Ah, a traditional Christmas in Walford. Stockings by the fire, snow on the ground, marriage break-ups and deaths. Yes, it’s a well-known fact that the worst possible place to spend a Christmas is on Albert Square.
It’s rumoured that this year, having heard about the death and fire to come, Santa Claus isn’t letting his reindeers look down as he flies over E20 just in case one of them decides to end it all. Fair enough, the big man is right. It’s hard enough flying round the world in an evening without a lot of moaning from depressed reindeer.

But it can’t be that bad, can it? So here, as we sit and think of our own Christmas dealings and dilema’s let’s raise a glass to ‘EastEnders’ most miserable Christmases past to find out…

1986

In 1985, the soap’s first year, there was a mugging, wife beating and a divorce – but no Christmas Day episode. In 1986, however, the nation (30million of us – that’s twice the number that watch ‘The X Factor’ final) crammed itself full of turkey and relaxed in armchairs to watch Den surprise Angie with divorce papers, having found out she was faking her fatal illness. Also, after stealing the Christmas Club money depressed Arthur Fowler has a nervous breakdown and smashes up the family kitchen. Hurrah!
1990

It’s one of those classic Christmas images: A homeless teenager giving birth to a baby girl in a derelict building. Disa was unable or unwilling to care about the child, so ditches it in a cardboard box on Mark Fowler’s doorstep. Meanwhile, for some slapstick relief, Simon Wicks brawls with Ian Beale, once his best friend after Ian tried to kill him by tampering with the brakes on his van.

1994

A time for family, isn’t it and getting over all those little problems? Grant forced Sharon to sign divorce papers because she’d slept with his bruvver. She tried to make him see she still loved him – but when she tried to kiss him, he called her a ‘s**t’. Sharon left for America with Grant watching her from the window, heartbroken. Meanwhile Kathy told Phil she wasn’t sure about the engagement after finding out about his affair with Sharon and Sanjay’s wife Gita allowed him back into her bed, then dumped him.
1998

Christmas Day was actually relatively cheery, with Bianca giving birth to baby Liam, Ian Beale nearly kissing Melanie Healy and Grant getting arrested for the attempted murder of Tiffany. The show made up for that though by piling on the misery on the unforgettable New Year’s Day episode when Tiffany, escaping from her abusive husband, was run over and died in front of her infant daughter.
2002

Ah, here’s a happy moment – an engagement on Christmas day! Sweet. How could that be grim?  Well, how about if it was the fatally wounded Jamie Mitchell proposing with his dying breath? Yes, as Jamie lay dying, having been run over by Martin Fowler, he decided to propose to Sonia and then, realising what he’d done, carked it. Proof that on EastEnders there is a fate worse than death.  But it wasn’t all death and dying –  Ian Beale also threw Laura out on the street for cheating on him.

 2006

After a fight with Sonia, her daughter-in-law-to-be, Pauline collapsed and died in the snow next to a bench dedicated to her beloved Arthur. Having had two nervous breakdowns at Christmas, he would have no doubt approved. We later found out she’d been hit on the head with a frying pan by her estranged husband Joe.
2010

Left by Ryan, who is clearly in love with Stacey,  Janine stabs herself  with a knife and blames Stacey. Covered in blood, Stacey is about to commit suicide, jumping from the roof where the love of her life Bradley died.  Max saves her and gets her out of Walford. Depressing, yes. But somehow less bleak than a lot of those that had gone before.

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