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1988 was EastEnders' fourth year
There were big changes in EastEnders in 1988. Behind the scenes, Julia Smith took a more back-seat role as series producer, allowing Mike Gibbon as producer to take control of the day-to-day making of the programme.
On-screen, 1988 saw the end of the two-pub era as the Dagmar disappeared - in flames - in the middle of the year and was replaced by a wine bar called Strokes, operated by the local Firm of organized villains. Meanwhile, it was also all change at The Queen Vic, when Pat Wicks and the Butcher family took over the tenancy.
Four more of the originals left the programme in 1988; Mary, Lou, Lofty and Angie. Mary had been one of the most striking of the original characters, a lone mother with a small baby, who hid herself under punk makeup, was unable to read or write and was a Northerner alone in a southern city. She left Walford the way she arrived, running away from her parents. Lou was frequently ill during 1988, and after a rest, in Leigh-on-Sea she returned to Walford in July in time to die. Lofty, heart-broken after Michelle aborted their child, moved on to become a handyman in a children's home and Angie found new love in the arms of Sonny and left England to run a bar in Spain.
Other exits during the year included poor old Tom Clements, potman and gardener, who died after suffering a stroke in The Queen Vic. Barry Clark left Walford to work on a cruise ship and Chris Smith left after his company ran into financial problems and had to be bought out by Walford Investments, the Firm's money-lending arm. Magda Czajkowski, let down by Wicksy and Den, took her Symphony Foods catering business to pastures new and Darren, proving that discretion is the better part of valour, did a runner when his various activities got a little too hot to handle.
Among the visitors were Kenny Beale and his daughter Elizabeth from New Zealand, who arrived in the spring. Also making an appearance was Brian Wicks, Pat's other ex-husband and, according to Pat in the middle of the year, the real father of Simon. New youngsters in this year included Sohail and Shireen Karim, Ricky and Diane Butcher, and Junior's little girlfriend Melody. A major batch of new characters was needed for the Den/prison storyline. In Walford these included Joanne, the manager of Strokes; Mr Mantel of Walford Investments; Brad, the Firm's local thug (who had appeared before but never so often as during this storyline); and Det. Insp. Ashley who joined Walford C.I.D. determined to close down the Firm. Inside Dickens Hill, Den was joined by prison officers Crane and Stone, and fellow prisoners Barnsey, Queenie, Vic and Brownlow, and the more familiar faces of Johnny Harris and Nick Cotton.
Back in Walford, the Butcher family was completed by the arrival of Frank's mother Mo Butcher, and Carmel gained a new partner, a white man called Matthew Jackson. Perhaps the most important character for the future had a very low-key entrance, appearing as another market-trader at first but quickly becoming involved with both Wicksy and Ian. This was Cindy Williams, who initially appeared helping her mother run a hat stall in Turpin Road.
Although not an episode of EastEnders, special mention should be made of the extra Christmas episode screened this year. It was a one-off programme called CivvyStreet which told the story of the Square during the Second World War. Written by Tony Holland and directed by Julia Smith, this special episode filled in some of the backgrounds to the EastEnders characters and was a fascinating experiment.
It was not the easiest of projects to write, however - Tony Holland was most upset to discover that Dot had been too young during the war to be featured as a useful character and also complained that the major events of the war occurred in the wrong order for effective drama!
In September, the regular time slot of 7:30 p.m. for the show's telecast was replaced due to the 1988 Summer Olympics, and the time slot was shifted to 8:00 p.m. this befell from Episode 378 (20 September 1988) to Episode 381 (29 September 1988).
Nevertheless, the fundamental ratings for the show were very reasonable. The weakest score was 12.60 million on Episode 350 (14 June 1988), but the show soon struck its self back up when the ratings increased to 15.85 million in the following episode. The highest record was 24.15 million which was on Episode 305 (7 January 1988), the second episode to be transmitted this year. Aside from these two ratings, the show was reasonably well situated between the figures of 15 million and 21 million throughout the rest of the year.
Duff Duff Count
- Please note: We have calculated the Duff Duffs based on which character/s appeared at the end of an episode in frame.
|Police Officer (Uncredited)||1||0||1||No|
|Title||Director||Writer||Duff Duff||Viewers (millions)|
26 December 1988
|Julia Smith||Tony Holland||———||7|
- Angie Watts is rushed to the hospital, seriously ill with kidney failure.
- Lofty's joy at Michelle's pregnancy soon changes to despair when she has an abortion, paid for by Den. He calls her a murderer and throws her belongings out of their flat.
- Later Pauline confronts Den, who admits he is Vicki's father.
- It's a month of comings and goings: the Karim family take over the foodstore; Ethel moves into sheltered housing; Barry leaves Colin; Frank Butcher visits Pat, his old flame; Kenny Beale, older brother of Pauline and Pete, is due home from New Zealand.
- Kenny Beale arrives with his daughter, Elizabeth, to a series of rows over Simon Wicks' parentage. Pat Wicks, urged by Lou to come clean, will only tell Pete and Kenny that they were both useless in bed. Den wonders if he came up in the conversation.
- Barry and Ian become partners in running a disco at the Community Centre, using equipment hired through Darren.
- Sue is panicking about her unborn child's health and Carmel has to reassure her.
- Kathy learns that Donna has been ringing her at the Samaritans.
- On his eighteenth birthday, Ian kisses Elizabeth.
- Den finally runs out of excuses for not visiting Angie in hospital. They talk about starting again in a new pub, but first, she takes a holiday to Spain.
- Frank and Pat ask about taking over The Vic.
- Dot searching for Tom, takes a peep at Darren's 'Cultural Night' at the Community Centre. She faints at finding it's a porn video show and a strip-tease act.
- Mags drives out of Albert Square, disillusioned.
- Kathy is asked to leave the Samaritans but is offered work at The Dagmar.
- Sue goes into labour, with Lofty and Pauline acting as midwives; baby Ali is born.
- Donna, flirting with Ian but keener on Wicksy, reveals to Kathy that she is her daughter. Kathy can't feel pleased.
- Angie reveals that she had an affair with a man named Sonny in Spain.
- Sue finds that their neighbour, Alan McIntyre, has bought their flat.
- Den is 'hired' to work for The Firm.
- Lofty leaves the Square to become a handyman in a children's home; only Den, out walking Roly, sees him go.
- Tom, collecting glasses at The Vic, collapses in the gents and dies.
- Dr Legg's new partner, his nephew Dr David Samuels, examines Colin, who is increasingly concerned about his health.
- Ian is disgusted when Kathy tells him that Donna is her daughter. To Pete's alarm, he moves in with Barry, who is living in Ethel's old flat.
- Willmott-Brown, smitten with Kathy, buys her expensive scent while Pete's jealousy mounts.
- Michelle and Sharon throw a party in the new flat Den has bought from McIntyre. Angie upsets Sharon with the news that she is off to live with Sonny in Marbella.
- Mary, depressed and on speed, scoops up Annie and a few belongings and takes a bus out of Walford.
- Darren offers his protection services to both Willmott-Brown and Brad, who has him beaten up.
- Pauline tells Michelle to forget Den.
- Den tries it on with Joanne, the manager of the wine bar. Later she puts him down firmly.
- Frank and Pat become landlords of The Queen Vic but Pat begins to feel the strain of living with Frank's kids.
- Kathy is pushed to tell Donna that she's the product of a rape - news which Donna passes on to Wicksy in the hope of luring him away from his new girlfriend, Cindy Williams.
- To Ian's fury, a finance company repossesses the disco equipment he bought from Darren. Darren then disappears.
- While Pete is busy driving Lou to Leigh-on-Sea, Willmott-Brown pressures Kathy to stay late at his flat. Then he rapes her. Den finds her crying in a corner. Soon The Dagmar is in flames, as Den watches the results of his handiwork. The police get called, and Willmott-Brown gets charged with rape. He claims Kathy consented.
- Arthur is sacked by the Karims.
- Cindy and Wicksy spend a night together.
- Barry leaves Walford to work as a DJ in a disco.
- Lou summons the family and distributes advice and 'treasures'. That night she dies in her sleep. Later Pete toasts 'that bloody old bag' in The Vic.
- Ethel and Benny Bloom are courting.
- Dot tries to stop smoking. However, the strain of hosting Sunday lunch for the Fowlers, and Charlie's theft of her holiday money, drive her into lighting up again.
- Ian passes his catering exams then starts work in Ali's café.
- Frank takes Wicksy on as a barman but Donna is sacked after a brawl with Cindy.
- Den is asked by The Firm to take the rap and go to jail for The Dagmar fire, so he decides to go on the run. He leaves money and 'insurance' statements with Pat.
- Joanne blackmails Rod into tipping off the police that Den is leaving.
- Frank's battleaxe of a mother, Mo Butcher, blusters in and clashes with Pat.
- Ricky Butcher is chatting up Shireen Karim.
- Donna, turfed out of Sharon's flat and Rod, turfed out of Mary's, move into a squat together.
- Sharon tells Duncan their engagement is off.
- Carmel agrees to allow her white boyfriend, Matthew, to move into her flat.
- Dr Legg and David disagree over whether or not to tell Colin that he has multiple sclerosis.
- At the magistrates' court, Pete lunges at Willmott-Brown.
- Den, dodging The Firm, gives himself up to the Manchester police and is sent to join Queenie, Barnsey and other grisly inmates of Dickens Hill Prison. Pat visits him there.
- Dot takes over the Square's Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
- Colin meets Guido Smith at the wine bar.
- Cindy, upset at spotting Wicksy with another girl, busies herself in helping Ian with catering jobs. At Pauline's, where the two boys are lodging, they fight over Cindy.
- Michelle, working at Dr Legg's surgery, becomes close to David.
- Pauline despairs as her home is turned into a tip by Ian and Wicksy.
- Ricky makes an unsuccessful play for Shireen when she babysits Vicki.
- Den is suspected of 'grassing' in jail.
- Kathy and Pete return from a holiday and she tells him she won't sleep with him any more.
- In Pat's absence, Mo causes havoc by rearranging things at The Vic.
- Ricky is paid to tidy up for Ian and Wicksy at the Fowlers' until Arthur finds out.
- Sohail Karim is keen on Diane Butcher but she isn't interested.
- Den is beaten up in his cell and Sharon winces at the sight of his bruises when she visits him.
- Pat informs Joanne that Den has not told the police about The Firm.
- Vic, a fellow prisoner, is tested for Aids.
- Rod rails Donna for taking heroin; she shrugs it off.
- Carmel and Matthew decide to get married.
- Ian drops Donna as a waitress when Rod tells him of her addiction.
- Ali and Mehmet, trying to run Ozcabs together, run up gambling debts in the wine bar. Ian loans them some money.
- Guido moves in with Colin.
- Shireen's father, angry at her having been alone with Ricky, asks Dr Legg to check that she's still a virgin, but he refuses.
- Pete is caught and charged with drinking and driving.
- Donna invites Ali to the squat for sex, only to blackmail him later.
- Ian and Michelle plan to work on Christmas Day, which wrecks the family celebrations.
- Nick Cotton moves into Den's cell and confesses that he was the one who killed Reg Cox.
Who lives where
- The Queen Victoria - Den and Angie Watts and Pat Wicks and Frank, Mo, Ricky and Diane Butcher
- 1B Albert Square - Ethel Skinner, Barry Clark and David Samuels
- 1C Albert Square - Lofty Holloway
- 3A Albert Square - Simon Wicks and Magda Czajkowski
- 3B Albert Square - Carmel, Darren, Junior and Aisha Roberts and Matthew Jackson
- 3C Albert Square - Colin Russell, Barry Clark and Guido Smith
- 5 Albert Square - Rod Norman and Donna Ludlow
- 23A Albert Square - Tom Clements and Mo Butcher
- 23B Albert Square - Mary and Annie Smith and Rod Norman
- 25 Albert Square - Charlie and Dot Cotton
- 43 Albert Square - James Willmott-Brown
- 43A Albert Square - Sharon Watts, Donna Ludlow, Michelle and Vicki Fowler
- 43C Albert Square - Donna Ludlow
- 45 Albert Square - Lou and Ian Beale and Simon Wicks and Arthur, Pauline, Michelle, Vicki and Martin Fowler
- 47B Albert Square - Ali, Sue and Little Ali Osman
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