Published on February 3, 2014 | by Tom Baker


The “Shoreditchification” of Eastenders

This week the Executive Producer of the BBC’s long running soap opera Eastenders explained in an interview with the Radio Times that his vision for Eastenders is one in which the show reflects modern East London. Dominic Treadwell-Jones said the show has “been frozen in aspic for too long”.

According to Treadwell-Jones, “the edges of Shoreditch” will start creeping into Albert Square, so what better place to meet some of the potential real life counterparts of any trendy new Eastenders? The Golden Heart sits opposite Spitalfields – once a thriving city centre market, and now cleaned up with posh restaurants and cafes – and among those enjoying an evening pint I met Matt who sells 3D medical animation technology, Kirsten who runs a company making ethical homewares and Thomas the menswear designer. How would they fit in to the soap next to Sonia the nurse, Mick the pub landlord and Winston the market trader?

Albert Square was loosely based on Fassett Square in Hackney, just a few streets away from the hipster epicentre of Dalston, where early last year local residents campaigned against the area’s burgeoning nightlife and the young revellers it attracts. Certainly, East London has changed beyond recognition since it was first broadcast 29 years ago, but can and indeed should a soap opera really attempt to replicate ‘real life’?

Speaking exclusively to Arts London News, Ally Ross – TV critic for The Sun – questioned the wisdom of giving the show a superficial makeover, suggesting the producers might like to address the storyline and characters first. He also made the point that, because of the constant need for drama in a soap opera – by his count there are currently four murderers living in the Square – the likelihood of one ever reflecting real life is slim.










East End pub

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