Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Eastenders Live Is Back, Here's What We Love About The Show (Even If We Don't Watch It)

The Debrief: Regardless of whether you watch the show, nobody could escape Max Branning's puke-fail, Ian Beale being so immemorable people call him by his actor's name and these other absolutely vital scenes...

EastEnders, which is now in its 30th year, is bringing us the culmination of the ‘who killed Lucy Beale’ storyline, and with it, a special run of live shows. Which got us to thinking, even if you’ve never actually watched the show, you’ll remember more about it than you think.

For example, our editorial assistant Chemmie referred to someone’s beard as a ‘Beppe’ the other day. And I actually tuned in to watch the episode where Little Mo did some Trevor-ironing, just so I could gossip about it the next day over playing Pogs or whatever the hell I did in 2001, despite having never seen the show before.

To commemorate and celebrate the British institution that gave us Barbara Windsor and Paul Nicholls with foil hands (see below), here are the best moments from EastEnders we can remember. As in, noughties EastEnders. Because that’s the best EastEnders, and we’re prepared to fight anyone who disagrees.

Ian Beale Being A Constant Drip

From his time as a tramp to the conviction he deployed when telling his (pretty handsome) son Peter that he reminded him of himself 20 years ago, Ian's tiresomeness extends to all thsoe who've heard of Eastenders. That's why it was pretty lols when Ian's co-star Jo Jo Joyner, also known as Tanya Branning, called Ian by his actor's name, Adam, during a live episode of the show. Imagine being that immemorable...

Max Branning Tries To Make Himself Puke, 2010

OK, so not technically the noughties here BUT we want to make it count, because EastEnders’ foray into doing a live episode involved some grisly business where someone threw themselves off of a building. Upon seeing the dead body, Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning, wanted to get all actorly and method and puke IRL, so he shoved his fingers down his throat. Except, the audience saw him pretend to puke, and were perhaps a little thrown – was Jake pretending to puke, or was Max pretending to puke?

Trevor Has A Shocker On NYE,  2001

Let’s kick off with this one, because everyone was on about it to such an extent that it pretty much made the front page of The Times (it didn’t). Basically, Little Mo is married to an abusive Scottish arsehole called Trevor who does really nice things like raping her because she buys a hat.

The domestic abuse storyline became more and more intense, as everyone was convinced he would kill her, until it all kicked off on New Year’s Eve in 2001 when he tried to attack her again, and decided to do some extreme ironing. As in, she (almost) beat him to death with an iron while everyone sang Auld Lang Syne. God, it was powerful stuff.

Zoe Finds Out Who Her Mum Is, 2001

Kat Slater, played by Jessie Wallace, whose face is part of all our childhoods regardless of whether you watched the show, really doesn’t want her sister Zoe (Michelle Ryan) to move to Spain. As in, she really doesn’t. After the announcement, they get into an argument in which Zoe yells: ‘YOU AIN’T MY MOTHER’ and Kat, after the briefest of hesitations, screams back, ‘YES I AM!’ and tens of thousands of cups of teas were spilt on family pets all over the United Kingdom.

This also meant that every time someone in the playground tried to make you do something you didn’t want to do, you reenacted this exchange with full-blown Walford accents. Every time. Never got old.

Sonia Has A Really Well-Planned Millennium Baby 

After Jamie (Jack Ryder! Curtains!) comes home to find girlfriend Sonia (Natalie Cassidy) lying on the floor yelling and all sweaty in the face, he thinks she’s dying. It’s not until good ole Slater matriarch Mo (played by Laila ‘If it’s on our doorstep it IS our bizniss *puts fag out*’ Morse) and co rush in from next door, that it becomes clear she’s about to pop one out.

After putting a bit of newspaper down, like they do in all good hospitals, Sonja gives birth on the sofa with Mo saying things like, ‘Go on girl, scream the ’ouse down!’ and reminiscing about how she helped deliver a baby ‘on the changing room floor of the Clapton lido’. Full marks to Natalie Cassidy for knocking it out of the park in this scene, and genuinely looking like someone who is giving birth while being incredibly reluctant to give birth.

Jamie Has A Shocker in 2002 

When you’re planning to propose to your girlfriend who, two years ago, accidentally gave birth to someone else’s baby on a sofa, the worst thing that can possibly happen is that you get hit by a car. Unfortunately, Jamie (Jack Ryder! Side Curtains!) tells Sonia that ‘everything’s going to be absolutely fine’ before instructing her where to meet him for the surprise – which, in EastEnders language, means ‘I’m going to die’.

The fact that we know Martin Fowler’s gone off the rails and is zooming around in a bad boy car sort of confirms it, but that still didn’t soften the blow. Especially not for Jack, or everyone under the age of 15 who cried uncontrollably into their Shout! magazines.

Special mention must also go to the Peggy and Pat fight (‘YOU BITCH!’ ‘YOU COW!’) which isn’t really available online in a non-fuzzy format, due to it airing in 1998. 

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Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

Tags: Nostalgia, TV That Matters