is a popular BBC television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC1 on 19 February 1985 and continuing to date. EastEnders'
storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in Albert Square, a Victorian square of terraced houses, a pub, a street market and various small businesses in the East End of London, England.
The series was originally screened as two half-hour episodes a week. Today four episodes are broadcast each week on BBC One and an omnibus edition screens on Sunday afternoons. It is one of the UK's highest-rated programmes, often appearing near or at the top of the week's BARB ratings. The series was initially created to be a rival against ITV's long-running flagship soap opera Coronation Street
Within eight months of its launch, it reached the number one spot in the ratings, and has almost consistently remained amongst the top-rated programmes in Britain ever since. The average audience share for an episode is currently between 35 and 40%. Created by producer Julia Smith and script editor Tony Holland, EastEnders
has remained significant in terms of the BBC's success and audience share, and also the history of British television drama, tackling many controversial and taboo issues previously unseen on mainstream television in the UK.
has won five BAFTA Awards, and consistently won the Inside Soap Award for 'Best Soap' for ten years running, as well as eight National Television Awards for 'Most Popular Serial Drama' and five awards for 'Best Soap' at the British Soap Awards. It has also been inducted into the Rose d'Or Hall of Fame.
The EastEnders theme tune was composed by Simon May in 1984. He was assisted by Leslie Osborne. The theme is largely based upon percussion, strings and the piano, it is widely known for its dramatic use of sound, particularly the drums that begin at the end of an episode — increasing in tempo — which adds a sense of importance, suspense and drama to the cliff-hanger. This in itself, has been parodied and used by television shows since, such as in a Friends spoof that featured on SMTV Live.
All of the chords used in the piece of music are diatonic, with no chromatic alterations; it has been said that this "adds to the directness of the music". The main melody is scored for a piano, which has been described as having a "pub sing-a-long feel" to it. The tune is also doubled by a whistle, and there are two rhythmic permeations, a dotted crotchet-quaver moving the music forward, and a two-quaver hand-clap on the fourth beat of every other bar.
It is recognised as an iconic piece of music, largely establishing itself based upon shocking and surprising cliff-hangers that have featured dominantly throughout the years.
Below are screenshots of the past and current opening credits of the long-running BBC One soap-opera:
1st Title Sequence 1985 - 1993
2nd Title Sequence 1993 - 1999
3rd Title Sequence 1999 - 2009
4th Title Sequence 2009 - Current
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