30 January 2010

EastEnders 25th Anniversary - Post 1

EastEnders first burst on to our screens on 19 February 1985. And that's almost twenty-five years ago.

February 2010 sees the BBC soap celebrate its 25th anniversary, and '80s Actual will be adding to its current Albert Square posts with a short series looking back at some of the behind-the scenes-folk, characters and story-lines from the soap's birth decade, the 1980s.

The photo above shows Pete Beale (Peter Dean), his son (well, at least Pete thought it was), Simon Wicks (Nick Berry) and the fearsome Pat Wicks (Pam St Clement) enjoying a happy evening in the Queen Vic.

Pam St Clement had cut her soap teeth in that other ITV saga Emmerdale Farm. She briefly played a Mrs Eckersley. Debuting in episode 561 on 10 March 1980, she appeared in the Yorkshire farming saga for five episodes, bowing out in episode 565 on 25 March 1980.

Pam's character actually deputised for Emmerdale matriarch Annie Sugden, looking after the cooking and the kitchen at the farm whilst Annie took a holiday in Ireland.

Mrs Eckersley sang hymns as she trundled around Beckindale on her trusty old bike and was a thoroughly nice woman.

Pam St Clement made her debut as Pat Wicks in EastEnders in episode 138, broadcast on 12 June 1986.

Of course, Pat didn't sing hymns. And whilst many Walford locals regarded her as an old bike, she didn't ride one and nobody in those early days would have described her as trusty. Or as a thoroughly nice woman, come to that.

Not even after ten pints of Churchill's strong ale.

But times and soap characters change, and Pat is now an EastEnders favourite.

Click on our EastEnders label below for lots more '80s Albert Square stuff and look out for further 25th anniversary posts.

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