The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is a stop-action animated musical film about the inhabitants of Halloween Town who take over Christmas one year, directed by stop-motion animator Henry Selick. The film is loosely based on drawings and a poem by Tim Burton, and he served as co-producer. He did not direct the film as is sometimes believed, but he was still heavily involved.

The film was released by Touchstone Pictures, a film studio owned by the Walt Disney Company, after the main Walt Disney Pictures division balked at some of the darker content.

Synopsis

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The film centers around Jack Skellington, the much adored leader of Halloween Town. Although Jack is loved and respected by the townspeople, he feels that there is something unknown to him that is missing from his life. One day while wandering in the woods with his dog zero, Jack discovers a circle of trees unlike anything that he has seen before. Each tree has a door on it representing a different holiday. When Jack opens the Christmas door he is sucked into the wonderful world of Christmas Town. Jack is mesmerized by the color and cheerfulness of the holiday, and realizes that this is exactly what he has been searching for.

When Jack returns to Halloween Town he locks himself in his home and performs countless experiments to try and better understand Christmas Town. Soon Jack calls a meeting in Town Hall and reveals his plans to takeover Christmas. All of the townspeople pitch in to create their own twisted version of the holiday. Sally, a close friend and admirer of Jack, tries to warn him that she thinks it is a bad idea to take over something he knows nothing about, but Jack is too wrapped in his fantasies to listen.

In order to successfully take over Christmas, Jack enlists the help of a trio of misfits named Lock, Shock, and Barrel to kidnap Santa Claus. The children take him to a villainous monster named Oogie Boogie.

On Christmas Eve, Jack embarks on his makeshift sleigh flanked by skeleton reindeers and his ghost dog, Zero. Jack's scary and sometimes dangerous presents put the people in the real world in a panic and they begin to call the police with reports of attacking Christmas toys and an imposter Santa Claus. In not too long, Jack is targeted by the military and shot down. At the same time, Sally goes to try and rescue Santa Claus but is captured by Oogie Boogie and the two are in risk of their lives.

When Jack finds himself and his sleigh crashed in a graveyard and his vision of Christmas wrecked, he realizes that he is the Pumpkin King and that he should stick to what he knows best, namely Halloween. In order to salvage Christmas Jack hurries back to Halloween Town and confronts Oogie Boogie. After Jack destroys Oogie, revealing him to be nothing more that a burlap monster full of bugs, Santa Claus hurries to deliver the correct presents and save Christmas. Once Santa has delivered all the presents he brings the Christmas spirit to Halloween Town, including snow, and the citizens are amazed by the new sensations.

Finally, Sally reveals her true feelings to Jack and in the end of the movie the two begin a relationship.

Legacy

When the movie originally was released it failed to live up to expectations and was considered a flop. However, when it was released on video a new audience began to discover it and slowly it began to grow a cult following. The same studio that produced Nightmare later created another stop motion movie based on the Roald Dahl book, James and the Giant Peach (1996), though it did not receive the same amount of success.

In 2005, Tim Burton returned to the media of stop motion with his new film, Corpse Bride.

Merchandising

Currently, 'Nightmare Before Christmas' has become one of the most sucessful franchises in terms of selling merchandise, and the film has developed a group of very dedicated collectors. Much of the original merchandise has become highly collectible and rare. In the past few years many retail stores like Hot Topic have obtained the rights to sell products and have flooded the market with what some believe to be cheap and uninspired merchandise.

Technical data

  • Title: The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Directed by: Henry Selick
  • Written by: Caroline Thompson and Michael McDowell
  • Music by: Danny Elfman
  • Released on: October 13, 1993
  • American picture
  • Specifications: Technicolor, 35 mm 1.66:1 (colours, Dolby digital sound)
  • Genre: animation, fantasy, satire, musical
  • Runtime: 76 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG

Starfield Creations

Cast (voices)

  • Chris Sarandon: Jack Skellington (speaking)
  • Danny Elfman: Jack Skellington (singing), Barrel, The Clown with the tearawayface
  • Catherine O'Hara: Sally, Shock
  • William Hickey: Dr. Finklestein
  • Glenn Shadix: Mayor
  • Paul Reubens: Lock
  • Ken Page: Oogie Boogie

On the soundtrack album, Patrick Stewart voices the opening narrative poem. A second poem, also read by Stewart, is included before the "End Credits" music; in this passage, Santa Claus describes a visit he made to Halloween Town many years after the events of the film.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

For the past five years, the Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland in California and Japan have received a Nightmare Before Christmas themed overlay, called Haunted Mansion Holiday, for their Haunted Mansion attractions. The attractions are closed in October each year for themes to be completely overhauled, and open until January of the next year. The attraction generally has a one night opening event each year that includes special guests, a dinner, special merchandise, and a ride through the attraction, although the Happiest Celebration on Earth halted that in Disneyland in 2005. Starting in 2001, the ride has included a score that was written specifically for the ride by film composer Danny Elfman. There has been a great deal of speculation recently that 2006 will be last year for the event, allegedly at Tim Burton's request.

Video games

A video game based on the original movie was released in 2005. The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge is an action/adventure game developed by Capcom from Japan for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox systems. Intended to be a sequel to the movie, the game features the return of all the well-known characters in a new and arguably darker story with upgraded versions of the movie's songs. In the story, Jack leaves Halloween Town to satisfy his curiosity, but during his absence, Oogie Boogie is reconstructed and by the time Jack returns he has taken over Halloween Town and tricked its people into thinking Jack has abandoned them. Now Jack has to stop Oogie Boogie's evil plans as he attempts to take over the other holiday worlds, and the 'real' world. The game features controls similar to Devil May Cry. The game features a weapon known as a 'Soul Robber'. In the game you get other costumes such as "Pumpkin King," and "Santa Jack".


A GBA game, "The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King" came out in fall 2005. The opposite of the Playstation and Xbox versions, the GBA game works as a prequel to the movie. The Pumpkin King is a side-scrolling action platformer in which you'll control Jack Skellington and use a number of different weapons to fight enemies and traverse obstacles. The side-scrolling adventure game centers around the first time Jack faced off against his nemesis, Oogie Boogie, to eventually become the Pumpkin King. The game's plot will kick off with the invasion of some unusual bugs in Halloween Town. Jack soon discovers that these nasty insects are under the control of Oogie Boogie, who's looking to take over Halloween himself. With these creepy wheels set in motion, it will be up to Jack and his friends--including characters such as Zero, Sally, Dr. Finklestein, and others--to both stop Oogie and save Halloween.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Halloween Town also appears as one of the worlds in the Square Enix/Disney Kingdom Hearts video game series (in fact, it was the movie's first official video game appearance). In this game, Jack tries to create an artificial heart so he can control the Heartless for use in his "Heartless Halloween," but the plan goes awry when Oogie Boogie (who was one of the Disney villains allied with Maleficent) steals the heart, ingests it, and tries to use it to control the Heartless for his own purposes. Jack then teams up with Sora and the others to stop Oogie Boogie's plans. Jack can also join Sora's party whenever they are in Halloween Town. Kingdom Hearts II follows the movie plot, where Jack tries to take over Santa Claus' place on Christmas.

Trading Card Game

Sometime during 2005, a card game, titled The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG, was released. Released were starter decks and a base set. In March 2006, there will be a new set, called Christmas Town, and a Tournament Kit released.


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In March 2006, there will be a new set, called Christmas Town, and a Tournament Kit released. She quotes endlessly from the Bible and it ridicules [religion] to some extent.". Released were starter decks and a base set. Dr Indarjit Singh, the editor of the Sikh Messenger and patron of the World Congress of Faiths, said: "EastEnders' Dot Cotton is an example. Sometime during 2005, a card game, titled The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG, was released. The BBC was criticised of anti-religious bias by a committee in the House of Lords, examples of this suggestion included EastEnders. Kingdom Hearts II follows the movie plot, where Jack tries to take over Santa Claus' place on Christmas. 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.

Jack can also join Sora's party whenever they are in Halloween Town. 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. Jack then teams up with Sora and the others to stop Oogie Boogie's plans. However, a helpline after this episode attracted over 2000 calls. In this game, Jack tries to create an artificial heart so he can control the Heartless for use in his "Heartless Halloween," but the plan goes awry when Oogie Boogie (who was one of the Disney villains allied with Maleficent) steals the heart, ingests it, and tries to use it to control the Heartless for his own purposes. Complaints against a scene in which Little Mo's face was shoved in gravy on Christmas day, were upheld by the Broadcasting Standards Council. Halloween Town also appears as one of the worlds in the Square Enix/Disney Kingdom Hearts video game series (in fact, it was the movie's first official video game appearance). As EastEnders is shown pre-watershed, there were worries that scenes of this storyline were too graphic for its audience.

Finklestein, and others--to both stop Oogie and save Halloween. EastEnders is often criticised for being too violent, most notably during a domestic violence storyline between Little Mo and husband Trevor. With these creepy wheels set in motion, it will be up to Jack and his friends--including characters such as Zero, Sally, Dr. In 2002 EastEnders also won an award from the Mental Health Media Awards held at BAFTA for this storyline. Jack soon discovers that these nasty insects are under the control of Oogie Boogie, who's looking to take over Halloween himself. 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. The game's plot will kick off with the invasion of some unusual bugs in Halloween Town. 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%.

The side-scrolling adventure game centers around the first time Jack faced off against his nemesis, Oogie Boogie, to eventually become the Pumpkin King. 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. The Pumpkin King is a side-scrolling action platformer in which you'll control Jack Skellington and use a number of different weapons to fight enemies and traverse obstacles. 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. The opposite of the Playstation and Xbox versions, the GBA game works as a prequel to the movie. 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'.
A GBA game, "The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King" came out in fall 2005. Her criticisms were widely reported in the tabloid press as ammunition in its existing rivalry with the BBC.

In the game you get other costumes such as "Pumpkin King," and "Santa Jack". 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. The game features a weapon known as a 'Soul Robber'. However Whitehouse also praised the programme, describing Michelle Fowler's decision not to have an abortion as a 'very positive storyline'. The game features controls similar to Devil May Cry. She was also critical of language such as 'bleeding', 'bloody hell', 'bastard' and 'For Christ's sake'. Now Jack has to stop Oogie Boogie's evil plans as he attempts to take over the other holiday worlds, and the 'real' world. She made reference to representation of family life and emphasis on psychological and emotional violence within the show.

In the story, Jack leaves Halloween Town to satisfy his curiosity, but during his absence, Oogie Boogie is reconstructed and by the time Jack returns he has taken over Halloween Town and tricked its people into thinking Jack has abandoned them. She regarded EastEnders as a fundamental assault on the family and morality itself. Intended to be a sequel to the movie, the game features the return of all the well-known characters in a new and arguably darker story with upgraded versions of the movie's songs. Mary Whitehouse argued at the time that EastEnders represented a violation of 'family viewing time' and that it undermined the watershed policy. The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge is an action/adventure game developed by Capcom from Japan for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox systems. EastEnders has received both praise and criticism for most of its storylines which have dealt with difficult themes, such as violence, rape and murder. A video game based on the original movie was released in 2005. It is also shown on the British Forces Broadcasting Service's main TV channel, BFBS1, to members of HM Forces stationed around the world.

There has been a great deal of speculation recently that 2006 will be last year for the event, allegedly at Tim Burton's request. In Ireland, it is shown on RTÉ One at the same time as BBC One, which is also widely received in the country. Starting in 2001, the ride has included a score that was written specifically for the ride by film composer Danny Elfman. In New Zealand, it was shown by TVNZ on TV One, but is now on Prime. The attraction generally has a one night opening event each year that includes special guests, a dinner, special merchandise, and a ride through the attraction, although the Happiest Celebration on Earth halted that in Disneyland in 2005. Currently the series is seen in Australia only on pay-TV channel UK.TV. The attractions are closed in October each year for themes to be completely overhauled, and open until January of the next year. The series was screened in Australia by the ABC from 1987 until the early 1990s.

For the past five years, the Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland in California and Japan have received a Nightmare Before Christmas themed overlay, called Haunted Mansion Holiday, for their Haunted Mansion attractions. The American PBS channel, KOCE-TV ran the show one episode per week from 1990 to 1993. A second poem, also read by Stewart, is included before the "End Credits" music; in this passage, Santa Claus describes a visit he made to Halloween Town many years after the events of the film. Episodes from prior years are still shown on various PBS stations in the US. On the soundtrack album, Patrick Stewart voices the opening narrative poem. 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. Starfield Creations. In approximately February, 2005, the programming reached the point of being one month behind the new shows being aired in the UK.

In the past few years many retail stores like Hot Topic have obtained the rights to sell products and have flooded the market with what some believe to be cheap and uninspired merchandise. Dish first broadcast two weeks' worth of shows each week to get caught up. Much of the original merchandise has become highly collectible and rare. 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. Currently, 'Nightmare Before Christmas' has become one of the most sucessful franchises in terms of selling merchandise, and the film has developed a group of very dedicated collectors. It is still shown on BBC Prime in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and on BBC Canada in Canada. In 2005, Tim Burton returned to the media of stop motion with his new film, Corpse Bride. The series aired in the United States until BBC America ceased broadcasts of the serial in 2003, amidst fan protests.

The same studio that produced Nightmare later created another stop motion movie based on the Roald Dahl book, James and the Giant Peach (1996), though it did not receive the same amount of success. EastEnders is aired around the world in many English-speaking countries, including New Zealand and Canada. However, when it was released on video a new audience began to discover it and slowly it began to grow a cult following. The current series has now finished. When the movie originally was released it failed to live up to expectations and was considered a flop. The series goes behind the scenes of the show and talks to some of the cast members. Finally, Sally reveals her true feelings to Jack and in the end of the movie the two begin a relationship. The show is presented by Angelica Bell and available to digital viewers at 8.30 PM on Monday nights.

Once Santa has delivered all the presents he brings the Christmas spirit to Halloween Town, including snow, and the citizens are amazed by the new sensations. As part of the BBC's digital push, EastEnders Xtra was introduced in 2005. After Jack destroys Oogie, revealing him to be nothing more that a burlap monster full of bugs, Santa Claus hurries to deliver the correct presents and save Christmas. 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). In order to salvage Christmas Jack hurries back to Halloween Town and confronts Oogie Boogie. 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. When Jack finds himself and his sleigh crashed in a graveyard and his vision of Christmas wrecked, he realizes that he is the Pumpkin King and that he should stick to what he knows best, namely Halloween. 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.

At the same time, Sally goes to try and rescue Santa Claus but is captured by Oogie Boogie and the two are in risk of their lives. 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. In not too long, Jack is targeted by the military and shot down. 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. Jack's scary and sometimes dangerous presents put the people in the real world in a panic and they begin to call the police with reports of attacking Christmas toys and an imposter Santa Claus. In February 2005, there were reports that the EastEnders schedule was threatened due to production problems. On Christmas Eve, Jack embarks on his makeshift sleigh flanked by skeleton reindeers and his ghost dog, Zero. 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.

The children take him to a villainous monster named Oogie Boogie. In early 2003, viewers could watch episodes of EastEnders on digital channel BBC3 before they were broadcast on BBC One. In order to successfully take over Christmas, Jack enlists the help of a trio of misfits named Lock, Shock, and Barrel to kidnap Santa Claus. An episode of EastEnders Revealed which was commissioned for BBC3 attracted 611,000 viewers. Sally, a close friend and admirer of Jack, tries to warn him that she thinks it is a bad idea to take over something he knows nothing about, but Jack is too wrapped in his fantasies to listen. EastEnders Revealed is the only BBC Choice programme to last the entire life of the channel and is still running on BBC3. All of the townspeople pitch in to create their own twisted version of the holiday. 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.

Soon Jack calls a meeting in Town Hall and reveals his plans to takeover Christmas. In this first head-to-head battle, EastEnders claimed victory over its rival. When Jack returns to Halloween Town he locks himself in his home and performs countless experiments to try and better understand Christmas Town. 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. Jack is mesmerized by the color and cheerfulness of the holiday, and realizes that this is exactly what he has been searching for. 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. When Jack opens the Christmas door he is sucked into the wonderful world of Christmas Town. EastEnders then added its fourth episode (shown on Fridays) on August 10th 2001.

Each tree has a door on it representing a different holiday. EastEnders output then increased to thrice after Coronation Street added an extra episode - in response to competition from EastEnders. One day while wandering in the woods with his dog zero, Jack discovers a circle of trees unlike anything that he has seen before. 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 . Although Jack is loved and respected by the townspeople, he feels that there is something unknown to him that is missing from his life. 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 film centers around Jack Skellington, the much adored leader of Halloween Town. 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.

. For the past 20 years EastEnders has remained at the centre of BBC One's primetime schedule. The film was released by Touchstone Pictures, a film studio owned by the Walt Disney Company, after the main Walt Disney Pictures division balked at some of the darker content. EastEnders was perhaps at its least popular in the year 2004, its lowest ever audience share was 28% in early 2005. He did not direct the film as is sometimes believed, but he was still heavily involved. 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. The film is loosely based on drawings and a poem by Tim Burton, and he served as co-producer. 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.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is a stop-action animated musical film about the inhabitants of Halloween Town who take over Christmas one year, directed by stop-motion animator Henry Selick. 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. Ken Page: Oogie Boogie. 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. Paul Reubens: Lock. 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. Glenn Shadix: Mayor. 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.

Finklestein. Ever since EastEnders began on the mainstream BBC One, it has achieved some of the highest audiences in British television history. William Hickey: Dr. 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. Catherine O'Hara: Sally, Shock. An average EastEnders episode attracts a total audience share between 45% and 50%. Danny Elfman: Jack Skellington (singing), Barrel, The Clown with the tearawayface. 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.

Chris Sarandon: Jack Skellington (speaking). But the battle between EastEnders and Emmerdale saw EastEnders come out on top with 200,000 more viewers on the 1st December 2005. MPAA rating: PG. However, this indirectly helped increase the audience of digital channel BBC Three as 1 million (10% share) tuned in to see the second showing. Runtime: 76 minutes. 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. Genre: animation, fantasy, satire, musical. Weeks after this, ITV again scheduled episodes of Emmerdale against EastEnders.

Specifications: Technicolor, 35 mm 1.66:1 (colours, Dolby digital sound). 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. American picture. John Yorke immediately stepped into her position until a few weeks later when Kate Harwood was announced as the new executive producer. Released on: October 13, 1993. But through her short reign she led EastEnders to some of its most healthy viewing figures in months. Music by: Danny Elfman. This was one of the reasons storylines such as the 'Real Walford' football team were suddenly ignored.

Written by: Caroline Thompson and Michael McDowell. She is also said to have torn up many of the scripts that were planned and demanded re-writes. Directed by: Henry Selick. It is reported that the cast and crew did not get on well with Kathleen Hutchison as she had them filming up to 12am. Title: The Nightmare Before Christmas. 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.

But in January 2005, after just four months it was the end for Kathleen Hutchison. It indicated a fresh start for EastEnders after declining ratings in 2004. Whilst she was there she set about reversing the previous executive producer's work. 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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