Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

A selection of key EastEnders storylines

By Fiona Pryor
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

A selection of past and present EastEnder cast members

Whatever happens in EastEnders, fans can always be certain that a wedding will never go to plan and cheerful characters do not stay that way for long.

As the BBC One soap celebrates its 25th anniversary, here is a selection of some of Albert Square's most memorable storylines.

Dirty Den (Leslie Grantham) and Angie Watts (Anita Dobson)

The love/hate relationship between Angie Watts and Dirty Den, played by Anita Dobson and Leslie Grantham, dominated the show during 1986.

However, their tempestuous relationship came to a head on Christmas Day that year when Den served Angie with divorce papers.

That episode attracted 31 million viewers, and remains the BBC programme with the highest ratings to date.

Den had previously tried to leave Angie, having embarked upon a relationship with Jan Hammond (Jane How).

However, after hearing his plans, Angie told her husband she was terminally ill, forcing him to stay out of guilt.

It was only after Den overheard Angie drunkenly recalling her lies, that he determined to leave her once and for all.

Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) and Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan)

The Slater family, who moved into the Square in 2000, made a huge impact on the show.

In particular, "tart with a heart" Kat Slater, played by Jessie Wallace, became a firm favourite with fans.

But it was the episode in 2001, where Kat revealed she was actually Zoe's mother - not her sister - that fans will remember.

Upset at hearing Zoe (Michelle Ryan) was planning to leave Walford to live with her uncle Harry (Michael Elphick), Kat tries to stop her.

It prompted an argument in which Zoe shouted the now infamous words: "You can't tell me what to do, you ain't my mother", to which Kat replied "Yes, I am!"

Kat went on to explain how she had been raped by the same uncle Zoe that planned to live with.

Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin)

Throughout 2000-2001 fans saw Phil Mitchell, played by Steve McFadden, earn himself a number of enemies across the square.

He was eventually shot, which led to a Dallas-style whodunnit storyline, with several characters in the frame.

Fans were left to guess who was responsible, with suspects including Steve Owen (Martin Kemp), Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass), Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), Mark Fowler (Todd Carter).

But it was Phil's ex-girlfriend Lisa Fowler, played by Lucy Benjamin, who had actually pulled the trigger.

It was reported that several outcomes of the storyline were filmed and only a few TV executives knew the identity of the would-be assassin - not even the actors were told.

Tiffany Mitchell (Martine McCutcheon) and Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp)

On New Year's Eve 1998, producers killed off the popular character Tiffany Mitchell (Martine McCutcheon).

Over Christmas she fell down the stairs after rowing with her husband, Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp). Everyone assumed he had pushed her and she did not attempt to correct them, so he was arrested.

It was soon after her release from hospital that Tiffany decided to leave Walford with their daughter Courtney. However, unbeknown to her, Grant had also been released on bail.

Upon discovering she was planning to take their child away, Grant attempts to leave with Courtney himself. A distraught Tiffany pursues the fleeing pair across the square, and in a tragic accident is hit by a car driven by Frank Butcher. She dies on the spot.

Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) and Dirty Den (Leslie Grantham)

Dirty Den was killed off in February 1989, after escaping from police custody.

He was shot by a local gangster during a brief rendezvous with Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully), whom he was having an affair with at that time.

However, 14 years after his presumed death, producers brought the character back.

In 2003, Den stunned his on-screen daughter Sharon (Letitia Dean) by walking into her nightclub with the familiar greeting: "Hello princess."

Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) and Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer)

The comical arguments between Bianca Jackson and Ricky Butcher, played by Patsy Palmer and Sid Owen, made the characters firm favourites with fans in the late 1990s.

Bianca's catcall: "Rickaaaaaaay" frequently resounded across the square as she berated her well-meaning but doltish boyfriend.

In 1997 about 22 million people tuned in to see the argumentative couple tie the knot, though the ceremony was almost cancelled following a riotous stag night.

The subsequent marriage was short-lived, and the couple divorced two years later when both actors left the show.

But in 2008 they both returned, and are now set to remarry this week to coincide with the show's anniversary.

Mark Fowler (Todd Carty)

Often seen as the peacemaker of the family, Mark Fowler was the first soap character to contract the HIV virus, helping to dispel some of the myths that surrounded the illness in 1991.

The groundbreaking storyline explored how he dealt with the news, summoning up the courage to tell his family and forming new relationships.

Though the character lived with the illness for many years, Mark was eventually written out in 2003 after being told his body was no longer responding to drug treatment.

He made the decision to leave the square, rather than allow his family watch him die. He made a tearful farewell, before word reached them a while later that he had passed away.

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