Creator: Julia Smith, Tony Holland
Starring: Phil Daniels, Matt Di Angelo, Kellie Shirley, June Brown, John Bardon, Luisa Bradshaw-White, Linda Henry, Danny Dyer, Tamzin Outhwaite, Harry Reid
Production Company: BBC
Kent Locations Used: Dungeness, Stansted, The Ringlestone Inn – Harrietsham, St Giles Church – Womshill, Port of Ramsgate, Victoria Gardens – Broadstairs, Morelli’s – Broadstairs, Stone Bay, Port of Dover, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Joss Bay, Margate, Dreamland
Eastenders (1985-2023) is a long-running BBC One soap about the lives of the residents of Albert Square, set in the fictional borough of Walford in East London.
The series was created by Julia Smith (Angels, The District Nurse) and Tony Holland (Eldorado, Snoken) and first aired in 1985. The soap has become a fan favourite and won a number of awards, including 10 BAFTA’s.
Though filmed mainly in a studio, the production team have ventured out to Kent multiple times over the years.
In an hour-long special broadcast in March 2007, production visited Dungeness, where viewers find that Kevin (Phil Daniels (Chicken Run, Quadrophenia)) is still alive following the revelation that he is not the father of Dean (Matt Di Angelo (Hustle, I Dream)) and Carly (Kellie Shirley (In the Long Run (2019), Biff & Chip)). A tragic accident provokes Kevin’s decision to return to Albert Square.
For the 2007 Easter Special, production visited the village of Stansted which appears as Dot’s (June Brown (Misunderstood, Sitting Target)) hometown. The Ringlestone Inn in Harrietsham features as the place where Dot and Jim (John Bardon (East Is East, Clockwise)) stay during their trip down memory lane to Dot’s old home. Also featured is St Giles Church in Wormshill, where Dot used to go to Sunday school, and where she discovers abandoned baby Tomas and decides to take him home with her.
In 2015, production visited Broadstairs and Ramsgate in an episode where Tina (Luisa Bradshaw-White (This Life, Holby City)), Shirley (Linda Henry (Beautiful Thing, Bad Girls)) and Mick (Danny Dyer (The Football Factory, Severance)) go on the hunt for their father Stan’s (Timothy West (The Day of the Jackal, EverAfter)) stolen ashes. Locations featured include the Port of Ramsgate, Victoria Gardens in Broadstairs, Morelli’s in Broadstairs, and Stone Bay where the Carter family scatter Stan’s ashes.
In 2018, Eastenders came back to Kent for the episode featuring the return of much-loved character Mel Owen (Tamzin Outhwaite (Bull (2021), Cassandra’s Dream), who had departed from the show nearly 16 years prior. The Port of Dover features as itself in the episode, as do DFDS Ferries, who provided the ferry for the scene where Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid), pursued by Mel, escapes to France with a bag of stolen cash.
In 2022, production visited Kent twice. The Historic Dockyard Chatham features in the episode aired on Monday 5th September, doubling as 1979 London for flashback scenes of the Mitchell brothers. Areas filmed include Anchor Wharf, The Ropewalk and The Tarred Yarn Store.
Later in 2022, production returned to Kent for their 2022 Christmas Day Special and Boxing Day Special to film a dramatic car crash scene at Joss Bay involving Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and Janine (Charlie Brooks). Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) manages to rescue them from the ocean, but he never returns.
Most recently, in 2023, the Eastenders crew visited Margate to film a final day out for terminally ill Lola (Danielle Harold) and her husband Jay (Jamie Borthwick). The couple visit Walpole Bay, Dreamland, Henry’s Gifts, Margate King’s Steps, Sands Café and the Lido before Jay is arrested and taken to Margate Police Station – the exterior of which is actually the Margate Museum in Market Place.
Dungeness is a unique expanse of SSSI shingle beach with ramshackle huts, old and ultra-modern residences, two lighthouses and a power station. This privately-owned estate is a popular filming location, having also featured in Doctor Who: The Claws of Axos (1971), Back to Life (2019-2021) and Brave New World (2020).
Stansted is a rural village in the Tonbridge and Malling district of Kent with schools, pubs, village halls and a recreation ground. The village has excellent transport links as it is near the M20.
The Ringlestone Inn in Harrietsham is a 16th century pub steeped in history, with beamed ceilings and a large garden. Harrietsham is a rural village situated six miles east of Maidstone, which has a number of historic buildings including The Old House and The Saxon Church of St John the Baptist. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) also filmed in Harrietsham.
St Giles Church is the sole church in the tiny village of Wormshill, in the Maidstone district. The Church appears to have been built by the Normans, and features in the Domesday Book (1086AD). Wormshill lies near the top of the North Downs, within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and contains a number of heritage-listed buildings.
The Port of Ramsgate offers 32 acres of dedicated Port land including 3 modern Ro-Ro bridges and Water and bunker facilities on all berths. The Port is a popular filming location, often doubling as the Port of Dover. Other productions to have filmed here include Not Going Out (2013), The Tunnel (2013) and Whitstable Pearl (2021).
Laid out in 1892, the Victoria Gardens in Broadstairs include charming features such as a rustic arbour and pergola. The Bandstand is a prominent feature within the gardens, as are the Clock Tower and an Anglo-Indian style shelter. Only Fools and Horses: The Jolly Boys’ Outing (1989), The Larkins (2021-2022) and True Things (2022) also feature Broadstairs.
The first Morelli’s ice cream parlour was opened in Broadstairs in 1932. Refurbished in the 1950’s, this parlour retains a magical, vintage feel with its soda fountain, juke box and pink leatherette booths. Other productions to have filmed here include Hancock and Joan (2008), Edge of Heaven (2014) and The Lady in the Van (2015).
As the busiest passenger port in Europe, The Port of Dover is a very sought-after filming location. Other productions to have filmed at the ferry terminal include Disney’s Christopher Robin (2018) and the Series 7 Christmas special of Trollied (2018).
The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a 17th Century dockyard spanning over 80 acres, containing over 100 buildings dating from the Georgian and Victorian periods. It is Kent’s most popular filming location, having recently played host to A Spy Among Friends (2022), Enola Holmes 2 (2022) and Living (2022).
Joss Bay is a Blue Flag sandy bay, 200 meters long. Facilities include lifeguards, café, deckhairs, parasols and sun beds, and a Kiddies Corner with bouncy castles and trampolines. The Flood (2019), Sulphur and White (2020) and Dracula (2020) all feature scenes shot on Joss Bay.
Margate is a seaside town complete with sandy beach, harbour, amusement park, period housing and ultra-modern art gallery Turner Contemporary. It is a very popular filming location and was recently the setting for the Sky series Dreamland (2023) and Empire of Light (2023).
Considered to be the oldest-surviving amusement park in Great Britain, Dreamland dates back to the early 1860s and was revamped in 2017. The park has a Roller Room, vintage arcades, a fully restored Grade II listed Art Deco ballroom and beautiful rides dating from 1920 to the present day. The park has recently featured in Series 4 of Killing Eve (2018-2022), Series 2 of Whitstable Pearl (2021-2022) and Two Weeks to Live (2020).
Eastenders has been broadcast weekly on BBC One since 1985. Old episodes are available to stream via BBC iPlayer and UKTV Play.
For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.