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EastEnders has had many storylines over the years, below are a few popular ones you might remember.

1980's

Reg Cox's death (1985)

When EastEnders first aired, the first storyline the viewer were faced with was Reg Cox's death. The first scenes saw Den Watts, Ali Osman and Arthur Fowler breaking into 23 Albert Square as they were concerned for Reg and found him dead in his chair.
Episode aired: 19 February 1985
Writer: Gerry Huxham
Director: Matthew Robinson
Viewers: 17.35 million

Reg Cox Death


Baby Hassan's cot death (1985)

The sudden tragedy of baby Hassan's cot death came as a surprise to both Ali and Sue Osman, as well as the audience since the bereaved parents were a couple whose feuding, fighting ways, had made them appear rather comical.
Episode aired: 20 June 1985
Writer: Jane Hollowood
Director: Sue Butterworth
Viewers: 11.70 million

Hassan's cot death


Den is revealed as the father of Michelle's baby (1985)

The mystery surrounding the identity of the father of Michelle's unborn baby was finally revealed in this classic EastEnders moment as a teenage Michelle waited by the canal for a secret rendezvous with 'Dirty' Den.
Episode aired: 3 October 1985
Writer: Tony Holland
Director: Julia Smith
Viewers: 17.75 million

Den and Michelle at the canal


Angie attempts suicide (1986)

It's no wonder that falling off the wagon was a regular occurrence in Angie's life being married to Den wasn't exactly a fairytale life. Following the first and long-awaited meeting with his ten-year mistress Jan Hammond and the misery that came along, Angie had had enough of life altogether and hated the fact she loved Den ever so dearly and decided to end it all in an act of suicide. Luckily Den found her in time.
Episode aired: 27 February 1986
Writer: Julia Schofield
Director: Mike Lloyd
Viewers: 23.70 million

Angie attempts suicide


Michelle jilts Lofty (1986)

It was blatantly obvious from the beginning that Michelle didn't truly love Lofty enough to settle down in married life and live a happy ever after. She cared for Lofty, but it wasn't the kind of care she had for Den the father of her baby. However, Michelle put her feelings aside and decided to marry Lofty. When the day finally arrived, Michelle made it to church but chose this day to put her feelings first and jilted Lofty at the altar. However, the pair did end up tying the knot in November, in a private registry office only surrounded by close family.
Episode aired: 30 September 1986
Writer: Tony McHale
Director: Mike Gibbon
Viewers: 22.35 million

Michelle jilts Lofty


Angie tells Den she has cancer (1986)

Angie can't think of any other way to stop Den Watts from leaving her for his girlfriend Jan Hammond. Angie tells Den she has cancer and Den says he will stay with her, but if he finds out she's lying he will kill her.
Episode aired: 16 October 1986
Writer: Jane Hollowood
Director: Antonia Bird
Viewers: 22.40 million

Angie tells Den Watts she has Cancer (16 October 1986)


Angie spills the beans on the Orient Express (1986)

Following the unbearable lie Angie told Den, the scandalous husband became the perfect man that sent Angie into a fright. He took her on a second honeymoon to Venice, but little did he know his mistress Jan was there with her hubby Dario Chimisso. Angie spotted the pair together and was heartbroken. Den wooed her once more and Angie couldn't take the dishonesty anymore and when at the bar scattered the beans to the barman of her lies not knowing that Den was sat behind her eavesdropping on the whole conversation.
Episode aired: 25 November 1986
Writer: Tony Holland
Director: Julia Smith
Viewers: 23.45 million

Angie spills the beans


Petition for divorce (1986)

Probably one of the most iconic scenes in the history of EastEnders, the shocking moment that had the nation at the edge of the seats when Den and his deedy ways handed poor Angie those daunting divorce papers. The classic episode was followed by a second part which is still dominated as the highest rated drama-serial episode ever to gain 30 million viewers.
Episode aired: 25 December 1986 -  Part 1
Writer: Tony Holland
Director: Julia Smith
Viewers: 29.55 million

Angie and Den


Arthur Fowler's breakdown (1986)

Arthur Fowler's mental health had been degenerating over the months following him been an unemployed resident of the community and having to steal the Christmas Club money in order to fund for his daughter's wedding in which she never went through, all ultimately driven to Arthur having a breakdown on Christmas Day 1986.
Episode aired: 25 December 1986 - Part 2
Writer: Tony Holland
Director: Julia Smith
Viewers: 30.15 million (Highest-rated episode of all time)

Episode195


Dot and Ethel's Solo Episode (1987)

Dot Cotton and Ethel Skinner reminisce about wartime evacuation, soldiers and sailors brawls in The Vic and their youth whilst babysitting baby Vicki in this excellent two-hander episode.
Episode aired: 2 July 1987
Writer: Charlie Humphreys
Director: Mike Gibbon
Viewers: 13.85 million

249


Darts Team's day out (1987)

The Queen Vic's women's darts team have a day out in Greenwich ahead of an away game in the nearby Isle of Dogs. During the trip Pauline befriends Derek Taylor, while Pat sneaks away and meets up with Frank Butcher.
Episode aired: 8 September 1987
Writer: John Maynard
Director: Tony Virgo
Viewers: 17.95 million

Dot Cotton, Ethel Skinner and Pauline Fowler on day out (8 September 1987)


Colin Kisses Barry on the forehead (1987)

Colin Russell kisses Barry Clark on the forehead, received a record number of complaints from angry viewers. In addition, the right-wing British press reacted with fury. They began a smear campaign, branding the programme "filth" and, for a while, dubbed the show "EastBenders .
Episode aired: 17 November 1987
Writer: Gilly Fraser
Director: Garth Tucker
Viewers: 22.85 million

Colin Russell Kisses Barry Clark on the Forehead (17 November 1987)


The Dagmar burnt down (1988)

The Dagmar gets burned down by Brad Williams on the orders of Den Watts, following owner Willmott-Brown's rape of Kathy.
Episode aired: 14 July 1988
Writer: Tony McHale
Director: Garth Tucker
Viewers: 19.45 million

The Dagmar Burnt Down


CivvyStreet (1988)

CivvyStreet the first spin-off, set during the second World War II saw characters Lou Beale and Ethel Skinner in their early years.
Episode aired: 26 December 1988
Writer: Tony Holland
Director: Julia Smith
Viewers: 7.00 million

CivvyStreet (BBC Store Picture)


First Gay Mouth Kiss (1989)

Colin Russell and Guido Smith first mouth-to-mouth gay kiss on British television. The Sun newspaper branded it a "love scene between yuppie poofs.
Episode aired: 24 January 1989
Writer: Gillian Richmond
Director: William Slater
Viewers: 17.60 million

Guido Smith and Colin Russell (24 January 1989)

Den's shooting (1989)

Den gets shot by a man concealing a gun inside a bunch of daffodils. He then falls in the canal.
Episode aired: 23 February 1989
Writer: John Lewis
Director: Julia Smith
Viewers: 24.08 million

Den gets shot


Donna's overdose (1989)

Donna Ludlow's life was far from typical or normal. Being the product of rape, gave up for adoption and when trying to reach out to your birth mother being turned away can't exactly bring roses and happiness. But Donna took a step in the wrong direction and found comfort in drugs, prostitution and lying her way through Walford. After months of trying to persuade Kathy to accept her as her daughter, living in the local squat, lying and cheating to the residents of Albert Square to fund her habits, Donna's dodgy deeds finally came to an end. Dot Cotton became Donna's samaritan but Donna was far beyond the point of being saved and took one last hit of Heroin as an act of suicide, and she was found dead on Dot's living room floor on the 13th April 1989 at the age of twenty-four.
Episode aired: 13 April 1989
Writer: Charlie Humphreys
Director: Garth Tucker
Viewers: 19.55 million

437


1990's

Nick tries to poison Dot (1990)

Nick Cotton wants Dot Cotton's money that she had won and convinces Dot that Charlie Cotton and Ethel Skinner are against her. Nick makes Dot a meal with it poisoned but later backs out of the idea.
Episode aired: 12 June 1990 and 14 June 1990
Writer: John Maynard
Director: Leonard Lewis
Viewers: 12.33 million and 14.43 million

Nick Cotton tries poison to Dot Cotton (1990)


Eddie Royle's murder (1991)

Eddie Royle is stabbed to death whilst taking Roly for an evening walk.
Episode aired: 10 September 1991
Writer: Tony McHale
Director: Geoff Feld
Viewers: 16.03 million

Episode688


Mark reveals his HIV status (1991)

Mark Fowler reveals to his parents Arthur and Pauline on Boxing Day that he has contracted HIV.
Episode aired: 26 December 1991
Writer: Tony McHale
Director: David Innes Edwards
Viewers: 18.87 million

Mark tells his parents he has HIV


Mark and Gill wedding (1992)

Mark and Gill Fowler are married.
Episode aired: 23 June 1992
Writer: Deborah Cook
Director: Leonard Lewis
Viewers: 15.50 million

Mark Fowler and Gill Fowler Wedding (1992)


Pat arrested (1992)

Pat Butcher is arrested for a hit and run.
Episode aired: 24 December 1992
Writer: Tony McHale
Director: Roger Gartland
Viewers: 24.30 million

Pat Butcher Arrested 2 (24 December 1992)


Grant released from prison (1993)

Grant Mitchell is released after serving time for assaulting Sharon Watts and Michelle Fowler.
Episode aired: 11 May 1993
Writer: Tony McHale
Director: Tony McHale
Viewers: 13.47 million

Grant Mitchell released from Prison (1993)


The Car Lot arson (1994)

Frank Butcher was in need of a large amount of money, so gets Phil Mitchell to torch the Car Lot in order to claim the insurance money. For a full story click here.
Episode aired: 8 March 1994
Writer: Matthew Graham
Director: Jo Johnson
Viewers: 18.69 million

Frank's Autos on Fire


Sharongate (1994)

Grant Mitchell plays a tape of Sharon Mitchell's confession of her affair with Phil Mitchell. For a full story click here.
Episode aired: 25 October 1994
Writer: Tony Jordan
Director: Chris Fallon
Viewers: 18.45 million

Sharongate (25 October 1994)


Arthur wrongly imprisoned (1995)

Arthur Fowler is elected as the secretary of the Walford Allotments committee and by the end of the year he has raised £20,000. Willy Roper, who needs the money to pay for his mother's nursing home costs, tricks Arthur into paying the money into different accounts. When the money goes missing completely Arthur gets all the blame.
Episode aired: 25 December 1995 - Part 1
Writer: Tony Jordan
Director: Philip Casson
Viewers: 15.18 million

Arthur Fowler Prison (December 1995)


Ian shot by a hitman (1996)

Ian Beale suspected his wife Cindy of having an affair. He hires a private investigator and it transpires she is cheating on Ian with David Wicks. Ian threatens to go to court and get custody of the children. Cindy later hires a hitman (John Valecue) to take him out. The gunshot wound did not kill Ian and he later recovers in hospital.
Episode aired: 7 October 1996
Writer: Rachel Pole
Director: Jonathan Dent
Viewers: 17.92 million

Ian Shot by a Hitman


Peggy finds out she has breast cancer (1996)

Peggy Mitchell finds out she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Initially she doesn't want to have the operation but she eventually goes through with a lumpectomy.
Episode aired: 5 December 1996
Writer: Rachel Pole
Director: Albert Barber
Viewers: 15.81 million

Peggy finds out she has Breast Cancer


Cindy returns for her children (1997)

Cindy Beale turns up on Christmas day wanting to see her children.
Episode aired: 25 December 1997
Writer: Tony McHale
Director: Haldane Duncan
Viewers: 12.90 million

Cindy returns durring Beale and Fowler Christmas Dinner (1997)


Bianca gives birth in The Vic (1998)

Bianca Butcher goes into labour in The Queen Victoria and is brought upstairs to give birth to Liam Butcher.
Episode aired: 25 December 1998 - Part 2
Writer: Annie Wood
Director: Paul Annett
Viewers: 22.14 million

Bianca gives birth in The Vic (1998)


Tiffany's death (1998)

Grant learns that Tiffany is going to try and leave the country with Courtney without him. Grant takes Courtney and tries to escape. Tiffany chases after them and is hit by Frank's car as he's coming round the corner.
Episode aired: 31 December 1998
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Jim Shields
Viewers: 18.48 million

Tiffney get knocked down


Phil tries to kill Grant (1999)

Phil Mitchell finds out about his brother Grant having a one night stand with Phil's ex wife Kathy Beale who he wanted to get back with. Phil and Grant are in a car and Phil fires at Grant's windows then fires at the dashboard, they then go plummeting into the River Thames.
Episode aired: 14 October 1999
Writer: Tony Jordan
Director: Paul Annett
Viewers: 19.42 million

Phil tries to kill Grant


2000's

Ethel's death (2000)

Ethel was dying from cancer and she asked dot to help her end her life.
Episode aired: 7 September 2000
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Francesca Joseph
Viewers: 16.15 million

Ethel and Dot


Sonia has an unexpected birth (2000)

Sonia Jackson begins to go into labour but has not idea she was pregnant in the first place. Sonia initially though she had just gained weight due to overeating.
Episode aired: 26 October 2000
Writer: Matthew Graham
Director: Clive Arnold
Viewers: 19.33 million

Sonia has an unexpected Birth


Phil gets shot (2001)

Phil hears the doorbell and opens the door and no one is there. He goes out and shouts "I know who you are, I know who you are, the next time I see you, i'm going to tan your backside, you hear me." Phil is then shot and falls down his outside steps. .
Episode aired: 1 March 2001
Writer: Christopher Reason
Director: Paul Annett
Viewers: 22.61 million

Phil get shot


Zoe's mother revealed (2001)

Zoe is walking away from Kat, Zoe shouts "you ain't my mother". Kat yells "Yes I am.
Episode aired: 1 October 2001
Writer: Tony Jordan
Director: Clive Arnold
Viewers: 16.94 million

Zoe and Kat Mother


Jim's marriage proposal (2001)

Jim asks Dot to marry him, while both of them are on the London Eye.
Episode aired: 24 December 2001
Writer: Gillian Richmond
Director: Mark Sendell
Viewers: 15.26 million

Jim's marriage proposal


Little Mo defends herself (2001)

Little Mo hits husband Trevor Morgan with an iron, in self defence. Click here to see the prop.
Episode aired: 31 December 2001
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Andy Hay
Viewers: 11.59 million

Little Mo Hits Trevor with the Iron New Year's Eve 2001


Steve Owen's death (2002)

Steve Owen plans to run to the United States with Melanie Owen , Lisa Fowler, her boyfriend Mark Fowler, and Lisa and Phil's daughter, Louise. Steve takes Louise in the car with him and Phil chases them in his car. Steve loses control of the car and crashes into a barrel of petrol against a wall. Phil runs up to the car and Steve passes Louise to Phil through the window but Phil is unable to rescue Steve and the car explodes, killing Steve.
Episode aired: 1 March 2002
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Richard Platt
Viewers: 12.57 million

Steve Owen stuck in a Burning Car


Jamie Mitchell's death (2002)

Jamie Mitchell is meeting Sonia Jackson and has bought her flowers and as he crosses the road to go into Bridge Street Café, he is hit by Martin Fowler's car. Jamie later dies in hospital from his injuries.
Episode aired: 25 December 2002 - Part 2
Writer: Carey Andrews
Director: Chris Jury
Viewers: 16.97 million

Jamie Mitchell Death (2002)


Den's returns alive (2003)

Den returns and surprises his step daughter Sharon who thought he was dead.
Episode aired: 29 September 2003
Writer: Sarah Phelps
Director: Michael Owen Morris
Viewers: 16.66 million

Den's Return


Janine pushes Barry (2004)

Janine is telling Barry she doesn't love him on a cliff and Barry tells Janine he knows that there is love in her and that they can find it together. Barry goes to grab Janine and she pushes him away, which results in him falling over the cliff edge.
Episode aired: 1 January 2004
Writer: James Payne
Director: Tim Leandro
Viewers: 14.58 million

Janine Murders Barry


Den dies again (2005)

Den is murdered by Chrissie after he assaulted her and says the words "You'll never get me out of the Vic!".Chrissie uses the The Queen Victoria bust to bash him in the head.
Episode aired: 18 February 2005
Writer: Sarah Phelps
Director: Peter Rose
Viewers: 14.34 million

Den's Death


Dennis' death (2005)

Dennis is walking Albert Square Gardens to meet Sharon at the New Year fireworks party but just as Sharon sees him he is stabbed by an unknown person. Years later we discover that it was Danny Moon who killed Dennis.
Episode aired: 30 December 2005
Writer: James Payne
Director: Peter Rose
Viewers: 12.64 million

Dennis's Death


Pauline's death (2006)

Pauline died from a brain hemorrhage caused by Joe Macer but she did not realise that she was dying and went into Albert Square and dropped dead in the Square garden in the snow on Christmas Day.
Episode aired: 25 December 2006 - Part 2
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Peter Rose
Viewers: 11.56 million

Pauline's Death


Max and Stacey's affair reveal (2007)

The Branning Family, Slater Family have all sat down on Christmas Day to open their presents and watch the TV but Max finds and unopened present under the tree for Bradley. It turns out to be a wedding DVD made by Lauren but Lauren says it's wrong, but the family still want to see it. Max puts it into the DVD player and after a while the DVD shows Max and Stacey kissing.
Episode aired: 25 December 2007 - Part 1
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Tim Mercier
Viewers: 11.97 million

Max and Stacey


Mad May's death (2008)

May Wright tries to kidnap Summer Swann and after her failed attempt May goes down the stairs to the kitchen and lights a cigarette, which causes the gas coming from the oven to explode.
Episode aired: 18 June 2008
Writer: Mark Hiser and Dominique Moloney
Director: Michael Owen Morris
Viewers: 8.39 million

27 Albert Square Fire


Wellard's death (2008)

Wellard was fed chocolate by Bianca Jackson, causing him to suffer from theobromine poisoning.
Episode aired: 15 August 2008
Writer: Richard Davidson
Director: Richard Platt
Viewers: 7.84 million

Wellard Dies (15 August 2008)


Danielle's death (2009)

Danielle is walking down Turpin Road and is hit by a speeding car driven by Janine. Seconds earlier Ronnie just found out Danielle was her thought-to-be-dead daughter.

After the episode aired 41,000 fans complained about the ending of this episode.
Episode aired: 2 April 2009
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Tim Mercier
Viewers: 11.46 million

Danielle Jones Death


Stacey bipolar (2009)

After the death of Stacey's friend Danielle, Stacey becomes more and more paranoid throughout the episode. Stacey smashes her bedroom up and she is later taken away by the police.
Episode aired: 15 May 2009
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: John Greening
Viewers: 8.36 million

Stacey Slater Bipolar (2009)


Trina's death (2009)

Trina is alone with Lucas in a shed in Walford allotments. Trina starts to kiss Lucas, who says no. He shoves her away from him and Trina falls into a rake. When she turns around she is holding her neck as it stuck into the rake and she is losing blood. Lucas does not help her and just walks away.
Episode aired: 3 September 2009
Writer: Rob Gittins
Director: Steve Finn
Viewers: 8.33 million

Lucus kills Trina


2010's

The Vic on fire (2010)

Phil is going cold turkey from his crack cocaine addiction. Phil accuses his mother Peggy of loving the pub more that him and then sets the pub on fire.
Episode aired: 9 September 2010
Writer: Simon Ashdown
Director: Lee Salisbury
Viewers: 9.40 million

Queen Vic Fire


Baby swap (2011)

After James Branning dies from cot death, Ronnie Branning swaps her baby with Tommy Moon.
Episode aired: 1 January 2011
Writer: Jeff Povey
Director: Michael Owen Morris
Viewers: 9.94 million

Baby Swap (1 January 2011)


Yusef's death (2011)

The B&B has problems with water dripping all over the house. The water then drips in exposed electrics and sparks fly into a box of fireworks stored in the B&B and cause a huge fire. Phil, Denise, Tamwar and Masood are all trapped inside. Yusef reveals that Masood is trapped inside but Zainab lies and tells him his daughter Afia is still inside. Yusef runs inside which leads to his death.
Episode aired: 26 December 2011
Writer: Pete Lawson
Director: Michael Owen Morris
Viewers: 11.27 million

B&B Fire


Ian's breakdown (2012)

After Ian has an emotional breakdown he goes missing from Albert Square but two months later is spotted by Lauren. Lauren tells her her parents Tanya and Max. They bring him back to the square with the assistance of Alfie Moon.
Episode aired: 31 July 2012
Writer: Pete Lawson
Director: Michael Owen Morris
Viewers: 6.16 million

Ian homeless


Liam Butcher joins a gang (2013)

Liam Butcher falls in with the wrong crowd on the Byron Estate and ends up joining a gang.
Episode aired: 26 March 2013
Writer: Rob Gittins
Director: Rebecca Gatward
Viewers: 7.39 million

Byron Estate Gang


Johnny tells Mick that he's gay (2014)

Johnny Carter emotionally reveals to Mick Carter that he is gay.
Episode aired: 3 January 2014
Writer: Daran Little
Director: Rebecca Gatward
Viewers: 8.24 million

Johnny tells Mick he's Gay (2014)


Nick Cotton fake funeral (2014)

Nick Cotton get his son Charlie Cotton to fake his death and have a fake funeral with the help of Les Coker.
Episode aired: 25 March 2014
Writer: Daran Little
Director: John Greening
Viewers: 7.88 million

Nick Cotton fake funeral


Ian tells Peter that Lucy is dead (2014)

After Ian finds out Lucy is dead then he has to go and tell Peter.
Episode aired: 22 April 2014
Writer: James Payne
Director: Rebecca Gatward
Viewers: 9.06 million

Peter finds out Lucy is dead


Alfie insurance scam (2014)

Alfie is struggling for money so he decides to light a cigarette and throw it in a waste paper bin and claim on his house insurance. He starts the fire unaware that Kat is upstairs. He walks aways from the house and lets it burn. When he rings Kat and finds that she is still inside the house he runs in to save her.
Episode aired: 16 September 2014
Writer: Patrick Homes
Director: Steve Finn
Viewers: 7.40 million

Alfie Fire


Kathy returns from the dead (2015)

Kathy Sullivan returns during EastEnders 30th Anniversary episode. She arrives in a black taxi cab and gets out and says "Hello Phil".
Episode aired: 19 February 2015 ("Look Back in Anger")
Writer: Rob Gittins
Director: Karl Neilson
Viewers: 11.36 million

Kathy Sullivan Returns (2015)


Bobby admits to kill Lucy in the Queen Vic (2016)

Bobby Beale loses his temper and hits his mum Jane Beale over the head with a hockey stick repeatedly. He then went over to The Queen Victoria to tell Ian Beale what had happened saying "I killed Mum .. just like I killed Lucy" and everyone in the pub hears him.
Episode aired: 23 May 2016
Writer: Matt Evans
Director: Richard Lynn
Viewers: 6.75 million

Bobby Beale Confesses (23 May 2016)


Bex beaten up (2017)

Madison Drake and Alexandra D'Costa beat up Bex Fowler in the school toilets as retaliation for her telling Walford High School that they and Louise Mitchell were behind the sending of the nude photo of Shaki Kazemi.
Episode aired: 17 March 2017 - Part 1
Writer: Rob Gittins
Director: Kate Saxon
Viewers: 6.60 million

Bex Fowler beat up (17 March 2017 Part 1)


Shakil Kazemi funeral (2018)

Shakil Kazemi's funeral featured real examples of people showing pictures of family member who have been victims of knife crime. This lead on to EastEnders: The Real Stories.
Episode aired: 6 July 2018
Writer: Peter McKenna
Director: John Greening
Viewers: 5.72 million

Shakil Kazemi Funeral (6 July 2018)


Dr Leggs Death (2019)

Dr Legg passes away peaceful whilst watching a documentary "The Battle of Cable Street".
Episode aired: 15 February 2019
Writer: David Tucker
Director: Rob Gittins
Viewers: 6.03 million

Episode 5870
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