February 19, 1985 - a big night for soap opera as EastEnders began. Like Brookside, this show was an attempt to portray late 20th Century life in a gritty, upfront manner and never to flinch from realistic portrayals of issues. For the first few years I found both new soaps very interesting indeed - very refreshing. As the 1990s got underway, the issues began to dry up, the final taboos were broken and, in my very humble opinion, Brookside and EastEnders headed into sensationalism valley, having unfortunately contaminated the other soaps along the way.
Happily, for some years yet it would be business as usual in Beckindale, with Amos and Mr Wilks presiding over a full bar at the Woolpack. Note: in February 1985, Emmerdale Farm was still being being broadcast at 5.15pm in the London area.