‘Cor, stinks in here,’ were the immortal words that ushered in the BBC’s most ambitious new show in 1985. Many critics said EastEnders would never catch on, that it was too depressing, and that its characters lacked the warmth of established rivals like Coronation Street. But, unlike other pretenders to the soap throne such as Albion Market and El Dorado, EastEnders stayed the distance. And it’s not doing too badly really, is it?

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