First look at EastEnders' £87million set with revamped Queen Vic

First look at EastEnders’ £87million set: Aerial photos show revamped Queen Vic, terraced houses and railway line as all-new Albert Square begins to take shape

  • EastEnders’ new set is beginning to take shape with aerial photos showing a revamped Albert Square 
  • Construction of the soap’s recognisable terraced houses, railway line and the Queen Vic is well under way 
  • The replica is already expected to go £27 million over budget – costing around £86.7million in total
  • It is expected to be completed in 2023 – two-and-half years later than planned 
  • The current set was built in 1984 using steel frames, plywood and plaster brick panels
  • It was intended to last only two years but is still in use over 30 years later 
  • The replica has been made after health and safety fears on the current one 
  • It will also be able to film the BBC soap in HD 

The new set of EastEnders is finally beginning to take shape- four years after plans were submitted to replace the current one at London’s Elstree Studios.  

Aerial photos show a revamped and HD-ready Albert Square complete with the BBC soap’s recognisable terraced houses, block of flats, railway line and the Queen Vic. 

The replica is already expected to go £27 million over budget – costing around £86.7million in total – and will be completed two-and-half years later than planned.

Progress: The new set of EastEnders is finally beginning to take shape- four years after plans were submitted to replace the current one at London’s Elstree Studios

Huge progress has been made since March, where the plot was almost empty apart from scaffolding and building appliances. 

Eight months on, Albert Square is beginning to take shape with the main structural work of the Queen Vic and Walford’s terraced houses having been completed.  

EastEnders’ fans will be happy to see the new square will have all the old favourites including a new block of luxury flats, railway tunnel and line. 

Exciting: The new set is predicted to be ready for filming in 2023 (pictured L-R) Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill), Johnny (Sam Strike), Linda (Kellie Bright), Mick Danny Dyer), Shirley(Linda Henry) and Tina (Luisa Bradshaw White)

Building works: Aerial photos show a revamped and HD-ready Albert Square complete with the BBC soap’s recognisable terraced houses, block of flats, railway line and the Queen Vic

30 years on: The current set (pictured far left) was built in 1984 using steel frames, plywood and plaster brick panels. It was intended to last only two years


Renovation: The BBC is working on building a new EastEnders set (left) in Elstree on the other side of the studio complex to the current one (right)


Identical: The Queen Vic’s structural work is almost complete (L) but the windows and roof still needs to go on


Construction work: Houses begin to take shape in Albert Square (pictured left new set, right current one) but have modern twists to resemble London in the present day


Well under way: The railway line and tunnel is in the process of being built (pictured left, right current set)

The current set was built in 1984 using steel frames, plywood and plaster brick panels. It was intended to last only two years. 

The poor quality of construction means high-definition filming is not possible, while health and safety concerns have caused delays to filming.

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 the fronts of the Queen Vic and its surrounding buildings are made of plaster and plywood. 

Made of bricks: 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 the fronts of the Queen Vic are made of plaster and plywood

Expensive: Costs of the new project (pictured) at the studios in Hertfordshire have spiralled and it is £27million over the original budget

The BBC is building the new ‘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’.  

It has been reported that one of the new locations will be a mosque. 

The front lot is expected to cost £54.7million – 75 per cent more than planned – after it took 11 months for the BBC to negotiate with its contractor Wates. 

Construction began on the project- named E20- earlier this year, while the back lot is still ‘at an early design stage’. 

Responsibility for the E20 project lies with Richard Dawkins, the £195,000-a-year chief operating officer of BBC Content. 

Push backs: The replica is already expected to go £27 million over budget and will be completed two-and-half years later than planned

Recognisable: Eight months on, Albert Square is beginning to take shape with the main structural work of Queen Vic and Walford’s terraced houses having been completed

New front lot: The BBC is building the new ‘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’ 

Pricey: The front lot is expected to cost £54.7million – 75 per cent more than planned – after it took 11 months for the BBC to negotiate with its contractor Wates

Walford: EastEnders’ fans will be happy to see that the new square will have all the old favourites including a new block of luxury flats 

Renovation: The BBC said: ‘The set of EastEnders was built in 1984 and only intended for use for two years. Over 30 years later, the show remains one of the BBC’s flagship programmes and yet is filming from a set that is no longer fit for purpose’

A damning National Audit Office report published last December found the BBC’s poor planning and lack of expertise means it will cost 45 per cent more.

The NAO says the Corporation ‘will not be able to deliver value for money’ with the project, named E20 after the soap opera’s fictional Walford postcode, which is being funded entirely from the £150.50-a-year TV licence fee.

The BBC said in a statement: ‘The set of EastEnders was built in 1984 and only intended for use for two years. Over 30 years later, the show remains one of the BBC’s flagship programmes and yet is filming from a set that is no longer fit for purpose.’ 

‘The new set will be suitable for HD filming for the first time and extend Walford to better reflect modern East End London.’

Oh dear: A damning National Audit Office report published last December found the BBC’s poor planning and lack of expertise means it will cost 45 per cent more

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