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EastEnders is a British television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End of London. The series primarily centres on the residents of Albert Square, a Victorian square of terraced houses, and its neighbouring streets, namely Bridge Street, Turpin Road and George Street. The Square encompasses a pub, street market, night club, community centre, charity shop, cafe and various small businesses, in addition to a park and allotments.
The series was originally screened as two half-hour episodes per week. Since August 2001, four episodes are broadcast each week on BBC One, with each episode being repeated on BBC Three at 10.30pm and an omnibus edition on BBC One at weekends. From 1985 to 2012 the omnibus aired on Sunday afternoons, but was moved to a Friday night/Saturday morning slot from 6 April 2012, before being moved back to a Sunday afternoon slot in January 2013 on BBC Two.
It is one of the UK's highest-rated programmes, often appearing near or at the top of the week's BARB ratings. Within eight months of its launch, it reached the number-one spot in the ratings, and has consistently remained among the top-rated TV programmes in Britain. As of July 2013, the average audience share for an episode is around 30 percent. Created by producer Julia Smith and script editor Tony Holland, EastEnders has remained a significant programme in terms of the BBC's success and audience share, and also in the history of British television drama, tackling many controversial and taboo issues previously unseen on mainstream television in the UK.