EastEnders is set to return with a new look as large mural of black woman is added to Albert Square

EastEnders has unveiled a new addition to its Elstree set as filming resumed on the BBC soap – a mural of a black woman by visual artist Dreph.

The mural, painted on the side wall of the Beales’ house opposite The Queen Victoria pub, will become a permanent backdrop to storylines when the show returns to screens later this year.

It was painted directly onto the wall of the Bridge Street house over several days before cast and crew returned to work and measures 5×2 metres in size.

New addition: EastEnders has unveiled a new addition to its Elstree set as filming resumed on the BBC soap – a mural of a black woman by visual artist Dreph

Dreph, real name is Neequaye Dsane, is best known for his large-scale murals and oil paintings, and his subjects range from strangers to friends and family and are often a tribute to living unsung heroes and heroines.

The You Are Enough project in 2017 saw the Nottingham-born artist create a series of portraits of black women that paid tribute to friends who were contributing to their communities and society at large.

He said: ‘The opportunity to have my artwork on the set as a permanent feature, having the same impact as my work has on the streets of London, was a really exciting opportunity.

Bombshell: The hit BBC One soap ended with a dramatic Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) cliffhanger earlier this month, after running out of episodes amid the COVID-19 lockdown

Bombshell: The hit BBC One soap ended with a dramatic Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) cliffhanger earlier this month, after running out of episodes amid the COVID-19 lockdown

Artist: Dreph, real name is Neequaye Dsane, is best known for his large-scale murals and oil paintings, and his subjects range from strangers to friends and family

Artist: Dreph, real name is Neequaye Dsane, is best known for his large-scale murals and oil paintings, and his subjects range from strangers to friends and family

‘I remember watching the very first EastEnders episode three decades ago, so I was really surprised to hear from the team!

‘I’m so pleased that EastEnders has found a way to reflect modern-day UK in a time when so many of us are finding ways to voice anti-racism and I’m so happy that my work will become the backdrop to future storylines in the show.’

Jon Sen, executive producer of EastEnders, said: ‘Dreph’s mural is an exciting and timely addition to the show that reflects events taking place in the real world.

‘Anti-racism is something that the cast, crew and producers care passionately about at EastEnders and the show is well known for tackling social issues and celebrating diversity and inclusivity through its characters and storylines.’

The revelation comes amid ongoing global protests over racial injustice, triggered last month by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota. 

Modern-day UK: Delph said, 'I'm so pleased that EastEnders has found a way to reflect modern-day UK in a time when so many of us are finding ways to voice anti-racism'

Modern-day UK: Delph said, ‘I’m so pleased that EastEnders has found a way to reflect modern-day UK in a time when so many of us are finding ways to voice anti-racism’

Real world: Jon Sen, executive producer of EastEnders, said, 'Dreph's mural is an exciting and timely addition to the show that reflects events taking place in the real world'

Real world: Jon Sen, executive producer of EastEnders, said, ‘Dreph’s mural is an exciting and timely addition to the show that reflects events taking place in the real world’

Fans are anticipating the show returning several weeks down the line, as the programme aired its final episode earlier this month after running out of episodes due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The hit BBC One soap will keep loyal viewers in suspense as they ended the show with a dramatic Sharon Mitchell cliffhanger.

Production on EastEnders came to a halt in March, when the UK went into lockdown and most people were instructed to stay home, and work from home if possible.

And for the first time in the soap’s 35-year history, the show ran out of new material on Tuesday night and was forced to go on a hiatus in a BBC first.

The dramatic final episode before the break ended with Sharon, played by Letitia Dean, being revealed as the new Queen Vic pub landlady.

The End(er)! EastEnders aired its final episode in what is likely to be several weeks, after running out of episodes with the cast locked down and unable to film

The End(er)! EastEnders aired its final episode in what is likely to be several weeks, after running out of episodes with the cast locked down and unable to film

Get out of my pub! In a typically dramatic Albert Square scene, Phil's scorned wife chillingly said, 'Hello Phil, what can I get you?' as she revealed herself to be the Queen Vic's landlady

Get out of my pub! In a typically dramatic Albert Square scene, Phil’s scorned wife chillingly said, ‘Hello Phil, what can I get you?’ as she revealed herself to be the Queen Vic’s landlady

Viewers had been led to believe that Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) would be taking over the reins but Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) managed to trick the Walford hardman. 

Just as Mick was about to sign over the Queen Vic, he dropped the explosive bombshell that there was in fact a new different landlord.

Phil was left sceptical over the announcement as he protested: ‘We had a deal. You’re bluffing, there’s no way you could have got a different buyer that quick.’

To which Mick then led Phil and his equally baffled wife Linda (Kellie Bright) to the bar where Phil’s estranged wife Sharon was pulling pints.

In a typically dramatic Albert Square scene, Phil’s scorned wife chillingly said: ‘Hello Phil, what can I get you?’ 

Naughty: Viewers had been led to believe that Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) would be taking over the reigns but Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) managed to trick the Walford hardman

Naughty: Viewers had been led to believe that Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) would be taking over the reigns but Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) managed to trick the Walford hardman

Smug: The camera then panned on to a smug Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), Mick and Linda while Phil was left seething over the dramatic bombshell

Smug: The camera then panned on to a smug Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), Mick and Linda while Phil was left seething over the dramatic bombshell

The camera then panned on to a smug Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), Mick and Linda while Phil was left seething over the dramatic bombshell.

Phil and Sharon have been at loggerheads after she decided to raise her illegitimate son Kayden rather than give him to his grandmother Karen while the Walford hardman also blamed her for Dennis’ death, resulting in him kicking her out.   

The cast have in fact returned to the set this month, and production has restarted on new episodes, but these will not be ready for broadcast just yet. 

In place of its Monday and Tuesday episodes, a new series called Secrets From The Square, hosted by Stacey Dooley, has been shown.

BBC One also unearthed iconic past episodes and treat fans to a does of nostalgia for the time being.

Since EastEnders has never been aired in ‘seasons’ like other shows, this will be a milestone episode to many. 

New show: In place of its Monday and Tuesday episodes, a series called Secrets From The Square, hosted by Stacey Dooley, has been shown

New show: In place of its Monday and Tuesday episodes, a series called Secrets From The Square, hosted by Stacey Dooley, has been shown

It first hit screens in February 1985 and has been a staple of British evening TV ever since. 

The soap will return later in the summer, returning to its four days a week broadcasts, which were scrapped to release out the instalments that were in the can.

But the show returns with shortened episodes; rather than the standard half-hour slots, they will be 20 minutes long to begin with.

Executive Producer of the show Jon Sen said: ‘Resuming production is incredibly exciting and challenging in equal measure.

‘Since we postponed filming we’ve been working non-stop trialling techniques, filming methods and new ways of working so that we can return to screens four times a week – as EastEnders should be.

‘Filming will inevitably be a more complex process now so creating 20 minute episodes will enable us to ensure that when we return, EastEnders will still be the show the audience know and love.’

Square one: The soap will return later this year returning to its four days a week broadcasts

Square one: The soap will return later this year returning to its four days a week broadcasts

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