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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 February 2005, 11:55 GMT
In pictures: EastEnders' 20 years

EastEnders' Fowler and Beale families

BBC soap EastEnders, home of the Fowlers and Beales, is 20 years old on 19 February. Since 1985, characters have dealt with mental illness, teen pregnancy, rape and Aids. Ian (top right) and Pauline (bottom, second left) remain in the show.

The Banned from EastEnders

Ian Beale (played by Adam Woodyatt, back), Sharon (Letitia Dean), Kelvin (Paul J Medford, front) and Simon Wicks (Nick Berry, right) formed The Banned after being kicked out of the Queen Victoria pub. Their song Something Outta Nothing became a 1986 hit.

Den and Angie from EastEnders

Angie and Den Watts, played by Anita Dobson and Leslie Grantham, were one of the soap's most memorable couples. Den handed Angie divorce papers in a 1986 Christmas episode watched by a record 30.15 million people.

Nick Cotton and Nigel Bates from EastEnders

"Nasty" Nick Cotton, played by John Altman (left), established himself as one of Albert Square's favourite villains. Nigel Bates (Paul Bradley) became one of Nick's victims in 1998.

Grant and Phil Mitchell from EastEnders

The Mitchells have dominated EastEnders since 1990, with brothers Grant (Ross Kemp, left) and Phil (Steve McFadden) kept in line by mother Peggy. Phil Mitchell is currently on the run from the law but is expected to return to the soap.

Ian and Cindy Beale from EastEnders

Ian Beale's frustrated wife Cindy (played by Michelle Collins) had affairs with Simon and David Wicks before paying a hitman to murder her husband in 1996. Unfortunately for her, Ian survived and Cindy died in prison.

Tiffany, Bianca, Simon and Tony from EastEnders

Tiffany and Bianca (Martine McCutcheon and Patsy Palmer, right) brought some fun back into EastEnders with a 1970s theme night in 1996. Tiffany's gay brother Simon (Andrew Lynford, above left) had a brief affair with Tony (Mark Homer).

Steve kills Saskia in EastEnders

Former Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp (left) played soap villain Steve Owen, who killed ex-girlfriend Saskia (Deborah Sheridan-Taylor) with an ashtray in 1999 then framed Matthew Rose (Joe Absolom) for her death.

Pat, Peggy and Frank in EastEnders

Pat Evans (actress Pam St Clement, left) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) have provoked some of EastEnders' most heated arguments. In 2000, Peggy revealed she had discovered Pat's affair with her husband Frank Butcher (Mike Reid).

Barry and Janine Evans in EastEnders

"Did he fall or was he pushed?" was the big question surrounding Barry Evans' death in 2003, as Shaun Williamson left the show. His wife Janine (Charlie Brooks) is now languishing in jail.

Alfie Moon and Kat Slater in EastEnders

Alfie Moon's on-off relationship with Kat Slater was firmly back on in time for their Christmas wedding in 2003, the year viewers voted Shane Richie most popular actor and Jessie Wallace most popular actress at the National TV Awards.

Jim and Dot in EastEnders

Enduring character Dot Cotton (played by June Brown) became Dot Branning after Jim (John Bardon) proposed on the London Eye. EastEnders' producers promised to mark its anniversary with the climax of some "explosive" storylines.

Dirty Den and Chrissie

Dirty Den finally met his end 20 years after his first appearance and 16 years after he was originally thought to have been killed off by a bunch of daffodils next to a canal.


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