Cancún

Satellite photo of Cancún

Cancún is a coastal city in Mexico's easternmost state, Quintana Roo. It is the municipal seat of Benito Juárez municipality and a world renowned tourist resort.

Geography

The average temperature in Cancún is 27° C (80° F) with more than 240 days of sunshine, and rain is rare, with late August through early October being the rainy season. The beaches are almost 100 percent limestone; the porous quality of the limestone makes for cool sand even under the intense tropical sun. Cancún is divided into two parts: The narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancún Island) is lined with modern beachfront hotels surrounded by the Bahía de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. The mainland downtown commercial section (Cancún City), connected to the island by two bridges, has broad avenues lined with whitewashed shops, restaurants, and hotels.

History

In the early 1950s Cancun was an almost unpopulated and undeveloped island just off the Caribbean Sea coast of the Yucatán peninsula, home to three caretakers of a coconut plantation and small Pre-Columbian ruins of the Maya civilization. The government of Mexico decided to develop a tourist resort on Cancun, which was originally financed by a USD $27 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. A causeway was built to link Cancun to the mainland, and an international airport was built, along with what was at first a model city for workers, complete with housing, schools and medical facilities. On the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea is Nichupte Lagoon, which is used for boat and snorkelling tours of the area.

Although many international publications now spell Cancun as Cancún, in the area itself it is usually Cancún in Spanish and Cancun in English. This is probably a result of the fact that English-language type faces available in the early days of Cancun did not have accented characters, or the operators did not know how to access them because the keyboard codes were different from the ones they were accustomed to using. The Spanish is not really correct either. In Spanish, the accent usually falls on the second syllable. In the case of a two-syllable word, you would only use an accent to indicate that the stress falls on the first syllable, as in López.

The earliest known reference to Cancun called it Cancuen. There's also a site in Guatemala called Cancuen. Cancuen refers to a snake totem, usually identified with Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent). The romanization of Mayan words varies, but it is common to use an apostrophe to indicate a kind of glottal stop. It is probable that some Yucatecan or Mexican Mayanist wrote the name as Cancu'en, which was turned into Cancún by someone at the predecessor of Fonatur, the Mexican government tourism development fund that created Cancun. The belief that Cancun means "nido de viboras" (nest of snakes) is modern folklore, according to according to long-time resident Jules Siegel, author of the Cancun User's Guide.

Development of Cancun started in 1970 and grew rapidly in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the original very sensible master plan was repeatedly modified and, on the mainland, often ignored. Siegel who was the translator of Fernando Martí's "Cancun, Fantasy of Bankers," municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for the constant influx of people, as well as to control squatters and irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city, he says.

Despite initial skepticism that forced the Mexican government to finance the first eight hotels, Cancún soon attracted investors from all over the world, but approximately 70% of the Hotel Zone properties are owned by Mexicans, many of them local residents, Siegel says. The figure is close to 100% for the mainland. Some observers believe that the resort is foreign-owned because they are confused by the hotel operating companies, which are international companies that supply administration and marketing services. They do not usually own the hotels themselves. Even outlets of restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Domino's Pizza are Mexican-owned.

The city has grown rapidly over the past thirty years to become a city of approximately 750,000 residents, covering the former island and the nearby mainland. Most 'cancunenses' here are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. A growing number are from the rest of America and Europe.

The city Cancun and its flourishing tourism industry were heavily damaged by Hurricane Wilma, which hit the area on October 22, 2005.

Environmental concerns

Although some environmentalists claim that Cancún is an environmental disaster, Siegel says that is not true. There has obviously been environmental damage and the situation could deteriorate rapidly, he reports, but at present (February 2005) Cancún's main problem is a breakdown of garbage collection and disposal as a result of political conflicts that will hopefully be solved by a new administration elected February 6, 2005. Sewage treatment is another danger point, he says. Although approximately 75% of the city has public sewer lines, many homes rely on septic tanks. The underground water table is beginning to show symptoms of contamination, but by the standards of most populated areas in the United States the water is still relatively clean.

"You can see the bottom of the Caribbean off Cancún in satellite photographs," Siegel says. He discusses this and other issues at length on his website, http://www.cafecancun.com.

Tourism in Cancún

The beach in Cancún

In Cancún there are about 140 hotels with 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. Four million visitors arrive each year in an average of 190 flights daily. The hotel zone is one of the most exclusive internationally, with upmarket restaurants, bars, and the like which have catered for quite a number of the rich and famous. The hotel zone tends to be rather expensive as it is aimed at visitors and relies on the all inclusive hotels to keep them all in this area allowing prices to soar. Downtown is home to less expensive places to shop like Walmart, Comercial Mexicana and Soriana, not to mention several flea markets like the one in the hotel zone.

Around March and April, Cancún experiences a flood of college students (usually from the United States) who travel to Cancún to party. For just about all of these students, drinking alcohol is usually the reason why they come to Cancún. The drinking age in Mexico is 18; while in the United States, it is 21.

Downtown Cancún gives us a different aspect. There are also many clubs for all types of people, including gay clubs like Karamba or Glow, but the hotels are more accessible to all types of travelers, including some with lower rates. International brands in Downtown area are Radisson Hacienda Cancún, Best Western Plaza Caribe, Oasis America.

Ruins in Cancún

The temperature of the city is warm, moderated by the marine breeze which circulates through its avenues. The temperatures are typically between 26°C and 36°C (78.8°F and 96.8°F).

Cancún's hotel zone also has an interactive aquarium where visitors can see the marine diversity of the area, swim with dolphins and feed sharks. Here and there in the hotel zone are some ancient ruins.

The main language in Cancún is Spanish, although English is widely spoken throughout the tourist areas. Mayan dialects are also spoken between some workers and people born in the Yucatán peninsula.

Cancún is served by Cancún International Airport.

Hurricane Wilma

Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the third Category 5 hurricane of the season, beating the records set by the 1960 and 1961 seasons. At its peak, it was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and the tenth most intense globally, with the lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere of 882 millibars (26.05 inHg) at sea level, exceeding the record previously held by Hurricane Gilbert that also impacted the Peninsula of Yucatán some years ago.

Visible image of Hurricane Wilma near record intensity with a central pressure of 882 millibars. Image captured by satellite at 1315Z (9:15 EDT) on October 19, 2005.

On October 21, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with winds in excess of 150 mph. The hurricane's eye first passed over the island of Cozumel, and then made an official landfall near Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo at around midnight on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph. Portions of the island of Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. The eye slowly drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of Cancún, Quintana Roo. Some portions of the Yucatán Peninsula experienced hurricane force winds for well over 24 hours. The hurricane began accelerating in the early morning hours of October 23, exiting the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula and entering the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm.

Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula, particularly in Cancun. At least three deaths have been reported, numerous people have disappeared, and the insured damage is estimated at between US$5 and US$8 billion. The devastation was almost total with many of the principal roadways from the Hotel Zone completely flooded and damaged. It has been estimated that 95% of the tourism infrastructure was seriously damaged. Once the storm left the peninsula, some of the beautiful beaches of Cancun had been washed away. Thousands of local and foreign tourists were hosted in improvised refuges. All the Airport and Harbor Operations were cancelled between October 21 to the 25 due to the worst weather conditions.

Photo taken from the balcony of a Cancún hotel at the height of the storm.

It is estimated that after Wilma left Cancun, the local tourist industry lost over US $15 Million daily. Many houses were devastated, and many jobs were lost. However, thanks to the aid and support of local and state governments, the federal government, the Red Cross, and civil associations. reconstruction has been possible. American actor Mel Gibson donated an important amount of money to help the people in distress.

There was an exhaustive campaign by the media that featured public figures, including the President Vicente Fox, actors, musicians, etc. to aid people who suffered. The people's response was immediate and impresionant. People from all social strata helped carry water bottles to donate money in special bank accounts that principal banks created. It was estimated that Cancun will be completely ready to face the demanding vacationist wave on December 2005.

Today, Cancun once more lives and remains an attractive option to local and foreign tourists from all over the world.

Sister cities

  • Miami, Florida, United States
  • Wichita, Kansas, United States

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Today, Cancun once more lives and remains an attractive option to local and foreign tourists from all over the world. She quotes endlessly from the Bible and it ridicules [religion] to some extent.". It was estimated that Cancun will be completely ready to face the demanding vacationist wave on December 2005. Dr Indarjit Singh, the editor of the Sikh Messenger and patron of the World Congress of Faiths, said: "EastEnders' Dot Cotton is an example. People from all social strata helped carry water bottles to donate money in special bank accounts that principal banks created. The BBC was criticised of anti-religious bias by a committee in the House of Lords, examples of this suggestion included EastEnders. The people's response was immediate and impresionant. In 2003, Shaun Williamson who played Barry Evans, said that the programme had become much grittier over the past 10 to 15 years, and found it "frightening" that parents let their young children watch.

to aid people who suffered. Erin Pizzey, who became internationally famous for having started one of the first Women's Refuges, said that EastEnders had done more to raise the issue of violence against women in one story than she had done in twenty-five years. There was an exhaustive campaign by the media that featured public figures, including the President Vicente Fox, actors, musicians, etc. However, a helpline after this episode attracted over 2000 calls. American actor Mel Gibson donated an important amount of money to help the people in distress. Complaints against a scene in which Little Mo's face was shoved in gravy on Christmas day, were upheld by the Broadcasting Standards Council. reconstruction has been possible. As EastEnders is shown pre-watershed, there were worries that scenes of this storyline were too graphic for its audience.

However, thanks to the aid and support of local and state governments, the federal government, the Red Cross, and civil associations. EastEnders is often criticised for being too violent, most notably during a domestic violence storyline between Little Mo and husband Trevor. Many houses were devastated, and many jobs were lost. In 2002 EastEnders also won an award from the Mental Health Media Awards held at BAFTA for this storyline. It is estimated that after Wilma left Cancun, the local tourist industry lost over US $15 Million daily. The chief executive of the NSPCC praised the storyline, for covering the subject in a direct and sensitive way, coming to the conclusion that people were more likely to report any issues relating to child protection because of it. All the Airport and Harbor Operations were cancelled between October 21 to the 25 due to the worst weather conditions. The child abuse storyline with Kat and her uncle Harry, saw calls to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) go up by 60%.

Thousands of local and foreign tourists were hosted in improvised refuges. Though, one campaigner noted that in some ways the storyline was not reflective of what was happening at the time as the condition was more common among the gay community. Once the storm left the peninsula, some of the beautiful beaches of Cancun had been washed away. The long-running storyline of Mark Fowler's HIV was so successful in raising awareness that in 1999 a survey by the National Aids Trust found teenagers got most of their information about HIV from the soap. It has been estimated that 95% of the tourism infrastructure was seriously damaged. The stars of Coronation Street in particular aligned themselves with Mary Whitehouse, gaining headlines such as 'STREETS AHEAD! RIVALS LASH SEEDY EASTENDERS' and 'CLEAN UP SOAP! Street Star Bill Lashes 'Steamy' EastEnders'. The devastation was almost total with many of the principal roadways from the Hotel Zone completely flooded and damaged. Her criticisms were widely reported in the tabloid press as ammunition in its existing rivalry with the BBC.

At least three deaths have been reported, numerous people have disappeared, and the insured damage is estimated at between US$5 and US$8 billion. She also felt that EastEnders had been cleaned up as a result of her protests, though she later commented that EastEnders had returned to its old ways. Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula, particularly in Cancun. However Whitehouse also praised the programme, describing Michelle Fowler's decision not to have an abortion as a 'very positive storyline'. The hurricane began accelerating in the early morning hours of October 23, exiting the northeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula and entering the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm. She was also critical of language such as 'bleeding', 'bloody hell', 'bastard' and 'For Christ's sake'. Some portions of the Yucatán Peninsula experienced hurricane force winds for well over 24 hours. She made reference to representation of family life and emphasis on psychological and emotional violence within the show.

The eye slowly drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of Cancún, Quintana Roo. She regarded EastEnders as a fundamental assault on the family and morality itself. Portions of the island of Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. Mary Whitehouse argued at the time that EastEnders represented a violation of 'family viewing time' and that it undermined the watershed policy. The hurricane's eye first passed over the island of Cozumel, and then made an official landfall near Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo at around midnight on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph. EastEnders has received both praise and criticism for most of its storylines which have dealt with difficult themes, such as violence, rape and murder. On October 21, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with winds in excess of 150 mph. It is also shown on the British Forces Broadcasting Service's main TV channel, BFBS1, to members of HM Forces stationed around the world.

At its peak, it was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and the tenth most intense globally, with the lowest atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere of 882 millibars (26.05 inHg) at sea level, exceeding the record previously held by Hurricane Gilbert that also impacted the Peninsula of Yucatán some years ago. In Ireland, it is shown on RTÉ One at the same time as BBC One, which is also widely received in the country. It was also the third Category 5 hurricane of the season, beating the records set by the 1960 and 1961 seasons. In New Zealand, it was shown by TVNZ on TV One, but is now on Prime. Wilma was the twenty-first named storm, twelfth hurricane, and sixth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. Currently the series is seen in Australia only on pay-TV channel UK.TV. Cancún is served by Cancún International Airport. The series was screened in Australia by the ABC from 1987 until the early 1990s.

Mayan dialects are also spoken between some workers and people born in the Yucatán peninsula. The American PBS channel, KOCE-TV ran the show one episode per week from 1990 to 1993. The main language in Cancún is Spanish, although English is widely spoken throughout the tourist areas. Episodes from prior years are still shown on various PBS stations in the US. Here and there in the hotel zone are some ancient ruins. At that point, Dish stopped its double-helping schedule, and now maintains the schedule of airing the new programmes consistently one month behind the UK schedule. Cancún's hotel zone also has an interactive aquarium where visitors can see the marine diversity of the area, swim with dolphins and feed sharks. In approximately February, 2005, the programming reached the point of being one month behind the new shows being aired in the UK.

The temperatures are typically between 26°C and 36°C (78.8°F and 96.8°F). Dish first broadcast two weeks' worth of shows each week to get caught up. The temperature of the city is warm, moderated by the marine breeze which circulates through its avenues. In June, 2004, the Dish Satellite Network picked up EastEnders, airing episodes starting at the point where BBC America had ceased broadcasting them, offering the serial as a Pay-per-View item. International brands in Downtown area are Radisson Hacienda Cancún, Best Western Plaza Caribe, Oasis America. It is still shown on BBC Prime in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and on BBC Canada in Canada. There are also many clubs for all types of people, including gay clubs like Karamba or Glow, but the hotels are more accessible to all types of travelers, including some with lower rates. The series aired in the United States until BBC America ceased broadcasts of the serial in 2003, amidst fan protests.

Downtown Cancún gives us a different aspect. EastEnders is aired around the world in many English-speaking countries, including New Zealand and Canada. The drinking age in Mexico is 18; while in the United States, it is 21. The current series has now finished. For just about all of these students, drinking alcohol is usually the reason why they come to Cancún. The series goes behind the scenes of the show and talks to some of the cast members. Around March and April, Cancún experiences a flood of college students (usually from the United States) who travel to Cancún to party. The show is presented by Angelica Bell and available to digital viewers at 8.30 PM on Monday nights.

Downtown is home to less expensive places to shop like Walmart, Comercial Mexicana and Soriana, not to mention several flea markets like the one in the hotel zone. As part of the BBC's digital push, EastEnders Xtra was introduced in 2005. The hotel zone tends to be rather expensive as it is aimed at visitors and relies on the all inclusive hotels to keep them all in this area allowing prices to soar. They are showing 5 episodes which means that 5 week's worth of episodes are shown every 4 weeks, which results in a catch-up rate of around 3 months a year). The hotel zone is one of the most exclusive internationally, with upmarket restaurants, bars, and the like which have catered for quite a number of the rich and famous. EastEnders is usually repeated on BBC3 at 10:00 PM and old reruns can often be seen on UKTV Gold (As of February 2006, UKTV Gold are showing episodes originally aired in November 2002. Four million visitors arrive each year in an average of 190 flights daily. On Wednesday 28th December 2005, Eastenders aired for the first time on a Wednesday night as part of the New Year's Eve storyline leading up to Dennis' death.

In Cancún there are about 140 hotels with 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. In March of the same year, as Peter Fincham became the BBC One controller, rumours were sparked that EastEnders could air in a new time slot. He discusses this and other issues at length on his website, http://www.cafecancun.com. Newspaper reports indicated that the show faced being taken off air for a fortnight after a storyline shortage, however this was denied by the BBC. "You can see the bottom of the Caribbean off Cancún in satellite photographs," Siegel says. In February 2005, there were reports that the EastEnders schedule was threatened due to production problems. The underground water table is beginning to show symptoms of contamination, but by the standards of most populated areas in the United States the water is still relatively clean. This was to coincide with the relaunch of the channel and helped BBC3 break the one million viewers for the first time with 1.03 million who watched to see Mark Fowler's departure.

Although approximately 75% of the city has public sewer lines, many homes rely on septic tanks. In early 2003, viewers could watch episodes of EastEnders on digital channel BBC3 before they were broadcast on BBC One. Sewage treatment is another danger point, he says. An episode of EastEnders Revealed which was commissioned for BBC3 attracted 611,000 viewers. There has obviously been environmental damage and the situation could deteriorate rapidly, he reports, but at present (February 2005) Cancún's main problem is a breakdown of garbage collection and disposal as a result of political conflicts that will hopefully be solved by a new administration elected February 6, 2005. EastEnders Revealed is the only BBC Choice programme to last the entire life of the channel and is still running on BBC3. Although some environmentalists claim that Cancún is an environmental disaster, Siegel says that is not true. In 1998, EastEnders Revealed was launched on BBC Choice (now BBC3), the show takes a look behind the scenes of the show and investigates particular places, characters or families within EastEnders.

The city Cancun and its flourishing tourism industry were heavily damaged by Hurricane Wilma, which hit the area on October 22, 2005. In this first head-to-head battle, EastEnders claimed victory over its rival. A growing number are from the rest of America and Europe. The move immediately provoked an angry response from ITV insiders, who argued that the BBC's last-minute move - only revealed at 3.30 PM on the day - broke an unwritten scheduling rule that the two flagship soaps would not be put directly against each other. Most 'cancunenses' here are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. This caused some controversy as it clashed with Coronation Street, which at the time was moved to 8.00 PM to make way for an hour long episode of rural soap Emmerdale at 7.00 PM. The city has grown rapidly over the past thirty years to become a city of approximately 750,000 residents, covering the former island and the nearby mainland. EastEnders then added its fourth episode (shown on Fridays) on August 10th 2001.

Even outlets of restaurant chains such as McDonald's and Domino's Pizza are Mexican-owned. EastEnders output then increased to thrice after Coronation Street added an extra episode - in response to competition from EastEnders. They do not usually own the hotels themselves. Realising the futility of the situation, Grade decided to move the show to the later 7:30PM slot, but to avoid tabloid speculation that it was a 'panic move' on the BBC's behalf, they had to "dress up the presentation of that move in such a way as to protect the show" giving "all kinds of reasons" for the move . Some observers believe that the resort is foreign-owned because they are confused by the hotel operating companies, which are international companies that supply administration and marketing services. Originally EastEnders was shown twice weekly at 7.00PM, however it soon moved to 7.30PM as Michael Grade did not want the soap running in direct competition with Emmerdale Farm; the BBC had originally planned to take advantage of the 'summer break' that Emmerdale Farm usually took in order to capitalise on ratings, but ITV added extra episodes and repeats so that Emmerdale Farm was not taken off over the summer. The figure is close to 100% for the mainland. EastEnders is currently aired at 7.30PM on Tuesday & Thursday and 8.00PM on Monday and Friday, the omnibus is aired on Sunday, though the exact time differs.

Despite initial skepticism that forced the Mexican government to finance the first eight hotels, Cancún soon attracted investors from all over the world, but approximately 70% of the Hotel Zone properties are owned by Mexicans, many of them local residents, Siegel says. For the past 20 years EastEnders has remained at the centre of BBC One's primetime schedule. Siegel who was the translator of Fernando Martí's "Cancun, Fantasy of Bankers," municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for the constant influx of people, as well as to control squatters and irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city, he says. EastEnders was perhaps at its least popular in the year 2004, its lowest ever audience share was 28% in early 2005. Unfortunately, the original very sensible master plan was repeatedly modified and, on the mainland, often ignored. Sonia's shock birth in 2000 was watched by 19.3 million viewers and in 2001, Mel's marriage to Steve Owen was watched by 22.5 million viewers. Development of Cancun started in 1970 and grew rapidly in the 1980s. Despite a decade and a half of high ratings it was most popular in the early 2000s, attracting an average of 15 million for most episodes and peaks of upto 25 million for the climaxes of popular storylines.

The belief that Cancun means "nido de viboras" (nest of snakes) is modern folklore, according to according to long-time resident Jules Siegel, author of the Cancun User's Guide. In comparison, the smallest amount for an EastEnders episode was around 6.2 million in 2004, higher than the lowest of its rivals Coronation Street and Emmerdale. It is probable that some Yucatecan or Mexican Mayanist wrote the name as Cancu'en, which was turned into Cancún by someone at the predecessor of Fonatur, the Mexican government tourism development fund that created Cancun. This was its largest audience ever, the largest amount of viewers for a soap episode, the 4th largest audience for a British television channel ever and the highest television audience for a single channel of the 1980s. The romanization of Mayan words varies, but it is common to use an apostrophe to indicate a kind of glottal stop. In 1986, just under two years since it had been on air, EastEnders attracted 30.15 million viewers, for the Christmas episode in which Den handed a divorce letter to wife Angie. Cancuen refers to a snake totem, usually identified with Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent). The launch show attracted 17 million viewers in the 1980s, this was perhaps helped by the amount of press attention it received, something which continues today.

There's also a site in Guatemala called Cancuen. Ever since EastEnders began on the mainstream BBC One, it has achieved some of the highest audiences in British television history. The earliest known reference to Cancun called it Cancuen. Aside from that, the 10pm repeat showing on BBC Three attracts an average of 500,000 viewers, whilst the Sunday omnibus attracts a further 3 million. In the case of a two-syllable word, you would only use an accent to indicate that the stress falls on the first syllable, as in López. An average EastEnders episode attracts a total audience share between 45% and 50%. In Spanish, the accent usually falls on the second syllable. Based on market research by BBC commissioning in 2003, EastEnders is most watched by 16 - 24 year olds, closely followed by 25 - 34 year olds.

The Spanish is not really correct either. But the battle between EastEnders and Emmerdale saw EastEnders come out on top with 200,000 more viewers on the 1st December 2005. This is probably a result of the fact that English-language type faces available in the early days of Cancun did not have accented characters, or the operators did not know how to access them because the keyboard codes were different from the ones they were accustomed to using. However, this indirectly helped increase the audience of digital channel BBC Three as 1 million (10% share) tuned in to see the second showing. Although many international publications now spell Cancun as Cancún, in the area itself it is usually Cancún in Spanish and Cancun in English. The episode of Emmerdale, which saw the departure of one of its more popular characters, attracted 8.3 million viewers leaving EastEnders with 6.6 million for the funeral of Den Watts. On the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea is Nichupte Lagoon, which is used for boat and snorkelling tours of the area. Weeks after this, ITV again scheduled episodes of Emmerdale against EastEnders.

A causeway was built to link Cancun to the mainland, and an international airport was built, along with what was at first a model city for workers, complete with housing, schools and medical facilities. In autumn of 2005, EastEnders had seen its average audience share increase, with the unearthing of Den Watts' body and the marriage of Sharon and Dennis. The government of Mexico decided to develop a tourist resort on Cancun, which was originally financed by a USD $27 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. John Yorke immediately stepped into her position until a few weeks later when Kate Harwood was announced as the new executive producer. In the early 1950s Cancun was an almost unpopulated and undeveloped island just off the Caribbean Sea coast of the Yucatán peninsula, home to three caretakers of a coconut plantation and small Pre-Columbian ruins of the Maya civilization. But through her short reign she led EastEnders to some of its most healthy viewing figures in months. The mainland downtown commercial section (Cancún City), connected to the island by two bridges, has broad avenues lined with whitewashed shops, restaurants, and hotels. This was one of the reasons storylines such as the 'Real Walford' football team were suddenly ignored.

Cancún is divided into two parts: The narrow 23-kilometer-long (14-mile) island section (Cancún Island) is lined with modern beachfront hotels surrounded by the Bahía de Mujeres (Bay of Women), the Caribbean Sea, and the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. She is also said to have torn up many of the scripts that were planned and demanded re-writes. The beaches are almost 100 percent limestone; the porous quality of the limestone makes for cool sand even under the intense tropical sun. It is reported that the cast and crew did not get on well with Kathleen Hutchison as she had them filming up to 12am. The average temperature in Cancún is 27° C (80° F) with more than 240 days of sunshine, and rain is rare, with late August through early October being the rainy season. He also brought back long serving script writer Tony Jordan. . John Yorke who led EastEnders through what Mal Young (the then head of BBC drama) said was one of its most successful periods in 2001, returned to the BBC as the head of drama, meaning his responsibilities included the running of EastEnders.

It is the municipal seat of Benito Juárez municipality and a world renowned tourist resort. But in January 2005, after just four months it was the end for Kathleen Hutchison. Cancún is a coastal city in Mexico's easternmost state, Quintana Roo. It indicated a fresh start for EastEnders after declining ratings in 2004. Wichita, Kansas, United States. Whilst she was there she set about reversing the previous executive producer's work. Miami, Florida, United States. Kathleen Hutchison went on to axe Den Watts, Andy Hunter, Juley Smith and Derek Harkinson.

And within a few weeks later the producers announced a major shake-up of the cast with the highly-criticised Ferreira family, first seen in June 2003, set to leave at the beginning of 2005. Kathleen Hutchison who had been the producer of hospital drama Holby City, was announced as the new executive producer. However, EastEnders was at a disadvantage as Emmerdale had began half an hour earlier, and the press were reporting viewers were bored with implausible and ill thought out storylines. Emmerdale was watched by 8.1 million people.

The following day the show received its lowest ever ratings (6.2 million) when ITV scheduled an hour long episode of its usually less-popular soap, Emmerdale against it. On 21 September 2004 Louise Berridge, the then executive producer, quit following massive criticism of the show. EastEnders won the battle with 8.4 million viewers (41% share) whilst Coronation Street lagged behind with 7.3 million viewers (36% share). In 2001 however, the soaps clashed for the first time.

In order to maximise ratings the BBC and ITV are usually careful to avoid scheduling clashes between their flagship soaps. Its main rival for ratings is usually Coronation Street. EastEnders is one of the more popular programmes on British television and regularly attracts between 9 and 13 million viewers, while the show's ratings have fallen since its initial surge in pouplarity, the programme continues to be largely lucrative for the BBC. This remains the highest rated episode of a soap in British television history.

In the Christmas of 1986, it attracted a massive 30.15 million viewers who tuned in to see Den Watts hand over divorce papers to wife Angie. Research suggested that people found the characters true to life, the plots believable and, importantly in the face of criticism of the content, people watched as a family and regarded it as viewing for all the family. As mentioned, EastEnders proved highly popular and Appreciation Indexes reflected this, rising from 55–60 at the launch to 85–5 later on, a figure which was nearly ten points higher than the average for British soap opera. A precursor in UK soaps also set in a East End market was ATV's Market in Honey Lane between 1967 and 1969.

'Exclusives' about EastEnders storylines became a staple of tabloid buyers daily reading. By Christmas of 1985, the tabloids couldn't get enough of the show. This referred to Leslie Grantham, and set the tone for relations between Albert Square and the press for the next 20 years. Within weeks the headline they had all dreaded had appeared — EASTENDERS STAR IS A KILLER.

Press coverage, already intense, went into overdrive. Detailed reactions were taken after six months and since then regular monitoring has been conducted. Following the launch, both group discussions and telephone surveys were conducted to test audience reaction to early episodes. The reviews were largely favourable, although after three weeks on air, BBC One's early evening share had returned to the pre-EastEnders figure of 7 million, though EastEnders then climbed to highs of up to 23 million later on in the year.

The next day viewing figures were confirmed at 17 million. Both Holland and Smith could not watch, they both instead returned to the place where it all began. Anticipation and rumour grew in equal measure until the first transmission at 7pm on 19 February 1985. The press were invited to see Elstree and meet the cast and see the lot - and stories immediately started circulating about the show, about a rivalry with ITV (who were launching their own market-based soap, Albion Market) and about the private lives of the cast.

Julia Smith was uneasy about the late start as EastEnders no longer had the winter months to build up a loyal following before the summer ratings lull. The launch was delayed for a second time until February 1985 due to a delay in the chat show Wogan, that was to be a part of the major revamp in BBC One's schedules. Simon May (music) and Alan Jeapes (visuals) created it, and it remains one of the strongest title clips in television. Through the next few months, the set was growing rapidly at Elstree, and a composer and designer had been commissioned to create the title sequence.

Everyone was in agreement, East 8 was to be tough, violent on occasion, funny and sharp - and it would start with a bang. Once they decided on these they returned to London for a meeting with the BBC. After they decided on the filming location (BBC Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire), Smith and Holland set about creating the 24 characters needed in just 14 days. The project had a number of working titles — Square Dance, Round the Square, Round the Houses, London Pride, East 8. It was the latter that stuck (E8 is the postcode for Hackney) in the early months of creative process.

However, in February 1984 they didn't even have a title or a place to film. Julia Smith and Tony Holland had just 11 months in which to write, cast and shoot the whole thing. The target launch date was originally September 1984 but this was postponed due to Michael Grade - the new controller of BBC One - preferring a January start. They also looked at Brookside but found there was a lack of central meeting points for the characters, making it difficult for the writers to intertwine different storylines.

They came to the conclusion that Coronation Street had grown old with its audience, and that EastEnders would have to attract a younger, more socially extensive audience ensuring that it had the longevity to retain it for many years thereafter. They also identified that it has had difficulty in replacing 'big' characters such as Len Fairclough and Elsie Tanner, something which is arguably still present to this day, with the exit of Karen McDonald. Only after EastEnders begun did Coronation Street start to feature black people for example. When developing EastEnders, both Julia Smith and Tony Holland looked at influential models like Coronation Street, but they found that it offered a rather outdated and nostalgic view of working-class life.

This was the beginning of a close and continuing association between EastEnders and audience research, which though commonplace today was something of a revolution in practice. There was anxiety at first that the viewing public would not accept a new soap set in the south of England, though research commissioned by lead figures in the BBC had revealed southerners would accept a northern soap, northerners would accept a southern soap and those from the Midlands, as Julia Smith herself pointed out, didn’t mind where it was set as long as it was somewhere else. Smith and Holland then went about putting ideas down on paper, they decided it would be set in the East End of London. The outline that Reid presented was vague: two episodes a week, 52 weeks a year.

The first people to whom David Reid, then head of series and serials, turned were Julia Smith and Tony Holland, a well established producer/script editor team who had first worked together on Z-Cars. In February 1983, two years before EastEnders hit the screen, the show was nothing more than a vague idea in the mind of a handful of BBC executives, who decided that what BBC One needed was a popular bi-weekly drama series that would attract the kind of mass audiences ITV was getting with Coronation Street. It was the brass at BBC who had the last laugh, however, as EastEnders became wildly popular and displaced Coronation Street from the top of the ratings for the rest of the 1980s and 1990s and partly the 2000s. One news source went as far as to accuse the channel of only having the guts to air the soap after Patricia Phoenix, arguably Britain's premier soap diva, left Coronation Street.

Critics first derided the new offering, as it was clear that BBC wished to bridge the gap between the network and its competitor, ITV. It started airing on the night after a major ident change for the channel, with the show representing the "new face" of the BBC. EastEnders was launched at a critical moment in the BBC’s history and was intended to demonstrate the BBC’s ability to produce popular programming. Aside from this soap opera staples of youthful romance, jealousies, domestic rivalries, kitchen disasters, gossip, community fund-raising events and extra-marital affairs are regularly featured.

In the early 2000s, EastEnders covered the issue of euthanasia with long-established characters Ethel Skinner and Dot Cotton, Kat Slater's abuse by her uncle Harry as a child, the domestic abuse of Little Mo Slater by husband Trevor, Sonia giving birth at the age of fifteen and then putting the baby up for adoption, prostitution, agoraphobia and drugs. However, EastEnders still featured hard-hitting issues such as Mark Fowler discovering he was HIV positive in 1991 and the death of Gill, murder, adoption, alcoholism and domestic violence. As the show progressed into the nineties, less screen time was spent on these issues, perhaps reflecting the change in government. Such storylines include Sue and Ali’s baby's cot death, Nick Cotton's homophobia, the rape of Kathy Beale in 1988, Michelle Fowler's teenage pregnancy, drug dealing, prostitution, mixed-race relationships, shoplifting, sexism, racism, divorce and muggings.

Above all, we wanted realism’. She also said: ‘We decided to go for a realistic, fairly outspoken type of drama which could encompass stories about homosexuality, rape, unemployment, racial prejudice, etc., in a believable context. Creator/ producer Julia Smith declared that 'we don't make life, we reflect it'. The programme makers emphasised that it was to be about 'everyday life' in the inner city 'today' and regard it as a 'slice of life'.

Arguably the difference between them was whilst Brookside confronted issues it was more sensationalist and EastEnders tried to maintain realism. Brookside had also launched as a social realist drama, leading the way for more conservative soaps like EastEnders to follow. However EastEnders has for the most part remained a populist series and has generally avoided the arguably tougher stories of Brookside. In the eighties, EastEnders featured gritty storylines involving drugs and crime, representing the issues faced by working-class Britain much as Coronation Street did in the 1960s but updated for an age of social breakdown.

Created in Thatcherite Britain during the worst economic recession in Britain since the 1930s combined with high unemployment and rocketing crime rates, EastEnders tried to represent this in the social realist tradition. Examples include Den Watts, James Wilmott-Brown, Steve Owen, Andy Hunter and Johnny Allen. Another recurring character type is the smartly dressed businessman, often involved in crime, who is seen as a local authority figure. These characters are seen as being loud and interfering but most importantly, responsible for the well-being of the family and usually stressing the importance of family, reflecting on the past.

Some families feature an stereotypical East End matriarch such as Lou Beale, Pauline Fowler, Mo Harris and Peggy Mitchell. Key people involved in the production of EastEnders have stressed how important this idea of strong families is to EastEnders. The 2000s saw a new focus on the largely female Slater clan before the return of emphasis to the Watts and Mitchell families. The Watts and Mitchell families have been central to most of the notable EastEnders storylines and Peggy Mitchell in particular is notorious for her ceaseless repetition of such statements as "You're a Mitchell".

Tony Holland drew on the names of his own family for his characters. The first central family was the Fowlers, consisting of Pauline, Arthur, Mark, Michelle and also the closely related Beale family - Pete, Lou and Ian. Co-creator Tony Holland was himself from a large East End family and such families have typified EastEnders. EastEnders was built around the ideas of "clans" of strong families and each character having a place in the community.

It is rumoured that the fictional borough of Walford was named after the areas of London that the creators hailed from - Walthamstow and Stratford. However, the show's producers actually based the square's design on the real life 'Fasset Square' in the East End. In reality, an Albert Square does exist in the East End, in Stratford. The postcode for the area "E8" was one of the working titles for the series.

The strongest claim to being the 'real' Albert Square is held by Broadway Market in Hackney, a short pedestrianised road that features a weekly market and established street vendors. Walford has the fictional postal district of E20, thus fans have also tried to pinpoint the location using this, however, realistically London East postal districts stop at E18, the show's creators opted for E20 instead of E19 as it was thought to sound better. Walford East, is a fictional tube station for Walford, with the aid of a map that was first seen on air in 1996, it has been established that Walford East is located between Bow Road and West Ham, which realistically would replace Bromley-by-Bow. In the past, fans have tried to establish the actual location of Walford within London.

In 1993, George Street was added, and soon after, Walford East tube station was built. Then in 1986 he added an extension to the set, building the fourth side of Albert Square and in 1987 Turpin Road was added which included buildings such as The Dagmar. The EastEnders lot was built and designed by Keith Harris, who was a senior designer within the production team. This was done by a number of means, including chipping at the buildings with pickaxes.

But as the set was built in the early eighties, it had to be made to look as if it had been standing for years and years. Thus, central to Albert Square is The Queen Victoria Public House. Firstly, the square is named Albert Square after Prince Albert, the late husband of Queen Victoria, who then went on to die in 1901. It is thought that Albert Square was built around the early 20th century, indeed heavy research was done by the show's creators to support this.

These themes that were found for the setting can still be found in a present day episode of EastEnders. A real East End spirit — an inward looking quality, a distrust of strangers and authority figures, a sense of territory and community that the creators summed up as 'Hurt one of us and you hurt us all'. However, delving further into the East End, they found exactly what they had been searching for. The show's creators were both Londoners, but when they researched Victorian Squares they found massive changes in areas they thought they knew well.

EastEnders is set in the fictional London Borough of Walford, however the central focus of the show is that of the equally fictional Victorian square named Albert Square. . Despite lengthy criticism of the show from the critics, in October 2005 it won the prestgious National Television Award for most popular Serial Drama which EastEnders has won several consecutive times in the past ten years. It has been running ever since, generating strong viewing figures for much of that time, and has been the UK's highest-rating programme on numerous occasions.

EastEnders is a popular BBC television soap opera which was first broadcast on 19 February 1985. EastEnders: The Inside Story. The EastEnders Programme Guide. Public Secrets: EastEnders and its Audience.

EastEnders: The First 10 Years: A Celebration. Lulu is a big fan of the show. On Friday the 11 November 2005, EastEnders was the first British drama to feature a two minute silence. Osymyso a.k.a Mark Nicholson, one of the UK's original bootleg artists created a track based on remixed scenes of the Pat vs Peggy showdown.

This includes the 1980's, 1990's and so far the 2000's. Since EastEnders began in 1985, at least one of its episodes have rated higher than any other British soap opera throughout each decade. EastEnders was the inaugural winner of the 1999 BAFTA for best continuing drama. However, it proved very unpopular with the viewers and was replaced with a remix of the original theme tune only 11 months later, from 11 April 1994 (Also the first Monday edition of the show).

In 1993, the show's theme tune was updated to a Jazzy version, first heard on 11 May 1993. Albert Square is built on the site last used for building works in the 1980s Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. When Barbara Windsor joined in 1994, she was only contracted for ten episodes. The roads around Albert Square are not built to scale: they look real but some can only take one car at a time.

The Queen visited the set in 2001 and was shown around by actresses Wendy Richard and Barbara Windsor. A vocal version of the theme tune called 'Anyone can fall in Love' reached number 4 in the charts in the summer of 1986 and was sung by Anita Dobson (Angie Watts). Oxfam was the main outlet used for the actors costumes when the series was first made. The War memorial on set features names of people involved in EastEnders along with past stars.

Leslie Grantham originally auditioned for the part of Pete Beale but was thought too good looking so was instead cast as Den Watts. Pam St Clement (Pat) has 125 pairs of earrings from which to choose and fans still send her earrings in which she wears in the programme. The famous double-handers when only two actors appear in an episode was originally done for speed: while they film that, the rest of the cast can be making another episode. Researchers, from the BBC, went to the East End and visited 'Fassett Square' in the 1980’s.

Before the Spice Girls, Emma Bunton was cast as a troubled youth in the soap. Martha Ross, mother of television presenter Jonathan, has been an extra in the programme, as a market stallholder, since its inception. Robbie Williams has made a cameo appearance on the telephone in the Queen Vic and is a big fan of the show. Brad Pitt is such a fan of the soap that when BBC America took EastEnders off the air in 2003, he and his then wife Jennifer Aniston joined a petition of 15,000 US fans demanding the cable channel reinstate it.

George Michael, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are also fans of the soap. Madonna and Guy Ritchie are rumoured to be big fans of the show, with Madonna's favourite character being Dot Cotton. Sheila Hancock has appeared in the soap playing Barbara Owen. Susan Tully who played Michelle Fowler has directed some episodes since leaving.

There is a shop in Walford named Barratt's Bargain Corner, cleverly incorporating the BBC's initials. In 2001 EastEnders went head to head with Coronation Street for the first time, EastEnders won the battle with 8.4 million viewers (41%) while Coronation Street attracted 7.3 million (36%). EastEnders holds the record for the highest rated soap episode in Britain. EastEnders was the 1st most popular UK search term in 2005.

EastEnders was the 4th most popular UK search term in 2004. EastEnders was the 2nd most popular UK search term in 2003. Between 2001 and 2002, EastEnders was the 10th most searched-for TV show on the Internet.

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