EastEnders' £87m set construction is almost complete

EastEnders’ £87m set is almost complete with a leafy Albert Square, newly-painted Queen Vic pub and refreshed housing as it nears completion

EastEnders’s brand new £87 million set is almost complete after substantial construction work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The extensive project, which has been built next door to the original set, appeared to be nearing its first stages of completion in new images revealed on Saturday. 

Albert Square had previously been a pile of rubble but the iconic area is now nearly-complete with plenty of leafy and sitting areas for residents to reveal their deepest secrets.

Amazing! EastEnders’s brand new £87 million set is almost complete after substantial construction work during the coronavirus pandemic

The area will also act as a beer garden so that socially-distanced scenes can be shot externally, the original set has been transformed with benches and pink parasols.    

This has been implemented as filming resumed for EastEnders in June after lockdown was lifted at the Borehamwood sound-stage. The soap aired its final episode in June and will return in September. 

Meanwhile the Queen Vic pub, which was originally unveiled in May, has been newly-painted to match the beloved soap’s watering hole.

Getting there! The extensive project, which has been built next door to the original set, appeared to be nearing its first stages of completion in new images revealed on Saturday

Perfect! Albert Square is now nearly-complete with plenty of leafy and sitting areas for residents to reveal their deepest secrets

The exterior, which had previously been pale bricks and shrouded in plastic sheeting, has been transformed into the red-walled tavern. 

Other details include the pub’s roof, which has seen many spectacular storylines over the years, painted a white colour as it nears its final stages to match the original inn.

It appears to be nearing completion with the building covered in scaffolding and builders working hard to paint the exterior.

Also visible in the photos is refreshed housing and flats as well as new shop fronts for the residents of Albert Square to enjoy. 


Before and after! The iconic area had previously been a pile of rubble in May yet new images have shown it near completion (swipe to see before and after) 

Modern! The area will also act as a beer garden so that socially-distanced scenes can be shot externally, the original set (pictured) has been transformed with benches and pink parasols 

Original: The original Albert Square set is pictured with the Queen Vic pub behind it 

Earlier this year, images showed the set buzzing with activity as work continued amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Construction sites were able to work ‘if it is done safely’ yet the project may not have been, to some, classed as ‘essential’.

The BBC was accused of ‘complacency’ over the astonishing £87 million bill for its new EastEnders set in March.

The project, nicknamed E20 after the soap’s fictitious postcode, is already £27million over budget and is not expected to be fully completed until May 2023, nearly five years late.

MPs said BBC bosses ‘badly’ managed the construction and that they made ‘a serious error’ by failing to consider what project management skills they needed. The public accounts committee said they secured a contract poorly, drastically increasing costs.


Then and now! Meanwhile the Queen Vic pub, which was originally unveiled in May with pale bricks, has been newly-painted red to match the beloved soap’s watering hole (pictured in May, left, and on Saturday, right) 

Original: The famous red-walled Queen Vic pub pictured on the original set 

The committee also found that contract negotiations took six months longer than planned, partly because of discussions about what bricks to use for the set. Meanwhile, the corporation spent £50,000 on samples.

MPs added that they were ‘disappointed by the BBC’s complacency in managing this project, particularly in its early stages’.

And they said the BBC ‘underestimated the scale and complexity of the project, including how it would age the new sets so that they either exactly replicate what viewers are used to, or look realistic where there are new locations’.  

The set consists of a ‘front lot’ – a brickwork replica of the current set – and a ‘back lot’, which will provide extra locations to ‘better reflect modern East End London’.

The end! A beer garden has been implemented as filming resumed for EastEnders in June after lockdown was lifted at the Borehamwood sound-stage. The soap aired its final episode in June (pictured) and will return in September

A BBC spokesman said at the time: ‘We strongly reject the notion that there has been any complacency in managing this project.

‘Like any building work of this scale, there have been challenges along the way including construction market issues beyond our control and working on a brownfield site.’

The extended sound stage sees a new railway line and block of flats in place, replicating the soap’s original set up.

EastEnders’ brand new set was first announced four years ago when it was also revealed that the show’s old 1984 set was in poor condition.

As well as an extension of the famous Albert Square, EastEnders’ new set will feature a brand new block of flats to house all manner of colourful characters.

It is being perfectly built to replicate the old set, which had been in use since the soap first began. 

According to The Telegraph last year, ongoing maintenance issues on the old set hampered the show’s filming schedule and presented health and safety concerns.  

The updated set will allow the crew to film the programme in HD as bosses feared filming above standard definition on the current set would allow viewers to notice that the fronts of the Queen Vic and its surrounding buildings are made of plaster and plywood. 

The HD set’s buildings are made entirely out of brick, however the crew are working diligently to ensure they appear identical on camera to the buildings that viewers are familiar with. 

Chaos: The BBC was accused of ‘complacency’ over the astonishing £87 million bill for its new EastEnders set in March. The project, nicknamed E20 after the soap’s fictitious postcode, is already £27million over budget and is not expected to be fully completed until May 2023, nearly five years late (Phil Mitchell and Linda Carter pictured) 

Source: Read Full Article