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Episode 1 (listed as Episode 1, 19/02/1985, also titled Poor Old Reg... and Murder in Albert Square) of EastEnders was first broadcast on 19 February 1985 and was written by Gerry Huxham, directed by Matthew Robinson and produced by, co-creator, Julia Smith.


The whereabouts of a missing elderly resident of Albert Square is revealed. Arthur and Pauline have a secret that they won't be able to keep for long. There is trouble in the Queen Victoria pub.

Reg has been missing for three days. Den, landlord of the Queen Vic, Arthur and Ali break into his room and find him slumped in his chair. At first, they think he's drunk, but soon realise it's something more serious.

Den rushes over to the doctor's surgery, where Pauline has just finished her consultation with Doctor Legg. As an ambulance arrives, Lou and Ethel look on with shopkeeper Saeed, who raised the alarm.

Pauline is pregnant. She and her husband Arthur know that when Pauline's mother Lou finds out, there's going to be trouble. When Lou comes into the launderette, she wants all the gossip on Reg, so Arthur describes what they saw - "there he was, sitting in his chair like he was watching telly." Lou can't believe that his neighbours, Ali and Sue, didn't notice anything, but Arthur can't imagine anyone going out of their way for Reg. Then Lou asks Pauline what she was doing at the doctors, but Pauline won't let on.

In the café, Lou suggests that Sue and Ali are to blame. Sue flies off the handle, accusing her of being a hypocrite. In her view, no one cared about Reg - he was a nasty old drunk. Lou licks her wounds with Pete and Kathy in the market. Pete teases her, explaining to her that the community spirit went out when the Tories came in. Later, when Kathy goes to the café to get some tea, Sue has a go at her as well - "You lot, neighbours? First chance you get, you can't wait to point the finger."

Lou is mad at Pauline and Arthur after they tell her about the baby - "having a kid when you're on the dole, at your age, you want your heads examining!" In contrast, Mark and Michelle greet the news with indifference. Pauline, jumping to Arthur's defence, soon loses her temper with her mother. She tells her that it's got nothing to do with her.

In his surgery, Doctor Legg is on the phone to the hospital, about to go home. There is something suspicious about Reg's death, as he had suffered an injury.

Meanwhile, in the Vic, Nick pushes things too far with Ali - "if only people had been good neighbours, like in the old days." Nick and Ali start fighting and Den has to vault the bar to separate them and throw them out.


Main cast[]

Recurring cast[]

Guest cast[]


  • Willy - unknown actor (uncredited)
  • Roly - Roly (uncredited)



  • Julia Smith began her stint as the programme's first producer. She relinquished the role on Episode 417 (2 February 1989).
  • First appearances of Lou Beale, Pauline Fowler, Arthur Fowler, Michelle Fowler, Mark Fowler, Pete Beale, Kathy Beale, Ian Beale, Den Watts, Angie Watts, Sharon Watts, Ethel Skinner, Doctor Harold Legg, Nick Cotton, Sue Osman, Ali Osman, Saeed Jeffery, Naima Jeffery, Hassan Osman, Tracey, Martha, Willy, and Roly. They are all original characters.
  • Only appearance and death of Reg Cox.
  • Thirty years later, the first scene is mirrored when Stacey Branning, Martin Fowler and Kush Kazemi find a lifeless Nick Cotton in an armchair inside Number 23 (19 February 2015).
  • The serial's first title sequence is a black-and-white aerial shot with a blue river of the Thames in the East End of London. The sequence was used until Episode 863 on 11 May 1993.
  • Despite this episode being broadcasted in 1985, the Roman numerals in the copyright credit read 'MCMLXXXIV' as it is dated 1984.
  • The first 'Doof-Doof' is played over the writer's credit rather than the last frame of the scene.
  • For the first nineteen scripts, every episode was given a unique title instead of just the episode number which was ordered by show co-creator Tony Holland. Therefore, this episode was named Poor Old Reg rather than Episode 1.
  • In error with the production code, Episode 1 was given the overall code of LDL G100K when it should have been LDL G001D.
  • After the first episode was broadcast, the BBC received some telephone calls complaining that the new soap contained too much foul language and was violent. A BBC spokeswoman said, "There have been some complaints about the violence and the language. There was a fight at the end, but there was no blood or guts. I only counted one 'bloody' in the whole episode."
  • The morning after the first episode they had broadcast members of the cast appeared on Breakfast Time. The breakfast television programme the night before had taken a camera to a real East End pub to ask viewers their opinions after the first episode had broadcast. The reviews were mixed with quotes such as "The East-end's not like that!, I won't be giving up Coronation Street" and "Not bad. I'll be switching on to episode two."
  • Radio Times synopsis: "Poor old Reg..."
  • Although transmitted on 19 February 1985 it was first shown along with Episode 2 (21 February 1985) at noon to the press reception.
  • This episode was originally shown on BBC1 on 19 February 1985 and as part of an omnibus edition on 24 February 1985.
  • The first episode has been repeated many times since its first broadcast including: 1 November 1992 on UK Gold, 20 February 1995 at 10.05 on BBC 1, August 1996 on UK Gold, 17 February 2000 at 23.30 on BBC Choice, 16 February 2015 at 03.00 on BBC Red Button and 6 August 2018 at 12.00 on Drama and 13.00 on Drama+1.
  • Official ratings from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board showed that the episode was watched by 17.35 million people, including those who watched the Sunday omnibus, achieving third place in the British Top 100 programmes for that week. Excluding the omnibus, it was watched by 13 million people.
  • Viewing Figures: First UK broadcast - 13,000,000 homes (3rd place).
  • This episode was included on the following commercial releases: EastEnders: Iconic Exits released by the BBC Store and later Amazon Prime in May 2016.


DEN WATTS: Cor, stinks in 'ere, dunnit? (first line spoken in EastEnders)

ARTHUR FOWLER (finding the old man slumped unconscious): Reg.
ALI OSMAN: He's dead!
DEN WATTS: Dead drunk.
ALI OSMAN: No, he's dead!
ARTHUR FOWLER: No, no, he's not. I can still feel his pulse.

DEN WATTS (after his shirt gets blood stains on it): Look at my shirt! Look at my bleedin' shirt!

NICK COTTON: Barred? Stuff your poxy boozer! (last line spoken in the episode after Den threw him out of the pub following his bust-up with Ali; moments later he put his fist through the pub window, leading to the show's first ever cliffhanger)


Eastenders Iconic Exits

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