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

Synopsis

Reg Cox has been missing for three days. Den Watts, landlord of the Queen Vic, Arthur Fowler and Ali Osman 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 Fowler has just finished her consultation with Dr Legg. As an ambulance arrives, Lou Beale and Ethel Skinner look on with Saeed Jeffrey, 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," he says. 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 doctor’s, 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?" she says. "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," she shouts. In contrast, Mark and Michelle greet the news with indifference. But 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, Dr Legg is on the phone to the hospital, about to go home. It’s clear that there is something suspicious about Reg Cox’s death, as he had suffered an injury. Meanwhile, in the Vic, Nick Cotton pushes things too far with Ali. "If only people had been good neighbours, like in the old days," he says. Nick and Ali start fighting, and Den has to vault the bar to separate them and throw them out.

Cast

Regular cast

Guest cast

Locations

Notes

Production

  • Julia Smith began her stint as the programme's first producer, relinquishing the role with Episode 417 on 2nd February 1989.
  • 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 (11 May 1993).
  • 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 an 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 bad 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 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..."
  • During this episode the Duff Duff appears during the end credits and not during the last scene of the episode.
  • This is the first episode of first sequence was used.

Transmission

  • This episode was originally shown on BBC1 on 19th February 1985 and as part of an omnibus edition on 24th February 1985.
  • 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).

Repeats

Releases

This episode was included on the following commercial releases:

Important dialogue

Den Watts: "Cor, stinks in 'ere, dunnit?" (first line spoken in EastEnders)


Arthur Fowler: "Reg." (after him, Den and Ali found the old man slumped unconscious)
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: Look at my shirt! Look at my bleedin' shirt! (After his shirt gets blood stains on it)


Nick Cotton: "Barred? Stuff your poxy boozer!" (last line spoken in the episode after Den Watts threw him out the pub following his bust-up with Ali, moments later he put his fist through the pub window leading to the shows first ever cliffhanger)


Eastenders Iconic Exits

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