EastEnders Live Week

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"EastEnders Live Week"
EastEnders episodes
Bobby Beale admits to killing Lucy Beale.jpg
Bobby Beale is revealed to be Lucy Beale's killer in a flashback episode.
Episode nos.Episodes 5015–5020
(6 episodes)
Directed byKarl Neilson
Written byMatt Evans
Lauren Klee
Rob Gittins
Jesse O'Mahoney
James Payne
Produced byDominic Treadwell-Collins
Original air date(s)17–20 February 2015
Running time185 minutes (2x30; 1x55; 2x35)
Episode chronology
← Previous
Episode 5014
Next →
Episode 5021

EastEnders Live Week (also known as EastEnders: The Week of Revelations) is a set of five EastEnders episodes, including live elements, which was broadcast 17–20 February 2015 to mark the programme's 30th anniversary. The episodes were broadcast on BBC One and simulcast to Irish viewers on RTÉ One. The week was based around the wedding of Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Jane Beale (Laurie Brett), whilst concluding the "Who Killed Lucy Beale?" storyline and featuring elements of the aftermath of Nick Cotton's (John Altman) demise, after he collapsed in his mother Dot Branning's (June Brown) arms having injected himself with impure heroin on 13 February 2015. The week also featured Kim Fox-Hubbard (Tameka Empson) giving birth to her daughter Pearl two months prematurely, the continuing fall out from Dean Wicks' (Matt Di Angelo) rape of Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and the shock return of Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), who was presumed dead nine years earlier.[1]

Plot[edit]

All episodes were set on the day of Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Jane Beale's (Laurie Brett) wedding. Each episode included live "inserts" before broadcasting a full live episode on 20 February. There were two episodes broadcast on 19 February; following its usual broadcast, the show aired its first flashback episode, in which viewers relived the hours leading up to Lucy Beale's (Hetti Bywater) death (see Who Killed Lucy Beale?).[2]

17 February 2015[edit]

The residents of Albert Square are haunted by the death of Lucy as Ian and Jane's wedding dawns over Walford. Lauren Branning's (Jacqueline Jossa) quest to out the killer continues; she gives Jane the wedding card, however Jane is shocked when it is revealed what Lauren wrote – "I know what happened to Lucy. She was killed at home." A worried Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) informs Max Branning (Jake Wood) that Lauren knows what happened to Lucy. Max is unnerved and when Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald) confronts him, he tells her that Lauren knows that she killed Lucy. Meanwhile, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) returns to the square with Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) by his side. Phil is determined to find Ian as he has found something that he should know, whilst Peggy confronts Dot Branning (June Brown) over her son, Nick Cotton (John Altman). However, it soon becomes apparent that they have been followed by a mysterious man called Vincent Hubbard (Richard Blackwood). He approaches Phil in search for Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) before going to the hospital, leaving a single rose for her. It's also the day that Ronnie is due to be woken up from her coma; doctors are successful when she starts breathing on her own, and an overwhelmed Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) tells Charlie Cotton (Declan Bennett) not to breathe a word of their recent affair; Ronnie awakens as the conversation happens.

18 February 2015[edit]

Phil is about to explain to Ian what he has found out, but after Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) walks in on their conversation, he cannot do it. After some encouragement from Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and an appearance from Tanya Cross (Jo Joyner), Jane makes it to the restaurant where, after some hesitation, she makes her vows to Ian. Meanwhile, Max and Abi find out that Lauren is at an abortion clinic. Max follows her, whilst Abi awaits nervously at the wedding. Max tries to talk some sense into Lauren but is unable to get through to her; she goes ahead with the consultation meeting but Peter Beale (Ben Hardy) interrupts her. He tells her that he would be a good father and would support Lauren through all her issues. Lauren replies that she is confused on what to do, before confessing to Peter what she knows about Lucy. At the reception, Jane returns home where she calls Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) over with Bobby Beale (Eliot Carrington) and asks him to take the boy to his home. Ian catches up with Jane, and Peter walks in with Cindy Williams (Mimi Keene) and says he thinks that it was either Cindy, Ian or Jane who killed Lucy. Max returns home and shouts at Abi, whilst Tanya walks in and demands to know what's going on. Max is hesitant, but Abi delivers her the truth and denies that she killed Lucy, but did have a fight with her. Dot confesses to an unconscious Ronnie about what she has done, but as she is revealing all she is overheard by Charlie and Arthur "Fatboy" Chubb (Ricky Norwood). Dot then confesses all to them as well, but before she can finish Charlie announces that he is going to kill Nick and Dot states that she has already done so.

19 February 2015[edit]

"Look Back in Anger"[edit]

Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) reveals to Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill) that he has seen Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) on the square and goes to look for him without success. Dean gains entry to the cellar of the pub armed with a jerry can of petrol. Nancy discovers him and he takes her hostage but is released after Mick finds them. Dean repeats that he is not a rapist and does not want to hurt anyone, but wants revenge by burning down the pub. However, before Dean can light the petrol Mick attacks him with a fire extinguisher before pressing on his throat with his foot leaving Dean unconscious. At the reception, Kim Fox-Hubbard (Tameka Empson) has been feeling pain in her stomach and goes into premature labour after a heated argument with her sister, Denise Fox (Diane Parish). Kim names her baby Pearl as she is so small and precious. As Kim is about to leave for the hospital, she tells Denise that she is to blame for her unexpected arrival and that she doesn't want anyone near her and her baby. Away from the reception, Stacey, Martin Fowler (James Bye) and Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami) find Nick's body in 23 Albert Square. They realise that Dot knew and that they have to call the police. While Dot is confessing all to Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) and Ian, Charlie realises that they can get rid of the body and then no one would believe what Dot is saying. However, while they find Les Coker (Roger Sloman) and Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) to devise a plan, Dot phones the police and confesses to Nick's death. After showing DI Samantha Keeble (Alison Newman) where Nick's body is she is taken in for questioning. When Sharon confronts Phil over his recent behavior, he tells her he has been receiving a lot of money but says no more than that, and Sharon pressures him to focus on his family and his businesses and to stay away from dealing which would see him in prison. As Phil has his conversation with Sharon he receives several texts from an unknown person. Away from the square Phil arranges to meet up with the unknown person who is revealed to be his former wife Kathy Sullivan (Gillian Taylforth), who has been presumed dead for nine years. Peter's family are stunned following his shocking revelation and he, Cindy, Jane and Ian all start to suspect one another; before Peter blames Denise. He asks Ian to go and confront her and after hesitating he leaves to find Denise only to be distracted by the drama at Dot's. Later Peter confronts Denise himself and Ian stops him stating that she did not kill Lucy. After Peter returns home to Cindy and Jane the phone begins to ring, with all three reluctant to answer. Ian, meanwhile, is having a phone conversation with a mystery person and tells them that he knows and to get everyone out, as he is coming home. Ian returns home finding Jane and asks her to tell him what exactly happened on the night Lucy died.

Flashback episode[edit]

The episode casts back to the night of Lucy's murder. The puzzle begins to piece itself together, and previous mysteries are reaching a conclusion. Whitney continues to envy Lucy after she slept with her crush, Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard). Lucy catches Billy stealing fish from the chip shop and the pair arguing seen by Lee, during which Billy suggests that they take their relationship further. Lucy then makes her way to the flat to meet a client and boards the same bus as Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick). As she alights the bus her brother Peter is seen meeting up with a drug dealer to score cocaine for her. Lucy is unhappy when Jay and Ben appear at the flat, with Ben demanding that she get rid of the client so that they can talk. The client is revealed to be a drunken Jake Stone (Jamie Lomas) who is looking to restart his fling with Lauren. She takes pity on him and the pair take an unlicensed mini cab home. Back in Walford the driver leaves Lucy to take care of him after seeing the state of Jake. While Max walks the dog he comes across the pair and helps Lucy get Jake inside, unknown to him he has been followed by Abi who sees this. Inside, Jake attempts to attack Max and accidentally punches Lucy causing her to lose an earring and have a nose bleed. Meanwhile, Ronnie obtains a gun from Vincent and the pair are revealed to be longstanding acquaintances. Ben and Jay have also returned to Walford and Jay encourages Ben to see Phil. It is revealed that Ben robbed the shop on his own and as Lucy has cancelled a trip to Miami he believes she owes him and steals her belongings. Left with nothing, Lucy returns home, but on her way meets Abi, who confronts her about her relationship with Max before attacking Lucy. Abi returns home following the incident and happily tells Max what she has done. Billy while attempting to get rid of the fish and his pictures of Lucy is interrupted by Peter, causing him to hide the images under the fridge. He discreetly gets rid of the fish and whilst he is out Peter starts to organise Lucy's cocaine. When Billy returns Peter expresses his feelings about Lucy being the favourite child, before deciding that she is on her own and discards of the drugs. As Lucy arrives home, she has a heart to heart with Jane. Upon going inside she overhears a conversation in which Denise tells her daughter Chelsea Fox (Tiana Benjamin) that she is going to leave Ian. Lucy is angered by this and orders her to leave immediately, which results in the pair of them fighting which Bobby overhears. Cindy, Ian and Lee are then seen making voicemails on Lucy's phone while she sits outside of the Beale house. Upon going back in Lucy with her jewellery box on the table writes an note but is interrupted. Jane and Masood, meanwhile, have been arguing all evening about Jane rushing to the Beale house to help resolve various issues. When her phone rings again Masood storms off assuming it's Ian. When Jane answers she calms the person on the other line down and arrives at the Beale house. Jane finds the front door ajar and Lucy unconscious in the living room. Upon checking Lucy for vital signs she realises that she is dead and turns to find Bobby holding Lucy's jewellery box.

20 February 2015[edit]

This episode returns to the present day, with Ian confronting Jane over what happened to Lucy. Jane continues to cover for Bobby by saying that she killed Lucy. When Peter and Cindy return to the house, Jane begins to go into her version of the details of what happened, but Ian realises she is lying when he sees that Bobby has tried to reach Jane, and thus did the same on the night that Lucy died. Jane reveals that she convinced Bobby that it was someone else had killed Lucy, and that she carried Lucy lovingly to the place where her body would be found. Ian calls Bobby over to tell him what he did, but changes his mind after Jane tells him to view it from her point of view. Ian returns and insists that the whole family must deal with the situation together, which everyone agrees to, except Peter who storms out during the ensuing argument saying that he'll never forgive his father. Bobby overhears the argument and drops Lucy's note, which Cindy discovers when she goes to find him; while Ian and Jane insist that Bobby should not discover the truth and they start their marriage anew. Cindy reads Lucy's note to Ian and Jane and when Bobby returns the four embrace. Meanwhile, Mick and Nancy are unable find signs of life from Dean and in a panic leave the cellar locking the door. In The Vic, Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) proposes to Mick who accepts the invitation, sparking calls for more champagne leading to the discovery of the locked door. When a key is found the cellar is discovered to be a mess, with no sign of Dean.

Cast and characters[edit]

Background[edit]

Show bosses confirmed on 1 October 2014 that EastEnders would air a full 30-minute live episode to celebrate 30 years of EastEnders and culminate the "Who Killed Lucy Beale?" storyline. It was also confirmed that all other episodes in the week would include live inserts. This was the third time that the show had aired a live episode, the first time being for the 25th anniversary episode, and the second time when Billy Mitchell carried the Olympic flame. Treadwell-Collins stated the live week as being "a fantastic opportunity for EastEnders to create a massive national event, and one that will enable us to celebrate 30 years of [the show] in spectacular style."[3] He went on to say that the live inserts allow them to "surprise" the audience. "It is ambitious and exciting, and something I know everyone at EastEnders will excel at."[3]

BBC One's controller Charlotte Moore said: "BBC One will bring the nation together to celebrate 30 years of EastEnders by going live across the anniversary week. Next February will mark a massive event on the channel by creating the ultimate 'doof doof' and finally reveal who killed Lucy Beale."[3] Ben Stephenson, controller of drama commissioning at the BBC, added: "After a captivating year of drama in 2014, EastEnders will top this in February 2015 with the most ambitious anniversary any soap has attempted. 'Live week' allows us to keep loads of secrets from the cast, crew and the audience until the very last minute. With shocking reveals and unguessable twists, it's going to be a week that will change Albert Square forever."[3]

Production[edit]

The week featured four thirty-minute episodes, including one flashback episode set on Good Friday 2014, and one sixty-minute episode. All episodes featured live portions, with Friday's episode being broadcast live in its entirety.[4] The week also featured a recreation of the first scene of EastEnders, including use of sound effects from 1985 as three residents find Nick Cotton (John Altman) dead.[5][6] Dominic Treadwell-Collins stated that there had been sickness within the cast and crew in the buildup to the event and that there is no contingency plan if an actor is unavailable. He added that unlike pre-recorded television, the reveal of Lucy's killer cannot be contained by having multiple endings recorded or withholding the scripts and the fact that the killer is not exposed in one line, like had been the case with the reveal of Archie Mitchell's (Larry Lamb) murderer in a live episode that broadcast in 2010.[6]

Filming[edit]

The episodes were directed by Karl Neilson, who has worked on the show for twenty years. In an interview with Digital Spy, he stated: "I spoke to [executive producer] Dominic [Treadwell-Collins] about it in August last year. I'd been working very hard to get this block of episodes - I really wanted to do them because it's my own 20th anniversary this year of working on the show. I knew that these episodes were going to be massive, so I did do a good pitch to try and get the job! They came to me in August and said that I would be directing and I was thrilled. I then started working on the episodes at the beginning of November."[7] After Tuesday's filming had been completed a small fire broke out on the set, the cause of which was a firework. The fire took place on the first floor and roof space of one of the buildings, but it did not cause any immediate production changes.[8] Later it was revealed to be a firework from the end of Friday's episode during a rehearsal.[9]

Cast and characters[edit]

Along with the regular cast, Barbara Windsor and John Partridge returned on 17 February, reprising their roles as Peggy Mitchell and Christian Clarke respectively; Peggy left during the same episode, while Christian appeared until the end of the week.[10][11] Jo Joyner returned on 18 February as Tanya Cross and appeared in episodes until 20 February, where her character again departed. Hetti Bywater (Lucy Beale), Jamie Lomas (Jake Stone) and Tanya Franks (Rainie Cross) all returned to participate in the flashback episode.[12] Richard Blackwood made his EastEnders debut during a live scene in Tuesday's episode, credited as Vincent.[13] Gillian Taylforth made a shock return as Kathy Beale on 19 February 2015 in a live segment.

After the reveal of Lucy's killer aired, Treadwell-Collins revealed that Eliot Carrington, who portrays Bobby Beale, found out that his character was responsible on Monday 16 February.[14] Bywater mentioned that she found out eight hours prior to the reveal, when she turned up to rehearse the scene.[15] Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale), Laurie Brett (Jane Beale), Mimi Keene (Cindy Williams) and Ben Hardy (Peter Beale) were told prior to Christmas, in order to film scenes for episodes that will air after live week.[16] Following Friday's live episode, it was revealed that it was the last day that Hardy and Timothy West (Stan Carter) were due to film for EastEnders, as they had already filmed their characters' final scenes.[16][17]

Continuity[edit]

The wedding dress (on display at the Elstree and Borehamwood Museum in Hertfordshire) worn during EastEnders Live Week" by Laurie Brett as Jane Beale, for the character's second wedding to Ian Beale, played by Adam Woodyatt. The dress was designed to match the colours of the show's opening credits.

Laurie Brett, who plays Jane Beale, wore a silver and grey dress for the character's marriage to Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), which were specifically chosen in order to reflect the colours of the EastEnders opening titles. The third episode of the week contained a scene which directly mirrored that of the show's first scene, in which Reg Cox (Johnnie Clayton) was found dead in an abandoned 23 Albert Square. This also included the recreation of certain sound effects and the repetition of the first line of the show which was spoken by Den Watts (Leslie Grantham).[5] During the flashback episode, Vincent Hubbard (Richard Blackwood) gave his counterpart Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) a bouquet of flowers containing a gun for her, a reference to the on-screen 'death' of Den, who was shot by a man carrying a gun that was hidden in a bunch of daffodils.

The celebrations also featured many outside references. Kim Fox (Tameka Empson) named her daughter "Pearl", which is the traditional stone to celebrate 30th anniversaries. As well as this, all the music that was played during the week were songs that were in the charts in 1985, the year that EastEnders began. During a special montage in Friday’s 30-minute live episode, the camera focused on a plan of Walford which had the names of co-creators Julia Smith and Tony Holland etched inside a heart directly above it.[18]

Related media[edit]

Unlike the 25th anniversary, the 30th has been largely influenced by social networking sites. The Twitter hashtag #EELive appeared on screen in live inserts in order to aid viewers into knowing which scenes are live and which scenes are pre-recorded.[19] Also, Himesh Patel tweeted as his character Tamwar Masood during live broadcasts under the hashtag #TamwarTweets, giving the viewers an in-soap experience of Ian and Jane's wedding night.[20] The saga was heavily promoted in the weeks running up to it. Three trailers were released: The first on 26 January, and a further two on 13 February 2015.[21][22] Two radio trailers were also unveiled on 4 February 2015, both of which aired on BBC Radio 1.[23][24] On 17 February, it was revealed that Danny Dyer, who plays Mick Carter in the soap, would be making pre-recorded safety announcements on the London Underground at Bromley-By-Bow station to celebrate the 30th anniversary.[25]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

The first episode on 17 February received overnight figures amounting to 9.03 million, the highest overnight EastEnders figure since 1 January 2013.[26] The following episode dropped to 8.88 million viewers. On 19 February, the show received 10.84 and 10.30 million for the first and second episodes respectively, receiving a peak as high as 11.90 million as the murder mystery unraveled.[27] Thursday's episodes broke social media records twice. The first episode saw 508,678 tweets sent, while the flashback episode broke that record with 519,359 making it the most tweeted about episode of a UK soap.[28] The live episode on 20 February 2015 received 9.97 million viewers.

Critical response[edit]

The episodes generated controversy on social media websites after Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning, supposedly slurred his lines during one of the live inserts,[29] whilst Jo Joyner also received social media attention after calling Ian Beale by his actor's name, Adam.[30] Joyner later revealed that after the incident she suffered a panic attack and asked the producers to show a pre recorded version of the wedding ceremony and added that the next night where she had four live scenes was the hardest thing she had to do.[31] While Laurie Brett, who she said the line to, stated that she had nothing to say in response and the reaction would have been the same, making the audience think that Ian killed Lucy.[32] The second episode aired on 18 February and received 8.88 million viewers, a slight drop from its predecessor. Following the reveal that Bobby Beale was Lucy's killer Ofcom received five complaints about the storyline with one commenting that there was no helpline for viewers affected at the end of the episode. The BBC also had four complaints about being misled to who the killer may have been.[33][34]

On the 19th February RTÉ One Aired the hourlong episode from 7.30pm however they were planning on showing the flashback episode the next day at 7.30 to precede the fully live episode so they could show a highly anticipated live interview with the Taoiseach. When RTÉ learned the significance of the episode a decision was made to simulcast the flashback episode with the BBC so the identity of Lucy’s killer was not spoiled for viewers and pushed the live interview with the Taoiseach until 10pm.[35]

Thursday's episodes were described by the Guardian's Hannah Verdier as so much more than just unleashing the whodunnit. Verdier noted that the Fox sisters had their finest moment in a furious confrontation in the Vic. Danny Dyer was described as on form by Verdier and noted that the character of Kat provided light to his shade. She also commented that the most shocking revelation of the night was that Kathy Beale was alive.[36] Following Friday's live episode Verdier noted, that every cast member had performed a blinder and that one could forget that it was live. However she felt that the end was cheesy drawing attention away from the Beale house. On the week as a whole she notes that critics may not be a fan of the Lucy reveal, especially if the Beale family get away with it but for fans it had everything that one wanted from the show.[37] Chris Bennon in the Independent noted that Adam Woodyat "excelled more than ever" in a role he has played for 30 years. He also commented that a special mention was needed for Eliot Carrington, who is only 12, who held his own against senior actors in this tricky environment.[38] Writing for the Metro online, Vicky Prior, stated that producers were not far wrong when they said that the square would never be the same again in the buildup to the week. Prior states that Woodyat's performance was of the type only seen by those who are Knights or Dames. She also praised Mimi Keene and Eliot Carrington, calling the pair outstanding and that they seemed unfazed that the programme was live. Prior also praised Dominic Treadwell-Collins for turning the show around and making the 30th Anniversary a success.[39]

Writing in the Telegraph, Michael Hogan noted that Thursday's hour long episode was slow and stagey to reveal Jane as the killer. Hogan noted that the reveal was the "marquee event of a masterfully managed anniversary week;" and loved the nostalgic touches throughout the week. He also noted that despite being 88 June Brown was still superb, but felt that there were a few too many sub plots and that although Kathy Beale's return was gasp out loud it was superfluous to the story.[40] Brendan O'Neill noted that Thursday's reveal was a thrilling return to form for the show. Continuing he noted that "good drama should occasionally cause jaws to drop and, yes, even invite us to “go dark” or “go daft.”" Before concluding that it made a change from the usual moral education route.[41] Hogan noted that thankfully nothing went wrong in Friday's live episode and instead we got a "triumphant, heartbreaking half-hour of television." Hogan noted that the acting was faultless and singled out Woodyatt, Brett and Dyer noting that they were superb and stated that he was impressed with the younger members of the cast (Hardy, Hill, Carrington and Keene).[42]

Special broadcasts[edit]

EastEnders aired two spin-off shows to celebrate thirty years of the show. Back to Ours was a bi-weekly online/Red Button series inspired by Gogglebox, in which several cast members watched and reflected upon some of their most well-known scenes.[43] The other programme was titled 30 Years of Cliffhangers, and counted down the characters who had appeared in the most cliffhangers in the show's history, with Phil Mitchell appearing in the most. The Graham Norton Show aired a special EastEnders themed episode on 16 February, featuring appearances from past and present cast members.[44] In addition, the programme's first episode was broadcast on BBC Red Button, as was the episode that originally aired on 18 April 2014, which decipted Lucy Beale's death.[45][46][47] Following the live episode on 20 February 2015, Zoë Ball, Ore Oduba and Joe Swash presented an aftermath programme called EastEnders: Backstage Live.[48]

Scripts[edit]

In March 2015, BBC bosses released online copies of the five episode scripts used throughout Live Week. As these were post-production scripts, the copies included Joyner's minor slip-up and Kathy's surprise return scenes. All scripts were made available for download.[49]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Metro.co.uk, Tamara Hardingham-Gill for (19 February 2015). "What the HELL EastEnders? Kathy Beale is back from the dead!". Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  2. ^ Chester, Jason (5 January 2015). "Lucy Beale's killer will be unmasked in live flashback episode". Mail Online. Daily Mail. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Kilkelly, Daniel. "EastEnders to go live again for 30th anniversary celebrations". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
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  5. ^ a b Kilkelly, Daniel. "EastEnders to recreate first ever scene on 30th anniversary". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
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  38. ^ "EastEnders live week review: More hatches, matches and dispatches". 21 February 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
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  40. ^ "EastEnders 30th anniversary episode, review: 'Bobby provides major shock in the game of Cockney Cluedo'". Retrieved 13 January 2017.
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  42. ^ "EastEnders Live episode, review: 'triumphant, heartbreaking and faultless family drama'". Retrieved 13 January 2017.
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