With the current standard of storylines in the leading soap operas stretching credulity further than a Chelsea player’s evidence at an FA hearing, the BBC has decided to go back to basics and try something a little simpler with its next continuing drama.
EastEnders: The Early Years is set in an Albert Square pre-school nursery and tracks the lives of the young pupils in a gritty drama that is set to take the nation by storm.
Even before the programme’s launch, however, there has been controversy, after Ross Kemp applied for the part of the young Grant Mitchell, only to be told he was too baby faced to play a three-year-old. There was better news for Steve McFadden, however, as he was given the opportunity to play the role of the nursery’s own Mr Potato Head toy.
The show is set for an explosive start, however, as the mini Mitchell Brothers fight to defend their ‘manor’, the sandpit in the playground. While they ruled the roost with their plastic buckets and spades, they suddenly find themselves under threat when a new face arrives at the nursery. Derek Branning turns up with his own Tonka digger, which threatens to do more than just kick sand in the faces of the Mitchells.
Elsewhere, little Ian Beale’s attempts to turn the Fisher Price shop into Beale’s Fish Plaice are met with resistance from practitioners staff, who step up security around the nursery aquarium.
Meanwhile, Pauline gets into trouble for clocking Arthur around the head with a plastic frying pan after learning that he gave nursery head teacher Mrs Hewitt a hug in the allotment.
Dopey Ricky gets his hopes up when he’s told it’s time to develop his motor skills, but soon learns that none of it involves messing about in a garage or getting covered in grease.
Nick Cotton’s crime wave, ranging from lollipop extortion to black market play dough dealing, is brought to a sudden halt when he’s sent to the thinking chair.
And that’s all just in the opening episode.
Make sure you tune in for later episodes when little Alfie pulls a moon after his cat does a runner, Tiffany sings a song then disappears, the Mitchell brothers’ little sister Sam changes appearance mysteriously and Pat Wicks is sent home for wearing unsuitable jewellery.
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