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EastEnders' new £87m set introduces a mosque to 'reflect an authentic version of East London'


EastEnders’ new £87 million set will include a mosque for the first time as bosses strive to reflect an ‘authentic’ version of East London with their new build.

In an unlikely choice by soap bosses, the religious building has been placed next to the Prince Albert bar, with work nearing completion after filming began on the set on Tuesday. 

BBC spent millions on building a brand new set for EastEnders after the old site was deemed ‘not fit for purpose’ back in 2016, and despite sparking fury with the vast sum, will finally appear on screen in the spring.

Transformed: EastEnders' brand new £87 million is set to include a mosque for the first time
New look: The site is pictured above during the vast build, alongside the Prince Albert bar

Transformed: EastEnders’ brand new £87 million is set to include a mosque for the first time as bosses strive to reflect an ‘authentic’ version of East London with their new build

Images of the developing set show how the mosque remains surrounded by scaffolding, but will eventually on the street opposite the chemist, betting shop and Beale’s famous Fish bar.

It had been previously reported that EastEnders bosses were considering building a mosque on their new set, in a bid to accurately reflect the modern landscape of the East End. 

A source told The Sun in 2016: ‘[The new set] will be as authentic as East London today, including a mosque,’ with a spokesperson adding: ‘The new locations for the exterior set build are still to be decided. However, as announced previously, the new set will better reflect the East End of London on screen as well as increase the potential for storylines.’

There they are! In an unlikely choice by soap bosses, the religious building has been placed next to the Prince Albert bar, with work nearing completion after filming began on the set on Tuesday

There they are! In an unlikely choice by soap bosses, the religious building has been placed next to the Prince Albert bar, with work nearing completion after filming began on the set on Tuesday

Still in the works: Images of the developing set show how the mosque remains surrounded by scaffolding

Changes: The build will eventually sit on the street opposite the chemist, betting shop and Beale's famous Fish bar

Still in the works: Images of the developing set show how the mosque remains surrounded by scaffolding, but will eventually sit on the street opposite the chemist, betting shop and Beale’s famous Fish bar

Transformation: The old set (pictured above in 2001) has never included a mosque, but bosses have reportedly included one to reflect an 'authentic' version of East London

Transformation: The old set (pictured above in 2001) has never included a mosque, but bosses have reportedly included one to reflect an ‘authentic’ version of East London

Odd: The mosque (pictured far right above) is yet to be completed, with bosses hoping the entire set will be finished in 2023

Odd: The mosque (pictured far right above) is yet to be completed, with bosses hoping the entire set will be finished in 2023

Developments: EastEnders has long featured Muslim characters, with Bobby Beale recently converting to the religion to help find peace after his troublesome past (pictured played by Clay Milner Russell)

Developments: EastEnders has long featured Muslim characters, with Bobby Beale recently converting to the religion to help find peace after his troublesome past (pictured played by Clay Milner Russell)

Popular: The Masood family also featured prominenly on the soap in the late 2000s

Popular: The Masood family also featured prominenly on the soap in the late 2000s

The soap has long featured Muslim characters, most famously the Masood family, including Zainab (Nina Wadia), Masood (Nitin Ganatra), Syed (Marc Elliott), Shabnam (Zahra Ahmadi and Rakhee Thakrar) and Tamwar (Himesh Patel).

Among the family’s most prominent storylines were Syed struggling to accepting his sexuality and questioning his religion, after beginning an affair with Christian despite being engaged to marry Amira. 

Syed was condemned for his behaviour by his family amd he began to question his religion, before eventually deciding to walk away from his marriage and be with Christian.

Brand new: Filming has already begun on the revamped Eastenders set, with scenes to be aired in spring of this year; pictured left: new Queen Vic pub, pictured right: old Queen Vic in 2019

Brand new Square! While many fixtures of the EastEnders set have been carried over during the revamp, there will also be several new additions

Brand new Square! While many fixtures of the EastEnders set have been carried over during the revamp, there will also be several new additions

Iconic: The famous Queen Vic pub will once again take pride of place, with the street leading under the railway line and towards the new parade of shops

Iconic: The famous Queen Vic pub will once again take pride of place, with the street leading under the railway line and towards the new parade of shops

Famous: Along with the iconic Square and and new houses, there will also be several brand new shops, including a pharmacy and a Polish food store

Famous: Along with the iconic Square and and new houses, there will also be several brand new shops, including a pharmacy and a Polish food store

In recent months, viewers have also seen Ian Beale’s son Bobby convert to Islam to help find peace with his troubled past,shedding light on the religion for many viewers, and the soap has also tackled the hard-hitting topic of Far Right Extremism, after Bobby becomes the target of a hate crime by Aaron Monroe.

On Tuesday EastEnders bosses unveiled their first glimpse at the brand new set as filming finally commenced on the site ahead of being broadcast in the spring. 

The BBC spent £87 million of taxpayers cash on the new build after the old set was deemed ‘not fit for purpose’ five years ago. 

So many shops! The street leading under the railway line opens to unveil the Bridge Street market, with the left road leading along to Prince Albert Bar, Beale's Fish Bar, and the mosque itself

So many shops! The street leading under the railway line opens to unveil the Bridge Street market, with the left road leading along to Prince Albert Bar, Beale’s Fish Bar, and the mosque itself

Different: These modern additions to the soap come after bosses ruled that the old site, used since the show's inception in 1984, was no longer deemed 'fit for purpose'

Long time coming: Work on the new set began back in 2016

Different: These modern additions to the soap come after bosses ruled that the old site, used since the show’s inception in 1984, was no longer deemed ‘fit for purpose’

After sparking fury over licence fee payers’ value for money, the new set is finally up and running, with first look images showing the brand spanking new Queen Vic pub, with a fresh lick of red paint. 

The old set was built in 1984, with the intention of only being used for two years. The new set has been erected right next to the old set, based in Elstree Studios in Borehamwood. 

What began as a rubble patch of land adjacent to the show’s original set has been transformed into the fictional East London enclave, after builders returned to work following a disruption prompted by the Covid outbreak and Britain’s subsequent lockdowns. 

Back in business! As has featured previously in the soap, the Butcher and Baker Sandwich Maker van can be seen parked on a street on the set

Back in business! As has featured previously in the soap, the Butcher and Baker Sandwich Maker van can be seen parked on a street on the set

Back in business! As has featured previously in the soap, the Butcher and Baker Sandwich Maker van can be seen parked on a street on the set

Many of Albert Square’s most iconic landmarks have been recreated for the new set, including the Queen Vic pub, Mitchell brothers’ mechanics garage, the Beale’s fish and chip shop and Ruby Allen’s night club. 

The investment in the BBC’s longest-running TV serial drama enables improves HD experience for the audience and enhanced filming options. 

EastEnders production are now able to explore new areas on screen and writers, producers and directors have greater freedom to drive further creativity.  

Back in 2018, the BBC was accused of ‘outrageously overspending’ licence fee cash after it emerged that EastEnders’ new set would cost £86.7million. 

That was £27million over the original budget – and the project was expected to be nearly five years late.  

The BBC was accused of ‘complacency’ over the astonishing £87 million bill for its new EastEnders set in March 2020.

The massive build, 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’.

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’.

EastEnders’ brand new set was first announced five years ago when it was also revealed that the show’s old 1984 set was in poor condition. 

According to The Telegraph, ongoing maintenance issues on the old set hampered the show’s filming schedule and presented health and safety concerns.

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.

Wow! The BBC spent £87m of taxpayers cash on the new build, after the old set was deemed 'not fit for purpose'; new set pictured

Wow! The BBC spent £87m of taxpayers cash on the new build, after the old set was deemed ‘not fit for purpose’; new set pictured 

Looking good: The new set showed the Albert Square and the surrounding houses with a fresh look; new set pictured

Looking good: The new set showed the Albert Square and the surrounding houses with a fresh look; new set pictured 

First look: The old set was built in 1984, with the intention of only being used for two years; new set pictured

First look: The old set was built in 1984, with the intention of only being used for two years; new set pictured 

Projected to be completed in May 2023, the finished build is 17 months early. 

The new build comes after fans were devastated after it was revealed by The Mirror that Danny Dyer will be stepping down from the soap this year. 

A friend of Danny, has said that ‘he feels the time is right to explore other roles’, after he renounced his character of Mick Carter on the show.

Taking to Twitter, fans of the soap were quick to voice their concerns as they claimed that 2022 was off to a disappointing start following his departure.

One Twitter user penned: ‘Danny Dyer has really ruined 2022 for me already’ at they attached a crying GIF.

Finishing touches: Aerial pictures taken in March 2021 showed the revamped version of the Queen Victoria pub close to being finished along with a new parade of shops and the surrounding marketplace that have become staples on the BBC soap

Finishing touches: Aerial pictures taken in March 2021 showed the revamped version of the Queen Victoria pub close to being finished along with a new parade of shops and the surrounding marketplace that have become staples on the BBC soap

Nearly done! Builders were seen packing up their supplies on the costly project back in March

Nearly done! Builders were seen packing up their supplies on the costly project back in March

Vast: What began as a rubble patch of land adjacent to the show's original London set has been transformed into the fictional East London enclave (pictured in March)

Vast: What began as a rubble patch of land adjacent to the show’s original London set has been transformed into the fictional East London enclave (pictured in March) 

Iconic: Snaps showed the famous Albert Square marketplace surrounded by the houses and flats that have been base for many a domestic dispute on the BBC soap (pictured in March)

Iconic: Snaps showed the famous Albert Square marketplace surrounded by the houses and flats that have been base for many a domestic dispute on the BBC soap (pictured in March) 

Out with the old: The new set has been erected right next to the old set, based in Elstree Studios in Borehamwood; the set pictured in 2015

Out with the old: The new set has been erected right next to the old set, based in Elstree Studios in Borehamwood; the set pictured in 2015 

Another added: ‘Danny Dyer quitting the most depressing thing of 2022.’ 

After the soap saw the return of scheming Janine Butcher, some wondered if she would be the person to take over the legendary Queen Vic pub.

Janine (played by Charlie Brookes) recently shocked Mick with proof that his wife, Linda (Kellie Bright) was drinking again as she made it her mission to end his marriage once and for all.

One fan attempted to predict the plot as she suggested that we could see Mick murdered by Janine, in another of her wicked schemes.

Goodbye: The new build comes after fans were devastated after it was revealed that Danny Dyer - who plays Mick Carter - will be stepping down from the soap this year

Goodbye: The new build comes after fans were devastated after it was revealed that Danny Dyer – who plays Mick Carter – will be stepping down from the soap this year

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