksons; the Butchers; the Slaters;  the Wicks; the Brannings; the Moons; the Masoods, and now the Carters.

In each of these households there’s usually a fairly loud-mouthed matriarch who comes across as bossy, domineering, interfering and in danger of suffocating their children. But at the end of the day, to these women, family is everything. Who can forget Pauline Fowler bleating on about the importance of family? Or Peggy’s famous, ‘You’re a Mitchell’ line. I even heard Cora Cross tell Tania that she’s ‘a Cross’ but sorry – it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the Mitchell line!

Of course there were some families who couldn’t quite cut the mustard and were sent packing. When you think of the great families who graced the Square with their presence, who thinks of the Kapoors, the Ferreiras, the Di Marcos or the Flaherty family?

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22. THE PETS

It’s not just the characters who have endeared themselves to the public, but we’ve also grown quite attached to the four-legged, furry creatures that have appeared in the Square. Wellard, Roly, Freida, Ghengis, Terrance, Bella and Betty – we loved them all. And during the eighties, we were asking everyone if they’d ‘seen my Willy?’

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23. FAMOUS FACES

A few famous faces have popped up in Walford either as a cameo or a guest role. There was Robbie Williams using the phone in The Vic; Goldie played a gangster; Susan George appeared as Terry Raymond’s love interest; Bobby Davro played Shirley’s on-off boyfriend, and Madhur Jaffrey appeared as the Ferreira matriarch. Mike Reid, Shane Richie, Phil Daniel, and Samantha Womack are long-established actors or comedians  who had or have long-term roles in the soap. And of course after Barbra Windsor started her role as Peggy Mitchell, no one ever saw her as the girl from the Carry On movies again!

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24. CROOKS AND GANGSTERS

As the East End is Kray’s territory, it goes without saying that there have to be a few major league villians. Phil and Grant Mitchell might have fancies themselves as a couple of tough nuts but compared to the likes of Jack Dalton, Johnny Allen, Andy Hunter, Steve Owen, George Palmer, not to mention Den Watts’s associates, they were pretty much small fry!

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25. TWO-HANDERS

I don’t think I’ve ever seen another soap opera do a two-hander: an episode which has only two characters. The very first one I remember was back in the eighties and it featured Den and Angie Watts. Den announced that he was leaving Angie for his mistress Jan and Angie played her trump card, telling Den that she only had six months to live. Another memorable two-hander was when Michelle Fowler finally told Sharon Watts the truth regarding Vicki Fowler’s paternity. Other two handers have included episodes featuring Den and Sharon, Phil and Grant, Dot and Ethel, Max and Stacey among others.

There have also been three-hander and four-hander episodes too. The episode featuring Phil, Grant and Sharon after Phil and Sharon had slept together for the first is particular memorable, as is the episode featuring Grant and Michelle, and David and Cindy in two different sub-plots where the two couples, er get it on!

The reason for these two/three/four hander episodes was that it sped up the filming process, and while the two actors were filming the two-hander, the rest of the cast could be filming another episode. These special episodes look like mini-plays and are a pleasure to watch as it relies usually on just one storyline and a limited number of actors, and it’s very clever of EastEnders to come up with that.

Incidentally, there has only ever been a single one-hander episode in the show’s entire history which featured Dot Cotton.

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26. GRITTY REALISM

EastEnders isn’t one for shying away from hard-hitting social issues. It’s tackled storylines involving cot death, homophobia, prostitution, rape, mental health issues, HIV, paedophilia, child abuse, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, domestic abuse, alcoholism, racism… the list is endless.

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27. RATINGS WARS WITH CORRIE

There were other soap operas around when I was growing up, but when it came to ratings, it seems that it was firmly between Coronation Street and EastEnders. The Sunday papers would always show who’d hit the top spot in the TV pull-out section and it would alternate 9or so it seemed) between EastEnders or Corrie. The others didn’t even get a look-in!

28. COCKNEY ACCENT – WITHOUT THE RHYMING

You can’t have a soap set in the East End of London and not expect to hear a few Cockney accents. And being a real-life Eastender myself, I’ve always said that Cockney accents are the most endearing in the world – although I’ve never used rhyming slang, and it very rarely features on the show. I hardly ever hear real-life Cockneys use it so it just wouldn’t be realistic.

Of course in recent times, there have been complaints that the EastEnd just isn’t Cockney enough and there are too many different regional accents. But then anyone who’s ever lived in the East End will know that it’s not just Cockneys who live there. There are people from other parts of the country and of course other parts of the world. My complaint is that I don’t hear Cockney accents enough where I live and I’m sure that the show is reflecting the diversity of the area.

29. THE CHIPPY

You can’t have an East End district without a fish and chip shop so thank goodness for Beale’s Plaice – although when Ian first purchased the shop, no way was it to be called a chippy. Ian was aiming for the rather more upmarket sounding ‘fish restaurant’!

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30. THE AWARDS

To say that EastEnders is an award-winning soap is something of a understatement. So far it has won around 316 awards (roughly ten a year) and just like in the ratings wars, it often goes head-to-head with Corrie for the Best Soap category.

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Posted by on February 12, 2015 in TV Shows

 

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Legendary Soap Couples

The sad passing of Anne Kirkbride means that we will never see Ken and Deirdre Barlow grace our screens when we settle in front of the box to watch Coronation Street. Ever since their wedding in 1980, they have kept us entertained with on-screen antics. Affairs, break-ups, divorce, remarriage, endless rows, passionate reunions, long-lost children, Deirdre’s scrapes with the law, Tracey’s shenanigans… this couple have been through it all. And through it all, there wasn’t a couple we wanted to see together more than Ken and Deirdre. We may sadly never see them again but they’ve gone down in television history as a legendary soap couple.

 

 

I got thinking about other soap couples, those who were a perfect match in every way. Though perfect match or not, they didn’t always get their happy ending but then that’s the way it often is in soap land. So I’ve come up with my list of ten soap couples who I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching; who captured the nation’s hearts, and who most definitely belonged together.

1. SCOTT AND CHARLENE ROBINSON

 

They may be the youngest couple on this list but they’re right up there when it comes to soap legends. Scott and Charlene were just one of the reasons why Neighbours back in the 1980s was so popular. Who could forget that phenomenal wedding that’s still being talked about more than twenty five years later? They may have been on-off-on again-off again even after they were married but there’s no denying that Scott and Charlene belonged together. It was a sad day in Erinsborough and for Neighbours fans when Scott and Charlene left for a new life in Brisbane. And even though many couples may have met and fell in love on Ramsay Street, there was never anyone quite like Scott and Charlene.

2. DEN AND ANGIE WATTS

 

The Cockney version of JR and Sue Ellen Ewing may have been a relatively short-lived couple and not together as long as Ken and Deirdre but Den and Angie are legends with a capital L. When people talk about the good ol’ days of Eastenders, they usually mean the Den and Angie years.

True, Angie loved Den more than he loved her. And it was Den who turned her to drink with his dodgy deals and numerous affairs. Goodness knows what Angie would have done if she’d found out about Den’s love children. Despite all the ups and downs (mostly downs) there was never a dull moment with Den and Angie. We all hoped for a happy ending for our fave soap couple – and there were times when we thought it might be a possibility – but it wasn’t to be. Angie ran off to start a new life with her new fella while Den was presumed dead for years before popping up in Albert Square again.

3. TOM AND PIPPA FLETCHER

 

When Home And Away first aired, it was all about the Fletcher family: Tom, his wife Pippa and their foster children. Despite issues with the children, they were a very tight family unit with Tom and Pippa having a strong marriage that seemed able to withstand anything life through at them. They initially thought they couldn’t have children of their own (until baby Christopher came along) and they were often worn down by their foster children’s dramas but they often came across as quite young at heart, totally devoted to each other, and quite sweet as a couple.

It was terribly sad when Tom was killed in an accident, and I remember Pippa’s shock and denial which eventually gave way to grief. They may not have been together for a long time, but they’re still a very memorable couple.

4. STAN AND HILDA OGDEN

 

Stan and Hilda were the Ken and Deirdre of Coronation Street long before the latter achieved legendary status. This classic Corrie couple had been in the soap since the 1960s but my earliest memories of them are from the 1980s which must have been just before Stan died. I still remember when Stan gave Hilda a box for her birthday and when she opened it, there was nothing in it. Stan explained that it was for Hilda to put her jewellery in – which she accepted. I thought it was a great idea at the time but I was too young to know any better. Now I just think it’s hilarious – not to mention a bit cheeky!

Stan and Hilda may have been off our screens as a couple for more than three decades but when I think Coronation Street, I still think of Stan and Hilda Ogden.

5. MADGE AND HAROLD BISHOP

 

The king and queen of Ramsay Street! Who couldn’t love the Bishops? Former childhood sweethearts Madge and Harold reunited after many years apart, and despite them being polar opposites, there was no doubting that Madge without Harold was like tea without biscuits. Yes Harold annoyed Madge with his fuddy-duddy ways and Harold sometimes found Madge a bit too harsh but they loved each other dearly.

Unfortunately Madge and Harold didn’t get the chance to grow old and grey together as Madge passed away and Harold eventually remarried and left the street. But rumour has it that Madge and Harold will be returning to Erinsborough as part of the show’s thirtieth anniversary celebrations. How Madge will be returning from the dead, I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to seeing the Bishops together again.

6. DENNIS AND SHARON RICKMAN

 

The couple who the public affectionately nicknamed ‘Shannis’ may just be my ultimate favourite soap couple. No, I take that back: Sharon Watts and Dennis Rickman are my ultimate favourite couple. I think I may love them even more than Scott and Charlene and that’s saying something. I don’t think I’ve ever watched an on-screen couple together and got goose-bumps. The chemistry between Letitia Dean and the gorgeous Nigel Harman was astounding. I did have my reservations when I heard that Eastenders’ writers were going to get Sharon and Dennis together – in fact I thought it was bizarre: Sharon was Dennis’s adopted sister after all.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sharon and Dennis were perfect together. Their complicated family situation meant that on more than one occasion one of the twosome got cold feet and called the whole thing off which eventually resulted in Dennis starting a relationship with Zoe Slater. Thankfully he saw sense and realised that Sharon was the woman for him – and the nation cheered. They married but the marriage was sadly short-lived when Dennis was murdered on New Year’s Eve – just as they found out that Sharon was expecting their much longed-for baby.

I totally miss seeing Sharon and Dennis together in Eastenders. I’m sorry but Sharon and Phil… well, they’re no Shannis, are they?

7. BOBBY AND PAMELA EWING

 

Dallas’s Bobby and Pam were the complete opposite of JR and Sue-Ellen. This was a couple who truly loved each other but being Texas’s answer to Romeo and Juliet, they had to put up with a lot of family hostility, especially from Bobby’s brother JR who hated the Barnes family with a passion and couldn’t get his head around the fact that his little brother was shacking up with the sister of the enemy.

And family pressures did indeed split them up with them both meeting other partners – Bobby’s relationship in particular with Jenna Wade a.k.a Mrs. Elvis Presley really had viewers on the edge of their seats – but we all knew that Bobby and Pam were a great match and thankfully they realised that too. Despite discovering that Jenna was pregnant with Bobby’s child, Pam went on to remarry Bobby. But in true soap style, there was no happy ever after. Pam was badly injured in a car accident, and although she survived, she couldn’t bear for Bobby or their son Christopher to see how badly disfigured she was, so she left the hospital without telling the Ewings where she was going and filed for divorce.

Bobby went to remarry twice more but it was never the same. Bobby and Pam were an awesome couple.

8. JEFF AND FALLON COLBY

 

Jeff and Fallon’s on-off antics had viewers gripped. Sweet, sensible Jeff and flighty Fallon Carrington may have been a bit of a mismatch but these two had plenty of passion and fire and I loved watching them together. Admittedly I did think that Fallon and Jeff’s cousin Miles – who Fallon married when she lost her memory also made a great couple – but they were no Jeff and Fallon. And I remembered being allowed to stay up late to watch Fallon become Mrs. Jeff Colby for the second time in a gorgeous pink gown. The ups and downs didn’t stop there but Jeff and Fallon always found their way back to each other again.

9. PAULINE AND ARTHER FOWLER

 

Cardigan-wearing Pauline Fowler and her allotment-loving husband Arthur both appeared during the golden days of Eastenders. But unlike their fiery, passionate counterparts Den and Angie, Pauline and Arthur were considered a little less dramatic, and they definitely preferred a quieter life. But that’s not to say that that’s what they got as the Flowers had more than their fair share of drama over the years: Pauline’s surprise pregnancy; daughter Michelle becoming a teenage mum; Arthur’s breakdown and spell in prison; the death of Pauline’s twin brother Pete… and let’s not forget having to live with Pauline’s domineering mother, Lou.

But the biggest shock of all – just in case anyone thought Pauline and Arthur were too boring – was when Arthur had an affair with Christine Hewitt, who begged him to leave Pauline. On the day that Arthur confessed all to Pauline, he was rewarded, quite memorably, with a whack around the head  with a frying pan. However, this wasn’t enough to finish off Walford’s iconic couple: Pauline and Arthur eventually reunited and stayed married until Arthur’s untimely death.

10. ALF AND AILSA STEWART

 

 

I was a huge fan of this Home And Away couple from day one. Ailsa was Alf’s first real relationship after his wife Martha died and they seemed perfect for each other. Unfortunately Alf’s teenage daughter Roo didn’t think so and tried to find ways to split them up. Roo thought she’d  struck gold when she found out that Ailsa had served time in prison for murdering her father, but when Ailsa explained that her father was an abusive bully and that she’d killed him in self-defence, Alf didn’t need to think twice about resuming his relationship with Ailsa – and told Roo where to go.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for this couple. They had to deal with Ailsa’s post-natal depression after the birth of their son Duncan and more of Roo’s shenanigans. But like Tom and Pippa, they dearly loved each other and made their marriage work until Ailsa’s shock death from a heart attack.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Childhood Legends, TV Shows

 

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Anne Kirkbride: Goodbye To A TV Legend

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The country is still reeling from the shock death of Coronation Street legend Anne Kirkbride this week from cancer. The sixty year old actress had graced our screens for more than forty years as Deirdre Barlow and many of us have grown up with this iconic character.

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Last weekend, I read an article in which Anne was considering extending her leave from the top Manchester soap due to exhaustion. She had made her last Corrie appearance  last October, and it was even hinted that Anne was growing tired of playing Deirdre. So the next day when I read the first part of a  headline in which William Roach, who played Anne’s on-screen husband Ken Barlow, talking about Coronation Street having lost a legend, for a split second I assumed that Anne had quit the role that had made her a household name. I then went on to learn the incredibly sad news that Anne had passed away. The news had come as a great shock, not only to viewers but to many of the Oldham-born actress’s co-stars, as very few knew that she was ill. At the time of her death very little was revealed regarding the details of her illness.

Deirdre and Ken marry for the first time

Deirdre and Ken marry for the first time

 

My earliest memories of Coronation Street also include my earliest memories of Deirdre. My mum was a huge Corrie fan and back then, the nation was gripped by the Ken-Deirdre-Mike love triangle. I was obviously too young to understand what was going on but I did know that the lady called Deirdre had been very naughty. She’d done something bad with a man called Mike and now her husband Ken was very angry with both of them. I even remember the incredibly touching moment when Deirdre revealed that she didn’t want to leave Ken for Mike or go to live with her mother – and Ken forgave her and took her back. Years later when I was a little older, I thought that Deirdre probably should have chosen Mike as he was more exciting but what did I know? It would never have worked with Mike, and Deirdre without Ken is like fish without chips!

Those glasses!

Those glasses!

 

And over the years, Deirdre definitely became on of my favourite characters. She was a good mum to her daughter Tracy – well maybe a little too good as Tracy could have done with a slap from time to time – and I really did enjoy Deirdre’s scenes with her mother, Blanche. I even understood that Ken and Deirdre belonged together and was very angry with Ken when he cheated on Deirdre with that awful Wendy Crozier (even though Deirdre had been unfaithful first!) I was also very disappointed when Ken had a child with Denise Osbourne and in Deirdre’s marriage to Samir Raschid as I felt that this was hindering Ken and Deirdre’s inevitable reunion. But reunite they did, and the nation went crazy when the Barlows remarried in 2005 – a wedding that attracted more viewers than Prince Charles’s wedding to Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The wedding that attracted 12 million viewers

The wedding that attracted 12 million viewers

 

Anne also met her real-life husband on the show, actor David Beckett, when he appeared in Coronation Street playing Dave Barton in 1990. Love blossomed for him and Anne and the couple went on to marry in 1992. In an industry where marriages are not known to last, David has been described as a devoted husband who was with Anne until the very end. Anne had previously said of her beloved husband:

  “It’s thanks to Corrie that I met my wonderful David. I wouldn’t be without him. He adores me and I adore him. What else do you need?”

Anne marries co-star David Beckett

Anne marries co-star David Beckett

The popularity of Deirdre Barlow is testament to Anne Kirkbride’s talent as an actress and her ability to breathe life into a character that has gone on to become a British television icon. After news of Anne’s death broke, tributes came flooding in from fans and the world of entertainment including Anne’s colleagues who regarded her as a much-loved friend. Her co-stars were so devastated by her loss that filming had to be cancelled for a day. A few days later at the National Television Awards, William Roache paid an emotional tribute to his friend and colleague to whom he had shared such a close working relationship, causing many people present, especially the Coronation Street cast and crew, to become quite tearful.

Deirdre Barlow was known for her husky voice, and at one time, overly permed hair. But as we all know, Deirdre’s trademark were of course those oversize glasses that she was never without. Along with those facial expressions that Deirdre used to pull whenever she got upset, and the words “Tracy love,” which seem to have become her catchphrase, Deirdre Barlow was an impressionists dream come true. But far from being the butt of jokes, Deirdre Barlow has become one of television’s most enduring characters, and Anne Kirkbride one of our best-loved actresses. She was part of our family entertainment for so long. Coronation Street will never be the same without her.

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Rest in peace, Anne xx

 

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Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Gone Too Soon

 

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A Walk Down Memory Aisle: 25 Top TV Weddings

Soap legends, Scott and Charlene Robinson from Neighbours caused hysteria when their TV wedding was shown on UK screens 25 years ago. For many of us, their wedding will always be the most epic of all TV weddings. However, over the years we’ve been very privileged to have attended numerous weddings where we’ve gasped, laughed and shed a tear along with the rest of the country – or world – and all from the comfort of our living rooms!

So in honour of Scott and Charlene’s 25th wedding anniversary, we take a look at 25 TV weddings that are (almost!) as memorable and which I witnessed during the days when I watched way too much television:

1. SHANE AND ANGEL PARRISH (Home And Away, 1995)

Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (Melissa George) were hailed by the Aussie media as the new Scott and Charlene. I don’t think that any couple could ever be the new Scott and Charlene but they were an awesome soap twosome whose on-off antics had viewers gripped.

However, in the run up to their wedding, Angel was knocked over by Alf Stewart and was unable to walk. But come the big day, Angel was determined that she wasn’t going to be wheeled down the aisle in her wheelchair and insisted on walking towards her groom. She did just that – and viewers were moved.

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2. ROSS AND EMILY GELLER (Friends, 1998)

The words “I Ross, take thee, Rachel,” were the words every Friends’ fan desperately wanted to hear – too bad they were being said to the wrong woman! Nobody wanted to see Ross (David Schwimmer) wed his British sweetheart Emily (Helen Baxendale) as everyone knew that Ross belonged with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston.) And it looked as though fans were going to get their wish as Rachel flew into London to stop the wedding – only to have a change of heart when she saw Ross at the alter and instead wished him well. The wedding went ahead despite Ross calling Emily ‘Rachel’ although naturally the marriage didn’t last – but viewers had to wait until the last ever series of Friends to see Rachel get her man.

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3. KEVIN AND SALLY WEBSTER (Coronation Street, 1986)

They were known as love’s young dream and they were couple who lived happily ever after – until that awful Natalie Horrocks came along and got her claws into Kevin (Michael Le Vell.)

Sally (Sally Dynevor) did away with the tradition of a white wedding gown and I remember her showing Hilda Ogden her peach coloured wedding dress before the wedding and twirling around her living room while Hilda sat there in silence (very unusual for her!) What was most poignant was that the night before the wedding, Sally was stood in the doorway, looking out on to the street with a dreamy expression on her face, claiming that she couldn’t be happier. If she knew then what we all know now…

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4. FRANK MORGAN AND BOBBY SIMPSON (Home And Away, 1989)

Bobby (Nicolle Dickson) loved Frank (Alex Papps) but Frank was besotted with Roo. Frank eventually realised that Roo was not the woman for him and finally fell for Bobby – and Home And Away fans cheered their hearts out – including me! This was without a doubt one of my favourite weddings as I loved Frank and Bobby as a couple. At the time, being so young, I couldn’t understand why Bobby would wear a dress that had black in it; wasn’t full length, or why she didn’t wear a veil. Now I think her look rocks because it’s so unique and doesn’t look dated despite being more than 20 years ago.

Sadly, they’d barely finished the wedding cake before Frank decided that he was in love with Roo after all and the two ran off to New York where they eventually got married – leaving Bobby heartbroken. But fickle Frank proved he had a real inability to make up his mind and returned to Summer Bay to win Bobby back just as she was starting a relationship with single dad Greg Marshall. Bobby, feisty girl that she was, told Frank just where to go. So he did!

Bobby

4. BOBBY AND PAMELA EWING (Dallas, 1986)

I never did like Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) getting together with Jenna Wade – even if she was Mrs. Elvis Presley! So naturally I was delighted when he got back together with his ex-wife, Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal) and they started planning their second wedding. However, just minutes before she was due to walk down the aisle, Pam overheard Bobby’s brother, Ray announce that Jenna was pregnant – with Bobby’s child. Pam was devastated but the couple were rock solid and Pam became Mrs. Ewing for the second time.

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5. CHANDLER BING AND MONICA GELLAR (Friends, 2001)

Once commitment-phobe Chandler (Matthew Perry) realised that Monica (Courtney Cox) was the woman for him, there was no stopping him in rushing to propose – and Monica was only too happy to whip out the wedding file she’d created in her teens! However, on the day of the wedding, it looked as though Chandler had started to have second thoughts and done a runner, and the gang had no choice but to break the news to Monica. One of the most hilarious scenes ever was when Rachel began to tell Monica, “We can’t find Chandler…” before noticing that Phoebe was gesturing to her that all was well and not to say anything before Rachel backtracked by saying, “…Chandler’s vest. We can’t find Chandler’s vest.” Great move Rachel!

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So the bride and groom made it down the aisle; viewers met Chandler’s warring parents; Joey married his best friends while dressed as an army officer and viewers discovered that Rachel was pregnant. But who was the father?

6. RODNEY AND CASSANDRA TROTTER (Only Fools And Horses, 1989)

If ever there was a couple who were chalk and cheese, it was Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Cassandra (Gwyneth Strong) but somehow they worked. The wedding episode was quite touching as it showed the deep bond between the brothers Rodney and Del rather than focusing solely on their comic capers. Who could forget Del taking care off his wounds after taking a violent bashing so that Rodney could get the money to pay for the wedding? Or the tearful look that Rodney exchanged with the brother who raised him just before he and Cassandra departed for their honeymoon. I remember watching this and feeling very sorry for lonely Del. Thank goodness Raquel came along when she did!

The episode thankfully ended on a comic note with Rodney forgetting that he lived with Cassandra and not Del. Amazing episode.

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7. HAROLD AND MADGE BISHOP (Neighbours, 1988)

It had taken more than thirty years for Harold (Ian Smith) to be reunited with his high school sweetheart Madge (Anne Charleston) but even then their journey to the alter had been anything but smooth with rows, break-ups and an engagement ring that found its way to the bottom of Lassiter’s Lake! But then, Madge’s fiery temper was one of the things that Harold loved about her and there was no denying, that despite their differences, this was a couple who belonged together.

Harold’s mini-me son, David, made an appearance for the wedding and Harold shocked everyone by announcing that he wanted a bucks party. However the menfolk of Ramsay Street had to endure the most boring bucks party ever. It was hilarious when Scott suggested that Harold put some music on. “Great idea!” Harold exclaimed. “Er, what’s this?” someone asked. “Mozart,” Harold announced. Cue a great deal of grumbling.

But the wedding was well worth the wait: Henry gave his mum away; Charlene made a beautiful bridesmaid; David thought he had a chance with the stunning Jane Harris, and Madge finally became Mrs. Bishop.

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8. JEFF AND FALLON COLBY (Dynasty, 1986)

Could there ever be a more on-again-off-again couple than Jeff and Fallon? But through it all you just knew they belonged together. And so did they! Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin and later Emma Samms)  ran out on Jeff (John James) before their wedding only to resurface a year later as amnesia sufferer Randall Adams – who had just become his cousin Miles’s new  bride!

A battle for Fallon’s affections began between the two men. Jeff won – and Fallon remarried him.  What I loved about this wedding – apart from Fallon choosing Jeff – was that she did away with tradition by opting for a pink gown thus starting a trend. This was great in the eyes of a little primary school age girl who was obsessed with pink and I was determined to follow Fallon’s lead and get wed in pink when my time came (I didn’t!) Though if Fallon’s wicked stepmother-in-law had had her way, she would have married Jeff wearing a persimmon coloured gown (I didn’t have a clue what colour persimmon was!)

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9. RICKY AND BIANCA BUTCHER (Eastenders, 1997)

Ricky (Sid Owen) had already been married before to Phil and Grant’s little sister Sam but this was Bianca’s (Patsy Palmer) first wedding and she was determined to go all out.

I remember watching this episode with my family and we couldn’t stop laughing. Fearing the wrath of Bianca, there was a mad race to get Ricky to the church on time after the stag party mistakenly thought that they had ended up in France. Bianca couldn’t understand why her wedding car was doing continuous circles around the church but all was well when Ricky finally turned up and made an honest woman of Miss Jackson.

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10. MARK GOTTLIEB AND ANNALISE HARTMAN (Neighbours, 1994)

Despite promises to love, honour and obey, many of the TV marriages listed here didn’t last or at least endured extremely stormy periods. Luckily Mark (Bruce Samazan) and Annalise (Kimberly Davis) decided to quit while they were ahead by calling off the wedding while Annalise was halfway down the aisle. Mark suddenly decided that he wanted to be a man of the cloth and told Annalise that he couldn’t go through with it. Meanwhile Annalise had been having doubts about her impending marriage so was secretly relieved – although she still made Mark feel guilty and played the victim.

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11. IAN AND CINDY BEALE (Eastenders, 1989)

Now here’s a union that makes people wonder “whatever were they thinking?” I remember a friend commenting well before their wedding, “that Cindy’s a little b***h. She’s just using Ian to make that other one jealous.” By ‘that other one’ she meant of course Simon Wicks – Cindy’s one true love and the man who was going to be the catalyst in the demise of Ian and Cindy’s marriage. I’m sure it was obvious to viewers at the time that Cindy didn’t love Ian but I wasn’t old enough to see the signs! Unfortunately it was Cindy who turned Ian from Mr. Super-Nice to a cross between Mr. Nasty and Mr. Pillock.

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12.JOE MANGEL AND KERRY BISHOP (Neighbours, 1990)

Again, another chalk and cheese couple who were made for each other. Their romance had many ups and downs but what was really sweet was the way in which they accepted each other’s children and blended their families so seamlessly. Kerry (Linda Hartley) ever-the-non-conformist wanted her wedding to have a slightly Indian vibe and take place in a butterfly house. One funny moment was when the celebrant asked if anyone had any objections and Harold had had his hand raised. It turned out he was just trying to shoo away a butterfly that had landed on his head!

Their’s was supposed to have been a double wedding as they should have gotten married alongside their friends Henry Ramsay and Bronwyn Davies. However, Bronwyn’s father wasn’t convinced that Henry was the right man for his daughter and put pressure on her to postpone. Bronwyn gave in, devastating Henry in the process. He then became Joe’s (Mark Little) best man and kept giving Bronwyn heartbroken glances throughout the service.

Just as Scott and Charlene had their song during the service, Joe and Kerry had Lynn Hamilton’s In Your Arms which was just as beautiful as Angry Anderson’s Suddenly. The song lyrics combined with Joe and Kerry’s joy as well as Henry and Bronwyn’s pain made this a very poignant episode.

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13. FRANK AND PAT BUTCHER (Eastenders, 1989)

Frank (Mike Reid) and Pat (Pam St. Clement) had loved each other over a thirty year period but life, marriages to other people and children had kept them apart for many years – until Frank’s wife June passed away and he was free to be with the woman he truly loved. They got married and celebrated with a huge street party in typical East End style. Sadly the marriage wasn’t to last but one thing that did was their love for each other. Pat and Frank’s is a sad but true love story.

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14. HUGO AND ALICE HORTON (The Vicar of Dibley, 1998)

Alice Tinker may not be every man’s dream woman but Hugo Horton was besotted with the verger – much to the disdain of his father, David Horton who couldn’t stand the dim (though sweet) Alice. However, Hugo finally stood up to his father and defended his true love and the couple went on to marry. Alice wed Hugo in a what-is-she-wearing dress that was so typical of her. Who could forget that switch-it-on-and-watch-it-light-up headdress?

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15. DES AND DAPHNE CLARKE (Neighbours, 1986)

There aren’t many men who’d want to marry the stripper at a buck’s party. There aren’t many women who’d want to marry the man for whom they were hired to strip. But amidst the most unlikeliest of starts, Des and Daphne fell in love. In true soap style, there were hiccups along the way to the alter, especially Daphne’s later engagement to Shane Ramsay. However, Daphne realised that her heart belonged to Des and went on to marry him. Des and Daphne’s is usually considered by many to be the first Neighbours’ wedding but it isn’t – Paul Robinson beat them to it when he married his first wife, Terri.

des

16. PRINCE MICHAEL OF MOLDOVIA AND AMANDA CARRINGTON (Dynasty, 1985)

What is it with those Carrington girls? Can’t they have a simple family wedding without all the drama? Blake Carrington’s younger daughter, Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg) proved that anything her older sister Fallon could do, she could do one step better. Not only did she bag herself a prince (Michael Praed) but her wedding provided one of the biggest soap cliff-hangers of all time. While the wedding was underway, a group of terrorists stormed the chapel and opened fire. It appeared that everyone had been gunned down although viewers had to wait for the new season to find out who had been killed.

Amandaprincess

17. JOHN WORTHINGTON AND NELL MANGEL (Neighbours, 1988)

“What’s a nice man like John Worthington doing with Nell Mangel?” asked Madge Bishop.

Indeed viewers were asking the same question. Who on earth could love an interfering, malicious, gossipy busybody like Mrs. Mangel? But it appeared that nice Mr. Worthington decided to take a chance on Mrs. Mangel – even after that hilarious incident where a face-pack wearing Mrs. Mangel answered the door to her date John and pretended to be Nell’s twin sister Belle! However, John saw through the lie and still thought that Nell Mangle was worth taking a chance on.

Their marriage marked the couple’s departure from the show as they went to live in England. And in a move that surprised the neighbours – and viewers – Madge and Nell kissed and made up just before the Worthingtons headed off to the airport.

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18. IAN AND MELANIE HEALEY, BARRY AND NATALIE EVANS (Eastenders, 1999)

As the whole world eagerly awaited the new millennium, Eastenders decided to celebrate with a double wedding. However, Melanie Healey (Tamzin Outhwaite) wasn’t in the mood to celebrate as what viewers already knew suddenly began to dawn on her – she had no idea what she was doing with Ian Beale! Unfortunately, Ian (Adam Woodyatt) had already cottoned on to the fact that Mel was getting cold feet, so in a bid to make her go through with the wedding, he lied and said that his daughter was suffering from cancer. A low move even for him!

But after the wedding, fellow new bride Natalie (Lucy Speed) accidentally let the cat out of the bag and revealed that Lucy was in perfect health. After a furious bust-up with Ian, Mel walked out on him in what must have been the shortest marriage in soap.

But Natalie and Barry didn’t fare so well either as they also went their separate ways a few years later after the birth of their son Jack. Clearly not a lucky wedding date!

 

19. JOE AND MELANIE MANGEL (Neighbours, 1991)

Neighbours fans were saddened when pregnant Kerry Bishop was killed by a stray bullet leaving Joe a distraught widower. So they rejoiced when Joe (Mark Little)  found happiness with his wacky lodger Melanie Pearson (Lucinda Cowden) who was Erinsborough’s answer to Alice Tinker.

There was a slight hitch when the happy couple fell out after Joe discovered that Melanie had once had a fling with her boss, Paul Robinson. However he soon got over it and the wedding was back on track. And although Joe feared the worst regarding Melanie’s wedding gown, the bride stunned everyone by walking down the aisle in a beautiful, traditional, champagne-coloured gown.

 

20. BEN AND MEG EVANS, MICHAEL AND VANESSA BOURNE (Sunset Beach, 1999)

It may have been a short lived soap but it made a big impact. When this Channel 5 soap finally ended, it went out on a high and featured a double wedding for two couples who viewers couldn’t wait to see make it to the alter.

Although this was Michael and Vanessa’s (Sherrie Saum) first wedding, it was the second time for Ben (Clive Roberts) and Meg (Susan Ward) as their first was interrupted by the appearance of Ben’s first wife, Maria. This time everything went without a hitch – except fans were upset that their favourite wacky soap was no more.

 

 

21. STEPHEN AND PHOEBE GOTTLIEB (Neighbours, 1993)

Phoebe (Simone Robertson) was heartbroken when her beloved boyfriend Todd was killed in a road accident – just as she was expecting their baby. But Todd played an unlikely matchmaker as Phoebe met the man she was going to marry while visiting Todd’s grave. Stephen (Lochie Daddo) and Phoebe fell in love and got married just before baby Hope arrived.

 

22. ALEX AND SUE TATHAM (Blind Date, 1991)

Many years may have passed, and I may only have been a child at the time but I remember this couple so well! For everyone who thought that Blind Date was a fix, Alex and Sue Tatham proved everyone wrong by being the first Blind Date contestants to marry after meeting on the show. Before them, Blind Date did not have any real success stories so naturally the show’s host Cilla Black and the rest of the show’s crew would have been delighted with the result. After Alex and Sue, another two couples went on to marry. Sue and Alex’s wedding was watched as part of a Blind Date special by more than 17 million viewers, with the couple being slightly upstaged by Cilla’s famous hat!

And for those who thought that the marriage would never last, the Tathams are still together, have two children and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary this year.

 

23. BRAD AND BETH WILLIS (Neighbours, 1993)

It took two attempts for Brad (Scott Michaelson) and Beth (Natalie Imbruglia) to make it to the alter and they were successfully wed after their second attempt! Wedding number one ended in disaster after Beth suspected Brad of fooling around with bridesmaid Lauren behind her back. She was right and walked out halfway through the ceremony. And despite Brad continuing his relationship with Lauren, Beth wasn’t about to give up on him so easily and fought to win back Brad. She succeeded and the happy couple left Ramsay Street after their wedding to start a new life away from Erinsborough.

 

24. GRANT AND SHARON MITCHELL (Eastenders, 1991)

Who would have thought that Walford’s hard man could be such a softie? Grant (Ross Kemp) had planned their wedding in secret even doing the unforgivable and choosing Sharon’s (Letitia Dean) wedding outfit! Sharon was furious and promptly refused to go through with the wedding – until best friend Michelle Fowler talked her around. So before you could say ‘Sharongate’ the happy couple were wed and Sharon was destined to hear the infamous ‘you’re a Mitchell’ line until she ditched Grant for a new life in America.

 

25. PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA (1981)

OK, this televised wedding was not part of a scriptwriter’s plot but Charles and Di’s story had more ups and down, ins and outs, twists and turns than your average soap opera. Believe it or not, their wedding is one of my earliest memories. Although it was billed as a fairy-tale, the marriage sadly did not last but their wedding is without a doubt one of the most famous and still talked about weddings of the royal family.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in TV Shows

 

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