The Queen Victoria
The Queen Victoria, as it appeared from 1992 to 2010
|First appearance||19 February 1985|
|Location||46 Albert Square, Walford, London, E20 6PQ|
|Key people||EastEnders characters|
The Queen Victoria (more often referred to as The Queen Vic or The Vic) is the Victorian public house in the BBC soap opera, EastEnders. It has the fictional address of 46 Albert Square, Walford, London E20.
Appearance and development
In the series' backstory, the Square was built around 1860 during the reign of Queen Victoria. Originally the pub was to be called The Balmoral but after the death of Prince Albert it was renamed as a tribute to the mourning Queen. Initially, the pub's exterior is first seen painted brown. This is later changed to a green and cream colour scheme before Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) sets alight to the Queen Victoria, after which it is painted red. Following another blaze in 2010, the pub is painted red, green and cream. On Boxing Day 2013 the new family to the square, the Carters, took over the Queen vic and since then it has had a refurbishment and has been painted red once again.
During the first months of the show, The Queen Victoria has a partition wall down the middle of the bar which separates it into two sections. The smaller section, known as the 'snug', houses a dart board and fruit machines, whilst the larger section, known as the saloon bar, is used primarily as the customer seating area. Den Watts gets permission from the brewery to remove the partition in 1985, and hires Tony Carpenter (Oscar James) to do the job. In 2007 the pub has its first refurbishment in 15 years, and has a second refurbishment in late 2010.
In reality the pub exterior shell on the outdoor permanent set was built during 1984 for the new series the following year. The exterior shell was made to look as though it had stood for a hundred years. The internal sets are in a studio separate from the building situated in the Square.
In a storyline shown during September 2010, The Queen Victoria was severely damaged by a fire. This allowed for a subtle redesign and upgrade of the set; required when high-definition broadcasting commenced. A separate set was built on the George Lucas sound stage at Elstree Studios to enable the pub interior to be set alight safely.
A team of nearly forty-five crew members were involved in the filming of the fire including Make Up, Stunt Team, Fire Safety Officers, Cameras, Lighting, Sound and the Costume department. The exterior scenes took five half days to shoot (as it could only be shot at night) and were shot at the BBC studios in Borehamwood. The interior scenes were shot a week after and took three days to film.
Safety necessitated having the set re-created at the Elstree Film Studios stage facility that is designed and equipped to film fire involved scenes. EastEnders Production Manager Rona McKendrick says "Potentially hazardous scenes like this always require specialist knowledge and we rely on their experience and advice to ensure that everything is achieved as safely as possible. We had a Stunt Team comprising Lee Sheward, our Stunt Co-ordinator and his team of Stunt Doubles. A Visual FX team designed and executed all the fire sequences and we had specialist Fire Officers providing out of vision fire cover / safety."
Of the fire itself, McKendrick said "Everyone was very sad to see the Vic taken out of Stage One and moved to Elstree Film Studios for the burn, I've known the set for 18 years and to see the enormous space it left was as if a piece of history had been removed".
In the EastEnders series spin-off Civvy Street (1988) life in Albert Square is featured between 1939 and 1945, and The Queen Victoria (The Queen Vic) freehold is owned by the brewery, Luxford & Copley. Ray and Lil Daniels are the landlords. When the series begins, the brewery remain owners and Den (Leslie Grantham) and Angie Watts (Anita Dobson) have been landlords for ten years. Gus and Flo Leonard, and Alf and Polly Barrett are alluded to as landlords prior to the start of the series.
Angie is served with divorce papers by Den on Christmas Day 1986 and two years later he passes control to Frank (Mike Reid) and Pat Butcher (Pam St. Clement). In 1990, Frank and Pat hand over the pub to Eddie Royle. Eddie is murdered by Nick Cotton (John Altman) the following year, and the daughter of Den and Angie, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean), becomes the first licensee when she buys the freehold of The Vic with the assistance of her husband Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) and his brother Phil (Steve McFadden); the three live there. Grant sets fire to the pub in 1992 in an insurance scam and it is refurbished. Grant and Sharon divorce and their share of The Queen Vic is sold to Grant's mother, Peggy (Barbara Windsor). Peggy marries Frank in 1999 and he again becomes a landlord. When Grant leaves Walford, Peggy's alcoholic son Phil sells his share of pub to Dan Sullivan for a mere £5 to spite his domineering mother. However, he subsequently buys back his share and evicts Dan from The Queen Vic. After Frank disappears and leaves her penniless, Peggy is forced to sell the pub in early 2001. The new buyer is revealed to be Sharon, in partnership with Steve Owen (Martin Kemp). Steve has to sell his share to raise ransom money for his wife Mel (Tamzin Outhwaite) and Phil buys back part of The Queen Vic. In 2002 Sharon also sells up to Phil and the pub returns to the control of the Mitchells. Peggy appoints Alfie Moon as manager later that year.
In 2004, Den tricks his way back into ownership of The Queen Vic, and within a few months he is killed by his second wife, Chrissie (Tracy-Ann Oberman), who buries his body in the cellar of pub. Chrissie forges his signature on a deed of transfer and tells the customers that he has left Walford, signing The Queen Vic over to her. Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) digs up Den's body and Chrissie, in a plan to escape, sells the pub to Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and is subsequently arrested for murder. Her confessing to forging his signature nullifies the sale to Ian and ownership reverts to Sharon, Den's heir. Sharon returns The Queen Vic to Peggy and Phil. When Sam Mitchell (Danniella Westbrook) breaks bail in 2009, the family goes into debt. Phil secures The Vic against a loan from Ian, who is forced to sell it to Peggy's ex-husband Archie (Larry Lamb). The Mitchells initially continue running the pub but Peggy relents and hands over control to Archie and his fiancée Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) after her step daughter Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) suffers a miscarriage during a confrontation with her father Archie. After Archie is murdered on Christmas Day, his daughter Roxy (Rita Simons) inherits The Queen Vic. When Roxy tries to sell it on, Peggy objects, and Roxy signs over the pub to her. Later in 2010, Phil develops a drug addiction and is locked in a room in the pub by Peggy. After he escapes, he argues with his mother and sets fire to the pub as an act of revenge. The fire traps him and Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner) along with her baby Lily, but they all manage to escape.
Again, fire destroys The Queen Vic and Peggy transfers ownership to Phil before she leaves Walford. Phil renovates the pub and rents it to Alfie Moon and his wife Kat (Jessie Wallace). Kat is away temporarily in 2012 when Roxy again is landlady but upon Kat's return, The Queen Vic is forced to close down due to an outbreak of bed bugs, the source of which was thought to be Shirley Carter (Linda Henry), who has been staying. Instead, it was found that the source was the flat where Kat was meeting her lover Derek Branning (Jamie Foreman). The Queen Vic returns to Phil when Kat and Alfie fail to pay rent and Roxy is again made manager. However, Phil has a change of mind about Kat and Alfie when he finds out from Kat about her affair and subsequent attempt to save her marriage, all the while leaving Roxy as manager. During Christmas 2012, Alfie finds out about the affair, they separate and Roxy and Amy move back to The Queen Vic. Roxy replaces Kat as the joint licensee of the pub with Alfie, but leaves after Alfie reunites with Kat on the day of his and Roxy's wedding. Phil decides to sell the pub and Alfie and Kat are forced to move out. Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) buys The Queen Victoria on Christmas Day, 2013, and the following day moves into the pub with his wife Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and son Johnny Carter (Sam Strike). Phil is surprised to discover that Mick is Shirley's brother. When Shirley persuades their estranged father into giving them £10,000 to repair the rising damp in the cellar, Mick and Linda give Shirley a 10% stake in the pub.
Key events in The Queen Victoria
- 1985: Den Watts has off-screen sex in the bar with his daughter's best friend, Michelle Fowler, resulting in her pregnancy.
- 1986: Den Watts serves his wife Angie with divorce papers, on Christmas Day.
- 1988: Potman Tom Clements dies in the gentlemen's toilets, of a stroke, on 21 April.
- 1992: Grant Mitchell sets fire to the pub to claim money on the insurance, with his wife, Sharon, trapped inside.
- 1994: Michelle Fowler is shot by Dougie Briggs.
- 1994: "Sharongate": Sharon is caught out when Grant plays in the bar a taped confession of her affair with Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) during Phil and Kathy Beale's engagement party.
- 1995: Grant and Michelle have sex in the bar which results in Michelle getting pregnant.
- 1998: Tiffany Mitchell falls down the stairs and falsely accuses Grant of pushing her.
- 1998: Bianca Butcher gives birth to her son Liam Butcher in the pub.
- 1999: Bianca and Dan Sullivan's affair is blurted out by Carol Jackson which results in Carol having an abortion.
- 2000: Pat Evans and Frank Butcher are humiliated by Peggy Mitchell when she exposes their affair by reading out a goodbye letter from Frank.
- 2002: A fight breaks out between the Slaters and the Truemans.
- 2003: Little Mo Mitchell is raped – and impregnated – by Graham Foster.
- 2003: Kat Slater and Alfie Moon marry on Christmas Day.
- 2005: Den Watts is killed by his wife Chrissie Watts with Pauline Fowler's dog-shaped doorstop; she buries his body under concrete in the cellar of the pub.
- 2005: Den Watts's body is uncovered by Sam Mitchell on the wedding day of Sharon and Dennis Rickman.
- 2007: The pub is raided by Terry Bates and his gang who are looking for Jase Dyer; the interior is destroyed.
- 2008: On Christmas Day, Sean Slater discovers that he is not the real father of Amy Mitchell.
- 2009: At the wedding reception of Archie and Peggy Mitchell, Ronnie Mitchell discovers that Danielle Jones is her daughter.
- 2009: Archie Mitchell is murdered on Christmas Day when Stacey Slater pushes the bust of Queen Victoria onto his head.
- 2010: While resisting arrest for Archie's murder, Bradley Branning falls to his death from the pub roof.
- 2010: The pub is raided by Billie Jackson and his crew for money.
- 2010: Phil Mitchell starts a fire that destroys the entire building in order to hurt his mother, Peggy.
- 2010: On Christmas Eve, Janine Malloy reveals that Stacey Slater killed Archie Mitchell.
- 2010: Mo Harris delivers Kat Moon's baby in the barrel store on 30 December.
- 2011: On New Year's Day, Ronnie swaps her dead baby James with Kat's son Tommy.
- 2012: Kat Moon begins an affair with a mystery man, later revealed to be Derek Branning.
- 2012: A fight breaks out between members of the pub's football team.
- 2013: Kat Moon and Roxy Mitchell have a catfight in the pub, with Alfie Moon and Michael Moon having to break it up.
- 2013: Whilst attending Jack Branning's birthday party, Max Branning is arrested for attempted murder after supposedly tampering with the brakes of Carl White's car, leading to the car crash that injured Carl and left Phil fighting for his life.
- 2014: Stan Carter accidentally leaves a lit cigarette near the curtains causing a small fire, which is then extinguished by firemen.
- 2014: Linda Carter is raped by Dean Wicks on the kitchen table.
- 2014: After learning that Linda was raped by Dean, Mick destroys the interior of the pub.
- 2015: Kim Fox gives birth to her baby girl, Pearl, in the toilets.
- 2015: Dean threatens to set fire to the pub but is stopped by Nancy and Mick.
- 2015: Linda Carter falls down the stairs whilst pregnant.
- Green, Kris (22 June 2010). "'EastEnders' pub to burn down in blaze". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
- Conder, Matt (15 September 2010). "Walford Web – Walford Lite – The Great Fire of Walford – Behind the Scenes". Walford Web. Walford Web. Retrieved 16 September 2010.[dead link]
- The Queen Victoria BBC EastEnders profile