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EastEnders Wiki
EastEnders Wiki

CivvyStreet was a one off special that aired on 26th December 1988. It featured characters from EastEnders played by young actors and also introduced new characters. The setting was in wartime London 1942 on the same set as EastEnders.

The episode was written and directed by the creators of EastEnders, Tony Holland and Julia Smith. It looked back at the early life of the residents of Albert Square and featured a young Lou Beale, Ethel Skinner and Reg Cox, who was a minor character found dead in the first ever episode of EastEnders in 1985.


Lou and her husband Albert are celebrating their marriage in Walford, and planning their happy life together when war is declared.

Albert is conscripted into the army, leaving Lou and her three children, Kenny, Harry and Ronnie behind. Lou's family rally around including her mother and sister Flo and her friends including young Ethel, dodgy Reg Cox and pub landlords Ray and Lil to keep her company. Lou worries that Albert will not return from war intact.

Lou is propositioned by a man named Richard in her husband's absence, but she stays faithful and she and Albert are reunited.

Ethel's parents are killed by an enemy bomb while she is sheltering with Lou in Walford East tube station. Ethel is also torn between the amorous advances of a GI and her admirer William.




  • Due to EastEnders high ratings at the time, the producers were asked to make a special Christmas episode. They decided to use the history that had been established for the Beale family and tell a wartime story featuring some of the show's characters.
  • Tony Holland was most upset to discover that Dot Cotton had been too young during the war to be featured as a useful character (she would have been six years old in 1942) and also complained that the major events of the war occurred in the wrong order for effective drama.
  • This was the only appearance of Albert Beale and William Skinner, as both had died by the time EastEnders began in 1985.
  • Radio Times synopsis: An EastEnders special by Tony Holland set around Christmas 1942. "Lou, stop feeling so bloody sorry for yourself. There's millions in the same state as you. There's millions a lot worse. You're not the only person in the world trying to get through a war, you know!"
  • A screening of CivvyStreet was shown in the United States on 19 October 2005 at WLIW's NYC studios. This was the first time this had been shown in the USA.
  • In December 2016, "CivvyStreet" was released on BBC Store part of the "EastEnders Christmas Classics 2" set but also available individually, and was available until the BBC Store closed on 1 November 2017.