'EastEnders' new-look Albert Square to hit screens NEXT WEEK!

EastEnders Albert Square
Bigger and better: The new Albert Square set, which will be on screen next week. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders fans will get to see the new-look Albert Square on screen for the first time next week as it takes centre stage in the dramatic climax to the Gray Atkins storyline.

Next week, solicitor Gray’s killer crimes will finally be exposed, and he will be seen resorting to desperate measures to try to evade justice. 

EastEnders Gray Atkins

Under pressure: Gray (Toby-Alexander Smith) tries to go on the run next week, but is there nowhere to hide? (Image credit: BBC)

The show's production manager, Rona McKendrick, has told Radio Times, "In the fourth episode [of the week], there's a chase sequence to show off as much of the new area as we possibly can."

The “new area” in question has taken several years to build and has reportedly cost £87 million.

The BBC says it will enable improved HD filming and will also allow new areas to be explored on screen, giving writers, producers and directors more creative freedom. 

The former Albert Square was built in 1984, ready for the soap’s launch the following year.

But it was only ever intended to be used for two years, and is no longer fit for purpose.

The new set has been in use since 11th January, but EastEnders is filmed around six to eight weeks in advance, so it’s only now that viewers are getting to see it. 

The soap released several images at the time, to mark the first day’s filming. 

One shows the front of the Queen Vic with the Minute Mart and a market stall visible beside it, while another shows a side view of the pub, with the soap's cast and crew hard at work.

EastEnders Queen Vic

Open for business: The jewel of Albert Square - the iconic Queen Vic pub. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders Queen Vic

And action! A shot of the new and improved Albert Square when it opened for filming in January. (Image credit: BBC)

Speaking about filming on the new square, Toby-Alexander Smith, who plays Gray, says “Everyone has done such an amazing job replicating the old set, even down to there being rust on the bars in the Square.

“It does look pretty identical, so in that sense it doesn’t feel too dissimilar, but it is more the energy and the freshness of the cast and crew just being on this new set and being part of EastEnders history.”

And teasing what viewers can expect from next week’s blistering episodes, he adds, “There are going to be some really tense moments. There is a pretty big stunt which Shona McGarty (Whitney) and I both had a lot of fun filming. 

“Ultimately, Whitney is fearless at this point. She has been trying to get Gray for a long time, so there is a massive showdown that is really exciting.”

EastEnders currently airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.