A Spin-off - in media terms - is to derive a new television or radio programme, novel, video game or special video release from an existing (or previously existing) one.
EastEnders has had several spin-offs since the late-1980s, which have achieved varying degrees of success but none of which have, understandably, reached the same levels as its "parent". This article summarises those spin-offs, but separate pages go into further detail on each one.
The first spin-off from the programme was a flashback to World War II and was established in the Christmas period of 1942 and centred on the characters from the main installed programme, Lou Beale and Ethel Skinner in their prime. The episode was broadcasted on 26th December 1988 at 7.20pm and gained 7.00 million viewers. Seeing as the spin-off featured the characters of Lou and Ethel when they were younger, the characters were played by different actresses. Karen Meaghar pursued the role of Lou and Alison Bettles the role of Ethel.
This special aired on 1st October 2000 and was a lead-up to the return of Nick Cotton as a regular character in the main show, more than two years after his last appearance. It was written by Matthew Graham and directed by Chris Bernard. The episode followed Nick as he has just been released from prison. He then decided to meet up with his son Ashley and ex-wife Zoe, and during a barmy, with a couple of thugs, Nick was forced to flee and return to Walford with Ashley in tow.
This two-part spin-off aired on 13th May and 20th May 2002. The special was a lead up to Ricky Butcher's return later that year as a regular character in the main show. It was written by Simon Ashdown, and the episode saw Ricky reunite with his ex-wife Bianca Jackson and his son Liam in Manchester.
This spin-off first aired on 2nd January 2003 and followed Dot Branning to Wales to visit the family she stayed with during World War II. Through a series of flashbacks, the spin-off contains Dot being evacuated and her experiences of evacuation.
This feature-length episode first aired on 1st April 2004 and revealed what caused the feud between Pat Evans and Mo Harris that lasted until Pat's death in 2012. Pat and Mo meet at the grave of Pat's brother and Mo's husband, Jimmy, and reminisce about old times through a series of flashbacks. Mo's brother, Stan Porter also appeared in the episode. Young Pat was played by Emma Cooke, and young Mo was played by Lorraine Stanley.
Video and DVD specials
Several video specials were released over the years which mainly featured clips from the archives.
This 1998 spin-off video was a little focus on the Mitchell family and specifically the Mitchell brothers, Phil and Grant. When the two brothers find them myself together alone in the Vic after a fall-out, they reminisce on how they got there and reveal some dramatic secrets.
This special was a seventy-five-minute compilation of over 2000 EastEnders episodes and featured extensive interviews with past and present cast members, clips and hidden production secrets.
This DVD was released on 8th February 2010 to coincide with the show's 25th anniversary. It focused on the characters Tiffany Dean and Liam Butcher in the run-up to their mother Bianca Jackson's wedding to their father Ricky Butcher. The DVD also features cast interviews and archive footage.
This DVD was released in November 2018 and featured some of the show's most iconic moments from the last 34 years.
Beginning in 2010, the BBC has released several short spin-off specials on the EastEnders website which mostly link into and expanded on current plotlines within the programme.
E20 was an internet spin-off focusing on teen characters. A few of the characters went on to appear in the main show, but the majority never. It was written by a team of young writers and was shown on the EastEnders website in January 2010. A second series was commisioned for later in 2010, and a third series for 2011.
This internet mini-series, began in 2010, and featured Lauren Branning and gave an insight into her thoughts and feelings. A second series started in April 2011 and the episodes were featured on the EastEnders website.
This four-episode spin-off took on the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary and featured Kim Fox, working at her bed and breakfast.
BBC Red Button releases
Various mini-episodes appeared on the BBC Red Button, showing extra scenes. Below is a list of episodes that were released on the BBC Red Button, the links go into further detail.