EastEnders' £87m set closer to completion as builders finish Queen Vic
20th October 2020

EastEnders’ £87m set takes a step closer to completion as builders finish work on the redesigned Queen Vic and add the last touches to Albert Square’s new shops and eateries

  • The big-budget transformation has seen many of the soap’s biggest business receive a lavish makeover
  • The Queen Vic is closest to completion after being repainted with a new gold sign
  • The BBC was accused of ‘complacency’ over the £87 million bill for its new EastEnders set in March 
  • The project, nicknamed E20 after the soap’s fictitious postcode, is not expected to be completed until 2023 

EastEnders’ new £87 million set has taken a step closer to completion, as builders finished work on the redesigned Queen Vic pub along with a slew of other businesses on Tuesday.

Snaps show the big-budget set isn’t far from being glimpsed on screens, with the newly-painted tavern boasting a new version of its iconic sign.

Work on the EastEnders’ set has been ongoing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite being a step closer to completion is still not expected to be done until 2023.

Changes: EastEnders’ new £87 million set has taken a step closer to completion, as builders finished work on the redesigned Queen Vic pub along with a slew of other businesses on Tuesday

The Queen Vic still boasts its famous red-bricked exterior, along with a new gold version of its famous sign, keeping its place as the heart of Albert Square.

Other updates include a newly-refurbished strip of shops and eateries, including an Indian restaurant, pawnbrokers and a pharmacy, as well as the railway line running through the centre of Walford.

Beneath the iconic railway line are yet more local businesses, including Mitchell’s Autos, the Polish supermarket, the E13 nightclub and show stalwart Ian Beale’s fish and chip shop.

Do you see it? Beneath the iconic railway line are yet more local businesses, including Mitchell’s Autos, the Polish supermarket, the E13 nightclub and show stalwart Ian Beale’s fish and chip shop 


Check it out! As ever the strip of garden in the centre of the Square is surrounded by houses and flats, acting as the homes for some of the soap’s most iconic families, including the ever-warring Mitchells and the Beales

That’s new! Other updates include a newly-refurbished strip of shops and eateries, including an Indian restaurant, pawnbrokers and a pharmacy, as well as the railway line running through the centre of Walford



Transformed: Snaps from the vast development show builders have added the final touches to the iconic Queen Vic pub, including a new glimpse at its iconic sign


Did you get a makeover? The Queen Vic still boasts its famous red-bricked exterior, along with a new gold version of its famous sign, keeping its place as the heart of Albert Square

Prominent: It takes centre stage in the heart of Albert Square, having been the base for many a soap feud during EastEnders’ 35-year history

As ever the strip of garden in the centre of the Square is surrounded by houses and flats, acting as the homes for some of the soap’s most iconic families, including the ever-warring Mitchells and the Beales 

The BBC was previously 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, went £27million over budget and is not expected to be fully completed until May 2023, nearly five years late.

Hard to miss: The legendary pub has been the basis for many of EastEnders’ most iconic moments making it one of the more-recognised images in soap history 

In the middle: As ever the strip of garden in the centre of the Square is surrounded by houses and flats, acting as the homes for some of the soap’s most iconic families, including the ever-warring Mitchells and the Beales

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


Delayed: The project, nicknamed E20 after the soap’s fictitious postcode, went £27 million 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.

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’.

Drama: 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


Controversial: The public accounts committee said they secured a contract poorly, drastically increasing costs

Taking their time! 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

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

More to see: 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’

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’.

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

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

Angry: They added: ‘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’

Needs an update: 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

‘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.

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.

Worries: 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

Time for a new look! The updated set will allow the crew to film in HD as bosses feared filming above standard definition would allow viewers to notice that the fronts of the Queen Vic and surrounding buildings are made of plaster and plywood

It’s back! EastEnders returned to TV screens last month after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the show going off air for the first time in its 35-year history

New rules: Updated filming techniques now adhere to social distancing guidelines, however bosses have ‘cheated’ the social distancing rules with CGI trickery, Perspex screens and the use of stars’ real-life partners

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.

EastEnders returned to TV screens last month after the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the show going off air for the first time in its 35-year history.

Updated filming techniques now adhere to social distancing guidelines, however bosses have ‘cheated’ the social distancing rules with CGI trickery, Perspex screens and the use of stars’ real-life partners, who served as body doubles for intimate scenes. 

EastEnders continues tonight at 7:35pm on BBC One. 

Back soon: EastEnders continues tonight at 7:35pm on BBC One

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