BBC’s long-running soap EastEnders portrays life in fictional Albert Square. But what was life like in the real East End of London?
With rare archive film this new documentary takes a poignant and nostalgic look into the lives of the real East Enders in times gone by.
We visit a vibrant Petticoat Lane in the early 20th century; a busy Billingsgate in the 1940s; get a unique insight into the East End slums in the 1930s; relive the Battle of Cable Street in 1936, when East Enders united against fascism; and recall the heavy price the East End paid in the World War 2 blitz, when it suffered the worst civilian tragedy of the war.
The East End was once synonymous with overcrowding, poverty and desperation, but, as we discover, in this melting pot of humankind there was also hope, aspiration, a unique spirit, and a sense of togetherness forged in adversity. The story of the real East Enders is a fascinating one; sometimes sad, but ultimately uplifting.
Narrated by Roger Vernon
Running time 55 mins approx.