Producers of BBC series Eastenders have been putting out feelers for locations in the south-east of England on either side of the Thames for a potential future storyline, and are seeking extras and suitable fishing vessels to be featured in a run of episodes to be aired later this year.

According to Eastenders deputy production director Hugh Jampton, the team are seeking ways to add new angles to the hugely popular series, using locations away from the programme’s East End backdrop, but maintaining the enduring flavour of the show.

‘We’re looking for potential locations around the Thames Estuary area,’ he said, commenting that Eastenders has filmed one-offs in Marbella, Blackpool and other locations in the past.

‘The places we are considering are Leigh-on-Sea, Canvey Island, Whitstable and Margate, but we’re open to suggestions. It’s vital to keep the East End of London connection, and all these places have that strong link with London, plus they’re fantastic backdrops for a drama,’ he said, and added that extras will be needed and for the storylines that are being developed, at least two commercial fishing boats will need to be leased while filming takes place, one for scenes to be shot on board and a second vessel for an additional camera crew to shoot extra footage.

‘We’re keen to identify two suitable boats in the area, and these will need have space to carry camera crews and cast members, as well as having suitable insurance for passengers. We will also need a small number of extras who look the part, and we’ll need some locations for filming on land as well, once we have decided which of the Thames fishing ports is the ideal one to use. We’ll also need a technical adviser to make sure that the scenes at sea are realistic, although we can’t show anyone smoking and as Eastenders is pre-watershed programming, any colourful nautical language is out, unfortunately,’ he said.

Hugh Jampton said that the idea of a fishing industry-related storyline was triggered during the protests on the Thames.

‘It’s something that chimes perfectly with the ethos of the programme and BBC management’s preferred editorial slant. The whole fishing industry angle, Brexit and the protests are a gift for a series like this that’s designed for a mass audience,’ Hugh Jampton said.

‘The writers are still working on the episode outlines, but we’re looking at the options for using this storyline set along the Thames coast to bring back a character who hasn’t been seen in Albert Square for a few years. No, I can’t confirm who it might be, but it’s a much loved – or hated – character.’

For further information, contact production assistant Julian Lestrange, jmlestrange@bonaprods.co.uk