EastEnders theme tune

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

from the album Simon's Way
GenreTheme tune
Composer(s)Simon May and Leslie Osborne

The EastEnders theme tune was composed by Simon May in 1980 for ATV Music Ltd. He was assisted by Leslie Osborne. The theme was composed in 1984 for the TV series theme.

The theme, which is written in the key of E-flat major, is largely based upon percussion, strings and the piano. It is widely known for its dramatic use of sound, particularly the drums that begin at the end of an episode – which adds a sense of importance, suspense and drama to the cliff-hanger. This in itself, has been parodied and used by television shows since, such as in a Friends spoof that featured on SMTV Live. The drum fill was written and played by Graham Broad.

The theme has become widely recognised. A 2008 poll by PRS for Music cited it as the most recognisable piece of music in the UK, beating the national anthem "God Save the Queen".[1]

The theme tune was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in 1985 for Best TV Theme[2] and in 1987 it won the Television and Radio Industries Club Award for Best TV Theme Music.[3]


The co-creator of EastEnders, Tony Holland, was impressed with composer Simon May and graphic designer Alan Jeapes for their work on the titles and music for the spy thriller Cold Warrior. May was told that EastEnders was going to be an edgy drama, and came up with a piece of music that reflected that, but it was rejected. Producers wanted something melodic, "to bring people in from the kitchen or garden",[4] and wanted it be "more feel-good" to contrast with the actual programme. May looked at his Cockney friends and felt they were "warm and loyal" people, so said his inspiration came from "my subliminal understanding of what the Cockney character is about."[5] He offered an attempt that conveyed everything about the East End that the producers wanted; "bells, whistles, hand-claps, sitars, steel drums and an underlying feel of being on a merry-go-round."[6] May actually began writing the music that was used for the theme tune when he was seven years old, around 34 years before EastEnders first aired, and based it on the scales that his music teacher had taught him.[7]

The drum beats at the start of the theme tune were played by May's drummer, Graham Broad. May had originally composed a longer theme that featured a section in "a true cockney piano-type style" and he asked Broad for a drum "fill" to allow the theme to switch back to the main version. Smith and Holland heard it and assumed it was for the end titles.[8] The drum beats are commonly known as the "doof doofs" or "duff duffs"[8] and it is used to signify a cliffhanger at the end of an episode, commonly known as a "duff duff moment",[9] for which the camera focusses on the face of the actor receiving the "duff duff moment" for around four seconds.[10]

All of the chords used in the piece of music are diatonic, with no chromatic alterations; it has been said that this "adds to the directness of the music".[11] The main melody is scored for a piano, which has been described as having a "pub sing-a-long feel" to it. The tune is also doubled by a whistle, and there are two rhythmic permeations, a dotted crotchet-quaver moving the music forward, and a two-quaver hand-clap on the fourth beat of every other bar.[11]

Title music and hits[edit]

The original title music was used until 1991. A stereo version was used for 4 months in 1991 before a new version came into use, sounding much more similar to the original, this version having a slightly different ending.

On 11 May 1993, a completely new recording was instated which was jazzier than the previous version. The famous "doof doofs" were significantly tweaked. This version of the music proved unpopular but was used on screen for 11 months.

From 11 April 1994, the synth drums that preceded the closing theme was added to the beginning of the opening theme. The new theme at the time was a version based on the original, with more up to date elements. This was the longest-lasting version to date, being used for 15 years before another revamp took place.

From 7 September 2009, the theme tune was rescored by May to include stronger drum beats and more background percussion.[12]

The theme has also been remixed into a much slower and less dramatic version for use with EastEnders Revealed and a rock version for use with EastEnders Xtra. Subsequent spin-offs Ricky & Bianca and EastEnders: Slaters in Detention have used the softer guitar version. 2010 internet spin-off EastEnders: E20 features a new remix of the theme tune, which was chosen by producer Deborah Sathe, executive producer Diederick Santer, Simon May, director Michael Keillor and BBC Radio 1Xtra's DJ Ace from entries in a competition launched on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show.[13] The winner was announced on 4 December 2009 as Carl Darling.[14]

DJ Osymyso—known for remixing popular culture—produced a mashed-up version of the theme, which turned the infamous fight between Peggy Mitchell and Pat Butcher into a breakbeat dance track. The theme was part of a routine by stand-up comic Bill Bailey during his Bewilderness shows. Bailey describes how depressing he finds the theme and imagines lyrics he feels are fitting: "Everyone is going to die/We're all gonna die/In a variety of different ways". He then proceeds to supply an alternative version of the theme which he feels is more appropriate, embodying the multicultural nature of the East End of London by using Eastern modes, sitar and tabla. In 2009, American alternative metal band Faith No More performed the theme tune at the Reading Festival.[15]


In 1986, the lyricist Don Black added lyrics to the tune to create the song "Anyone Can Fall in Love". It was recorded in 1986 by EastEnders cast member Anita Dobson who portrayed Angie Watts in the show. It reached number four on the UK Singles Chart, and Dobson appeared on Top of the Pops. Marti Webb, who recorded "Always There", May's theme to Howard's Way, covered "Anyone Can Fall in Love" on her album Always There.

In 1988, the tune had another set of lyrics added to produce a hymn called "Glory Be To God On High", which was performed on the BBC's Songs of Praise.

The 1993 "jazzy" arrangement spawned another vocal version (Sharon Benson's "I'll Always Believe in You").[16]

In 2010 in the lead up to the shows 25th silver anniversary, Patsy Palmer (Bianca) Sid Owen (Ricky) appeared on the Alan Carr show for an interview and decided to have an old "Knees up" round the piano to do their own version of "Anyone Can Fall In Love" which proved to be popular with the audience. Including a glass statue "Wellard" singing along.

Other versions[edit]

A medley of the theme songs from EastEnders and Howards' Way was recorded by the Shadows and reached No. 86 on the UK singles chart in December 1986.[17] A jazzy swing version was used for the 1988 spinoff CivvyStreet.

According to PRS for Music it has 99 different recordings of the EastEnders theme tune registered on its system.[18]

Julia's Theme[edit]

"Julia's Theme" refers to an alternative version of the usual theme, which was named after one of the show's creators, Julia Smith. It has been used in place of the regular theme 69 times as of 19 February 2019. This theme sees a change to the way an episode ends. Normally an episode ends with drums which are known to many as Doof Doofs. Julia's theme ends an episode with a slow buildup played on piano, usually for a particularly emotional event. There have been a few variations of the music used during its run, the original used between 1985-1987 and 1992-1996, the second used from 1995-2008 before being revamped in 2009 and last heard in March 2015, a third version from 2000-2006 before a revamp in 2010 which was last heard in October 2016.

Simon May's 1984 memo to the producers giving a breakdown of the various versions of the theme he had prepared refers to this as the "romantic pre-empt".[6] The full version of the theme was featured on the B side of the original 1985 BBC theme tune 45 and also included on the compilation album Simon's Way the following year.

Julia's Theme was used on 15 and 19 February 2019, which was the first time that it had been used in two consecutive episodes.[citation needed]

Episodes where Julia's theme has been used[edit]

No Date Circumstances
1 11 April 1985 Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) cries into the arms of his grandmother Lou (Anna Wing) after a heart-to-heart, because his father Pete (Peter Dean) disapproves of him becoming a chef.
2 20 June 1985 Sue Osman (Sandy Ratcliff) tells her husband Ali (Nejdet Salih) that she has a lump in her throat and cannot cry for her recently deceased baby, Hassan (Michael Evangelou).
3 1 August 1985 In order to make a despondent Sue Osman (Sandy Ratcliff) acknowledge her grief, Dr. Harold Legg (Leonard Fenton) forces her to hold baby Annie Smith (Zara Posener & Jenna Alembick). As she comforts the crying baby, she breaks down in tears.
4 3 October 1985 Following Michelle Fowler's (Susan Tully) meeting with Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) at the canal to tell him that she is pregnant with his baby, the two go their separate ways after agreeing to keep the child's paternity a secret.
5 2 January 1986 Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) has a heart-to-heart with her son Mark (David Scarboro) on Southend beach.
6 6 February 1986 Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt) asks a pregnant Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) to marry him.
7 8 April 1986 Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) agrees to marry Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt).
8 17 April 1986 Whilst alone in the bar at The Queen Victoria, Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt) and Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) share a kiss before she leaves.
9 22 July 1986 Sue Osman (Sandy Ratcliff) tells Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) that she has had a phantom pregnancy.
10 23 September 1986 On the night before Michelle Fowler's (Susan Tully) wedding to Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt), the father of her child, Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) wishes her good luck, while a drunken Lofty sleeps on the couch in The Queen Victoria.
11 4 June 1987 Arthur Fowler (Bill Treacher) returns home from prison and thanks his family for their support.
12 2 July 1987 Dot Cotton (June Brown) and Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin) reminisce about life in the war in a two-hander episode.
13 20 August 1987 Magda Czajkowski (Kathryn Apanowicz) asks Simon Wicks (Nick Berry) to move in with her.
14 20 August 1992 Arthur Fowler (Bill Treacher) reluctantly turns down Christine Hewitt's (Elizabeth Power) advances, but he kisses her passionately before he leaves.
15 25 December 1992 Mark Fowler (Todd Carty) rescues Mandy Salter (Nicola Stapleton) from her mother's abusive boyfriend and takes her back to Walford, where they celebrate Christmas at the Fowlers' house.
16 18 February 1993 Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) and Pat Butcher (Pam St Clement) have a heart-to-heart after Pat runs over and kills a girl.
17 2 September 1993 Sharon (Letitia Dean), Grant (Ross Kemp) and Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), Frank (Mike Reid) and Pat Butcher (Pam St Clement) start their journey home from France after visiting Frank's pregnant daughter Diane (Sophie Lawrence). Sharon watches on as Phil and Kathy embrace.
18 5 October 1993 Debbie Tyler (Nicola Duffett) convinces Nigel Bates (Paul Bradley) that she is not going to leave him, and asks him if they can go to bed together.
19 21 October 1993 Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) begs his wife Cindy (Michelle Collins) to return home after lies have spread and he thinks she has cheated.
20 22 June 1995 Nigel Bates (Paul Bradley) tells his stepdaughter Clare Bates (Gemma Bissix) that her mother Debbie (Nicola Duffett) has died in a hit-and-run accident.
21 20 June 1996 Arthur Fowler's (Bill Treacher) funeral.
22 17 October 1996 Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) leaves with her sons Steven (Stuart Stevens) and Peter (Francis Brittin-Snell) to live in Italy.
23 30 April 1998 Nigel Bates (Paul Bradley), his stepdaughter Clare (Gemma Bissix), Julie Haye (Karen Henthorn) and Josh Saunders (Jon Lee) leave Walford to live in Scotland.
24 4 February 1999 Grant (Ross Kemp), Peggy (Barbara Windsor) and Courtney Mitchell (Carissa & Josephine O'Meara) scatter Tiffany's (Martine McCutcheon) ashes at Peacehaven.
25 10 September 1999 Bianca Butcher (Patsy Palmer) leaves Walford with her son Liam (Jack & Tom Godolphin) to live in Manchester.
26 20 February 2000 Frank (Mike Reid) and Peggy Butcher (Barbara Windsor) vow to stay in Walford and fight Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass) for ownership of The Queen Victoria.
27 28 November 2000 Sonia Jackson (Natalie Cassidy) breaks down after giving Chloe up for adoption.
28 22 February 2001 Roy (Tony Caunter) and Pat Evans (Pam St Clement) get back together.
29 10 May 2001 Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Laura Dunn (Hannah Waterman) get married.
30 21 December 2001 Jim Branning (John Bardon) proposes to Dot Cotton (June Brown) on the London Eye.
31 1 February 2002 Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) says farewell to Frank Butcher (Mike Reid) in Spain.
32 6 May 2002 Sonia Jackson (Natalie Cassidy) and Jamie Mitchell (Jack Ryder) decide to end their relationship.
33 21 June 2002 Anthony Trueman (Nicholas Bailey) proposes to Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan).
34 16 August 2002 Little Mo Mitchell (Kacey Ainsworth) returns from prison.
35 14 February 2003 Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) and her son Martin (James Alexandrou) walk home just after Mark Fowler (Todd Carty) leaves Walford to travel the world before he dies.
36 14 November 2003 Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) interrupts the wedding of Andy Hunter (Michael Higgs) and Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) to declare his love for Kat. Alfie and Kat decide to get together, and Kat jilts Andy.
37 24 June 2005 Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan) leaves Walford to live in Ibiza.
38 9 December 2005 Pat Butcher (Pam St Clement), Jake Moon (Joel Beckett) and Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner) return to Walford after an emotionally-charged week involving Frank Butcher's (Mike Reid) return for Janine's (Charlie Brooks) murder trial, Chrissie Watts's (Tracy-Ann Oberman) imprisonment following her confession to Den's (Leslie Grantham) murder, and Jean Slater's (Gillian Wright) attempted suicide, Stacey looks at a picture of her brother Sean (Robert Kazinsky) and breaks down.
39 16 December 2005 Nana Moon (Hilda Braid) dies in her grandson Alfie's (Shane Richie) arms.
40 9 June 2006 Grant (Ross Kemp) and Courtney Mitchell (Megan Jossa) leave Walford to live in Portugal.
41 2 February 2007 Martin (James Alexandrou) and Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) leave Walford with their daughter Rebecca (Jade Sherif) to live in Manchester.
42 1 April 2008 Frank Butcher's (Mike Reid) funeral.
43 27 August 2009 Garry Hobbs (Ricky Groves) and Dawn Swann (Kara Tointon) leave together on a boat.
44 5 March 2010 Rachel (Pooky Quesnel) and Dot Branning (June Brown) lay flowers on Bradley Branning's (Charlie Clements) grave after his funeral.
45 26 April 2010[19] A secretly pregnant Amira Masood (Preeya Kalidas) leaves Walford by taxi after it is revealed her husband Syed (Marc Elliott) is gay.
46 23 June 2010[20] Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) holds her baby daughter Lily after giving birth in hospital.
47 16 July 2010 Syed Masood (Marc Elliott) admits his true feelings to Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and they walk away together as a couple.
48 25 December 2010 Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) flees the country with her baby daughter Lily Branning. The credits roll over the ending shot of Stacey's view from the plane.
49 13 January 2011 After saying an emotional goodbye to his family, Charlie Slater (Derek Martin) leaves Walford by train.
50 11 March 2011 Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) leave for their honeymoon after deciding not to marry each other, but to stay together.
51 18 April 2011 Kat (Jessie Wallace) and Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) are reunited with their son, Tommy Moon, concluding the baby-swap storyline.
52 19 May 2011[21] Jane Beale (Laurie Brett) leaves Walford after an emotional farewell to her adopted son Bobby (Alex Francis).
53 26 May 2011 Jim Branning (John Bardon) leaves in an ambulance to go to a care home as his wife, Dot Branning (June Brown), and his family look on.
54 7 July 2011 A shortened version of Peggy's Theme is used as Julia's Theme as Ronnie Branning (Samantha Womack) found peace after being sentenced to three years imprisonment for the kidnap of Tommy Moon.
55 17 January 2012 Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) bids an emotional goodbye to his family before leaving Walford by train. His wife Bianca (Patsy Palmer) and the rest of the Jackson family walk home devastated.
56 8 February 2013 Zainab Khan (Nina Wadia) leaves in a taxi with her son Kamil (Arian Chikhlia), to live with her mother in Pakistan, after her relationship with ex-husband Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) falls apart.
57 17 September 2013 Jean Slater (Gillian Wright) leaves Albert Square with new romance Ollie Walters (Tony O'Callaghan) to live in Brighton.
58 30 May 2014 David Wicks (Michael French) finally leaves Walford after his relationship with Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) comes to an end, ending their love story.
59 24 February 2015 Peter Beale (Ben Hardy) and a pregnant Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) walk away from Walford together as a couple to move to New Zealand.
60 22 May 2015 Kat (Jessie Wallace) and Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) leave Walford with their three children, starting a new life in Spain.
61 2 October 2015 Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) leaves Walford on a motorbike for a fresh start.
62 7 January 2016 Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) says goodnight to her father Charlie Slater (Derek Martin), following his death from a heart attack.
63 5 February 2016 Shabnam Kazemi (Rakhee Thakrar) leaves with her daughter, Jade Green (Amaya Edward), after ending her marriage to Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami).
64 22 April 2016 Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) walk away from the tube station as Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill) and Tamwar Masood (Himesh Patel) leave Walford.
65 7 October 2016[22] Pam (Lin Blakley) and Les Coker (Roger Sloman) walk home after finally getting justice for their grandson, Paul (Jonny Labey).
66 17 November 2016 Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) and his son Kamil (Arian Chikhlia) leave Walford to return to Pakistan.
67 16 February 2018 After Abi Branning's (Lorna Fitzgerald) funeral, Donna Yates (Lisa Hammond), Robbie Jackson (Dean Gaffney), Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) and others release white balloons in her honour, Abi's baby girl is officially named Abi Branning after her mother, and Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) walks off with her son Louie Beale (Oscar Winehouse) to start a new life without Josh Hemmings (Eddie Eyre). The credits roll over the ending shot of Lauren and Louie walking away, and the background noise of birdsong continues to be heard over the theme.
68 15 February 2019 Dr. Harold Legg (Leonard Fenton) dies with Dot Branning (June Brown) at his bedside.
69 19 February 2019 Following Dr. Harold Legg's (Leonard Fenton) funeral, the residents of Albert Square light a candle in his memory.

Additionally a slightly distorted version of the theme plays in "The Ghosts of Ian Beale", a Children in Need special (14 November 2014), when Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) leaves and walks into the white light during her father Ian Beale's (Adam Woodyatt) concussion-induced dream. It does not lead onto the end of the episode.[23]

Alternative endings[edit]

Occasionally, singular episodes of EastEnders have used a different theme tune for the closing credits, or the initial drum beats are missing or have been replaced by something else, or even lacked music entirely.

Date Circumstances
12 September 1985 Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) cries into the arms of her grandmother Lou Beale (Anna Wing) after Lou realises that Michelle is pregnant and they have a talk. There are no drum beats.
16 September 1986 Arthur Fowler (Bill Treacher) misses a family visit to his late father-in-law Albert Beale's (Gary Olsen) grave to attend a job interview and is unsuccessful and arrives at The Queen Vic hours later to explain to the family where he went. After being berated by Albert's widow, Lou for being unable to afford Michelle's wedding, Arthur leaves the pub, dejected. There are no drum beats.
25 November 1986 Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt) announces he and Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) are married. There are no drum beats.
23 December 1986 On Christmas Eve, Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) discusses his plan with Jan Hammond (Jane How) to serve his wife Angie Watts (Anita Dobson) with divorce papers on Christmas Day, stating it will be a Christmas Angie will not forget. There are no drum beats.
1 September 1987 Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) and Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) have a conversation in The Queen Vic about Pauline wanting things for herself and Pauline tells Kathy she dreams of a white room just for her away from the family. There are no drum beats.
22 December 1987 The Fowler family prepare for Christmas and Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin), their guest, is excited. The first five drum beats are missing.
21 January 1988 When Lofty Holloway (Tom Watt) finds out that Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) has aborted his baby, he confronts her in her living room and slaps her. There are no drum beats.
22 March 1988 When Dot Cotton (June Brown) walks into a strip show at the community center she faints. There are no drum beats.
19 July 1988 After being sexually assaulted, Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) does not want to be touched and hides her bruises from her husband, Pete. There are no drum beats.
7 February 1989 Rod Norman (Christopher McHallem) makes a phonecall to Donna Ludlow's (Matilda Ziegler) mother, telling her that Donna needs her help. The drum beats begin at the start of the closing credits instead of the final shot of the episode.
23 February 1989 When Den Watts (Leslie Grantham) was shot and supposedly killed, the screen went black and cut into the closing credits. There are no drum beats.
9 May 1989 Matthew Jackson (Steven Hartley) attacks his wife Carmel Jackson (Judith Jacob). There are no drum beats.
22 June 1989 At the end of Pat Wicks (Pam St Clement) and Frank Butcher's (Mike Reid) wedding episode the drum beats were replaced by a conga tune.
5 July 1990 When Pete Beale's (Peter Dean) stall is demolished by a JCB, the drum beats are replaced by the sound of the JCB demolishing the stall.
2 September 1993 Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean), Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp), Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), Frank (Mike Reid) and Pat Butcher (Pam St Clement) start their journey home from France after visiting Frank's pregnant daughter Diane (Sophie Lawrence). Sharon watches on as Phil and Kathy embrace. A segment from the full 1993 theme was used to act as Julia's theme.
5 October 1993 Debbie Bates (Nicola Duffett) accepts Nigel Bates's (Paul Bradley) offer and decides to spend the night with him. A segment from the full 1993 theme was used to act as Julia's theme.
21 October 1993 Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) begs his wife Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) to return home after lies have spread and he thinks she has cheated. A segment from the full 1993 theme was used to act as Julia's theme.
8 May 1995 The locals celebrate VE Day. The theme tune was replaced by "It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow" by Jack Payne.
31 December 1999 When Mel Beale (Tamzin Outhwaite) leaves her husband, Ian (Adam Woodyatt), at the stroke of midnight on Millennium Eve, the regular closing drum beats are replaced by the tune of Auld Lang Syne.
7 September 2000 The song "Guilty" was used over the end credits instead of the programme's usual title music to signify the final appearance of character Ethel Skinner (Gretchen Franklin) who had persuaded her friend Dot Cotton (June Brown) to help her die.[24]
23 November 2000 When Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) was declared bankrupt, a sinister piano theme preceded the drums as Ian was driven round the Square, looking at his former business empire.
17 May 2001 At the end of a trip to Brighton, the song "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves" is played on the car stereo. The music continues into the credits superimposed over a wide shot of King's Road, Brighton as Gary drives the car into the distance.
25 December 2003 After the wedding of Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) on Christmas Day, the residents of Albert Square celebrate by dancing to Wizzards "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday". The drum beats were replaced by this song.
11 November 2005 As Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) and Nana Moon (Hilda Braid) walk away from the graveyard in Normandy where William Moon (Dickon Tolson) is buried , "The Very Thought of You" plays over the end credits.
31 January 2008 This single-hander episode, "Pretty Baby....", featuring Dot Branning (June Brown) used the song "Pretty Baby" over the closing credits.
18 February 2010 In the lead-up to the show's 25th anniversary, the BBC asked viewers to upload videos of themselves singing the theme tune to the EastEnders website. This episode ended with a montage of these performances.
10 September 2010 For Peggy Mitchell's (Barbara Windsor) final regular episode, "Peggy's Theme" was played up to and over the ending credits as Peggy walks out of the Square, stopping to take one last look at the fire-torn Queen Vic. The credits roll over the continuing final shot of Peggy walking up the street and out of sight.
1 January 2012 "Pat's Theme" was used after Pat Evans (Pam St Clement) died. The picture faded to black for the credits and the theme was played. There are no drum beats.
13 January 2012 After the main credits, an extra scene aired featuring Simon Wicks (Nick Berry) laying flowers on his mother Pat Evans' (Pam St Clement) grave, followed by another set of drum beats.
26 April 2013 Part of "Wings" by Little Mix plays up to and over the drum beats as Liam Butcher (James Forde) departs Albert Square to stay with his father Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen) in Germany.
20 September 2013 When Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) returns, an additional scene follows the end credits with Peggy paying homage to Pat Evans (Pam St Clement). The scene finished with a modified Peggy's Theme.
24 March 2014 Part of "Royals" by Lorde plays up to and over the drum beats as Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) confesses to the murder of Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb).
26 December 2014 Part of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love plays up to and over the drum beats as Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) kneels on the floor after Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) walks out on him.
20 February 2015 Part of Peggy's Theme[citation needed] is played toward the end of the live episode as the Beales huddle together after learning the truth behind Lucy Beale's (Hetti Bywater) death, and proceeds to play over a montage of the photos on the Beale's sideboard and various locations around the square. The theme simply faded out once the guests of Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Jane Beale's (Laurie Brett) wedding reception began to gather outside The Queen Vic. Following on from this, part of "What I Did for Love" by David Guetta featuring Emeli Sandé plays as the residents celebrate with a fireworks display following the wedding of Ian and Jane. Once the music stops, the usual drum beats are replaced by the sound of fireworks manipulated into the familiar rhythm.
10 April 2015 Part of "Fly Me To The Moon" plays up to and over the credits following the death of Stan Carter (Timothy West) and the news of Jim Branning's (John Bardon) death. No theme tune was played.
1 January 2016 "Being Alive" (performed by Alice Fearn, who played a wedding singer in the episode) was played up to and over the credits following the wedding of Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Linda Carter (Kellie Bright). The credits began rolling over the ending shot of Mick and Linda at the altar as it faded to black.
17 May 2016 As Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) takes an overdose, the camera pans to a bird's-eye view of Albert Square and the credits roll. There are no drum beats or music. It then cuts to a view of a clock ticking indicating Peggy's death as the clock stops. The screen then fades to black.
19 May 2016 Peggy's Theme plays as Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) reads his mother Peggy's (Barbara Windsor) suicide note. The theme plays up to and over the credits.
4 July 2016 Peggy's Theme plays up to and over the credits as Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) says his final goodbye and walks away from his mother Peggy's (Barbara Windsor) grave following her funeral.
19 December 2016 A cover of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Lady Antebellum[25] plays up to and over the credits as Mick (Danny Dyer) and Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) celebrate their son Ollie's (Charlie Harrington) first steps. The credits roll over a shot of Albert Square's gardens.
27 December 2016 "You Got the Love" by The Source featuring Candi Staton[26] plays up to and over the credits as Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) asks Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) to move away with her. The credits roll over a shot Roxy and Ronnie.
1 January 2017 After Ronnie Branning (Samantha Womack) and Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) drown in a swimming pool, the camera slowly pans out on their bodies floating in the water. The screen fades to black and the credits roll in silence over a black screen.
19 January 2018 After Abi Branning's (Lorna Fitzgerald) life support is withdrawn and she passes away, the screen fades to black and the credits roll in silence over a black screen.
18 May 2018 Part of "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins plays up to the drum beats as Martin Fowler (James Bye) and Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner) kiss and reunite their marriage.
5 July 2018 As Carmel Kazemi (Bonnie Langford) sits next to Shakil Kazemi's (Shaheen Jafargholi) coffin, there are no drum beats leading to the main theme tune.
6 July 2018 At the end of this special episode, which saw the funeral of Shakil Kazemi (Shaheen Jafargholi) interspersed with clips of real-life families of knife crime victims telling their stories, the screen fades to black and the credits roll over a black screen as voice clips of the featured families and news clips play over them. Instead of the usual cast and crew list, the credits list the names of the family members featured throughout the episode.
18 October 2018 As Hayley Slater (Katie Jarvis) contemplates suicide, part of "Pursuit of Happiness" by Kid Cudi plays up to the drum beats.
10 June 2019 As Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) finds out she is pregnant part of "Perfect 10" by The Beautiful South plays up to the drum beats.
13 June 2019 As Linda Carter (Kellie Bright), Mick Carter (Danny Dyer), Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) and Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White) head off to the Spice World Tour, "Who Do You Think You Are" by the Spice Girls accompanies the regular theme tune.[27]

Kathy's Theme[edit]

Used on Friday 10 April 1998 as Kathy Mitchell (Gillian Taylforth) leaves Albert Square behind for a new life in South Africa.[citation needed] As she departed London City Airport with Phil looking on, the theme started and Kathy took one final look at the place she called home, the East End of London; this theme is often mistakenly believed to be the "Jazzy" version of Julia's Theme which never got the chance to be used in 1993 however Julia's Theme was used twice in 1993 and neither time was this version.

Peggy's Theme[edit]

"Peggy's Theme" is a variation of Julia's Theme, written by Simon May. It was featured in Barbara Windsor's farewell episode as Peggy Mitchell, transmitted on 10 September 2010, where it replaced the entire theme tune, unlike Julia's Theme which only replaces the drum beats. The introduction of the theme has since been used on a number of occasions in place of the usual Julia's Theme, only replacing the drum beats. The full "Peggy's Theme" was used again at the end of the episode dated 19 May 2016 as her son Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) reads the letter from Peggy following her death, and again on 4 July 2016 as Phil says his final goodbye to Peggy following her funeral.

"Peggy's Theme" features on the album The Simon May Collection and was also released as an EP along with other EastEnders music including the song "Anyone Can Fall in Love".[28][29]

Pat's Theme[edit]

On 31 December 2011, it was announced May had reworked the show's theme tune for Pat Evans' (Pam St Clement) final EastEnders episode.[30] The new version, called "Pat's Theme", played out at the end of the character's last episode broadcast on 1 January 2012.[30] An EastEnders spokesperson told Daniel Kilkelly of Digital Spy, "It's only right that as we say goodbye to the iconic Pat Evans we pay tribute to such a character with a wonderfully touching special theme tune."[30] The theme features a piano and no other instruments. It was also used as the opening theme to a documentary show, EastEnders: Farewell Pat, that aired on BBC1 the following day.


The theme is an iconic piece of music in the UK. A 2000 UK poll named it as the sixth most popular TV theme of all time.[31] In a 2008 poll by PRS for Music the EastEnders theme was found to be the most recognisable piece of music in the UK, beating the national anthem "God Save the Queen" as well as the theme tunes for Match of the Day and Coronation Street. Composer Simon May commented: "When EastEnders first appeared in 1985 it was such a great buzz walking down the street or being in a supermarket hearing people whistling or humming the theme. I've been amazingly lucky that thanks to the huge success of the show the theme is still popular and in the national psyche."[1][32] The theme tune was used in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.


  1. ^ a b Irvine, Chris (25 September 2008). "EastEnders theme more recognisable than God Save the Queen; The dramatic drumbeats of EastEnders are more recognisable than the national anthem, according to a new poll". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Simon May" (PDF). CitySpeakers International. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  3. ^ Smith, Julia; Holland, Tony (1987). EastEnders – The Inside Story. Book Club Associates. ISBN 0-563-20601-2.
  4. ^ Cowen, Lewis (23 February 2010). "Devizes EastEnders composer tells how first theme was rejected". thisiswiltshire.co.uk. Retrieved 24 February 2010.
  5. ^ "10 rules for writing a memorable theme tune". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b Smith, Julia; Holland, Tony (1987). EastEnders – The Inside Story. Book Club Associates. pp. 97–8. ISBN 0-563-20601-2.
  7. ^ "EastEnders 'doof doof' composer tells all". BBC News. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  8. ^ a b Mitchell, Bea (11 July 2018). "EastEnders' iconic doof doof was actually an accident". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  9. ^ Sandwell, Ian (10 May 2017). "EastEnders fans call for pasta to have its own credit after it gets its own 'duff-duff' moment". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  10. ^ Leyfield, Fay (3 December 2018). "DUFF JUSTICE Why EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt hates getting a 'duff, duff, duff' moment at the end of the soap". The Sun. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b Pam Hurry; Mark Phillips; Mark Richards (2001). Heinemann Advanced Music. Heinemann Educational Publishers. ISBN 978-0-435-81260-7.
  12. ^ Green, Kris (1 September 2009). "'EastEnders' revamps title sequence". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  13. ^ "EastEnders: E20 and Radio 1 join forces for theme tune re-mix competition". BBC Press Office (BBC Online). 13 November 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  14. ^ "Remix Competition Winner". BBC Online. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  15. ^ "Faith No More pay tribute to 'EastEnders' at Reading Festival". NME. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  16. ^ "I'll Always Believe in You" (Media notes). Polydor. 1993. POL940.
  17. ^ "UK Official Chart: Shadows". Official Charts Company. 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  18. ^ McMullen, Marion (16 February 2010). "Top 20 Musical EastEnders Facts". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 August 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  19. ^ Love, Ryan. "'EastEnders' poll: Amira returns to Albert Square". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  20. ^ Green, Kris (15 June 2010). "Exclusive: First Look: Harry Gold joins 'EastEnders'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  21. ^ Tarley, Rachel (19 May 2011). "EastEnders live blog: 19th May 2011". Metro. (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  22. ^ Ellis, Sarah (29 October – 4 November 2016). "Soapbox". Inside Soap (43): 95.
  23. ^ "The Ghosts of Ian Beale". BBC. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  24. ^ Banks-Smith, Nancy (8 September 2000). "Dying of the light". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  25. ^ "BBC One - EastEnders, 19/12/2016 - Music Played". BBC Programmes. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  26. ^ "BBC One - EastEnders, 27/12/2016 - Music Played". BBC Programmes. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  27. ^ Quinn, Angie (13 June 2019). "EastEnders viewers go wild as actor Danny Dyer dresses up as a Spice Girl". getwestlondon. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  28. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (23 August 2010). "'Enders theme reworked for Peggy's exit". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  29. ^ Love, Ryan (2 September 2010). "'EastEnders' Peggy Theme EP confirmed". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  30. ^ a b c Kilkelly, Daniel (31 December 2011). "'EastEnders' Pat gets special exit theme". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  31. ^ "Five-O is top TV tune". BBC News. 28 April 2000. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  32. ^ EastEnders theme tune more recognised than National Anthem

External links[edit]