EastEnders and Comic Relief: Murder and misery have never been so much fun
A look back at the classic comedy partnership that's been saying pants to poverty for over a decade...
Over the years, EastEnders fans have been treated to murder, suicide, incest, crack addiction, and a festive Easter special that saw Max Branning buried alive. But, once every couple of years, the residents of Albert Square get to take a break from wedding devastation, revenge killing and baby snatching with the aid of some much-needed Comic Relief.
Since its founding in 1985, the charity has teamed up with the EastEnders cast a number of times to say pants to poverty. Comic Relief has cornered the market in serving up the unexpected - from Hugh Grant snogging Dawn French, to Gordon Brown joining JLS (see the 'Smithy saves Red Nose Day 2011' video just below) - and turning the relentlessly grim EastEnders plot twists on their head has now become something of a Comic Relief tradition.
When it comes to sending themselves up, the residents of Albert Square have always been game for a laugh, and none more so than Babs Windsor. Jackpotjoy's bingo queen has starred in almost every Comic Relief EastEnders special, and she's set to make a knockout return this year too.
With Red Nose Day about to get under way, we thought we'd take a look back at this classic comedy partnership to bring you our favourite Comic Relief EastEnders moments...
Kung Fu Peggy
She's broken up her fair share of fights in the Queen Vic, but this year Barbara has taken her street fighting skills to the next level. The pint-sized former east-ender and newly crowned Queen of Bingo has been boning up on the martial arts, learning kung fu for Comic Relief. In a new sketch created with one of the charity's partners, leading bingo site Jackpotjoy, Walford's no-nonsense landlady takes on a gang of burly thugs, hell bent on stealing her comedy conk. She may be only 4' 11", but don't mess with her - the Carry On legend performed all her own stunts in this kung fu spectacular that really packs a comedy punch.
Singing in the Rain
Worried that the soap might be pushing the dour envelope a little too far, Alan Yentob swoops in to threaten the unthinkable - if EastEnders doesn't lighten up, he'll shut it down and bring back... Eldorado. *shudder* Cue the sunniest episode of EastEnders you've ever seen. Kat Slater skips through Albert Square, a floppy-blonde-haired Phil Mitchell looks like butter wouldn't melt, and Martin Fowler finds that prison is just dandy, thanks. Sure, Kat might have just revealed that she's Zoe's mum, not her sister, and Zoe might have just run away to become a prostitute, but that's nothing an impromptu performance of Singing in the Rain can't fix! None of the gang can contain their joy, and we don't mind admitting that after years of misery, seeing Albert Square all-smiles like this is more than just funny, it's uniquely disturbing.
Who shot Phil Mitchell?!
Back in 2001, someone decided to finally have a pop at Phil. With a list of enemies longer than the Walford Gazette's obituaries column, Phil was asking for it - but who pulled that trigger? Comic Relief is on the case, breaking the fourth wall in spectacular style to bring us a rip-roaring behind-the-scenes glimpse of EastEnders at work. With Mel Smith and Miranda's Sally Phillips at the helm, it's up to them to puzzle out the show's perfect killer. Meanwhile the cast get up to some cross-dressing slapstick antics as they try to find out which lucky cast member is going to get to revel in all the 'I killed Phil' extra screen time and front page publicity. More than just revealing the identity of the trigger-happy killer, this Comic Relief special lets us in on a heavily guarded secret - that the writing team behind the grimmest show on telly for all these years has been Bill Oddie, Barry Cryer, Danny Baker and Jenny Éclair!
The BBC has announced the creation of an annual Ronnie Barker Comedy Lecture. Read
Ben Miller will be reunited The Worst Week Of My Life writers for new BBC One sitcom I Want My Wife Back. Read
Tracey Ullman is to make a brand new series for the BBC, more than 30 years since last working for them. Read
Morgana Robinson has been awarded her own sketch show pilot for BBC Two, called Morgana & Friends. Read
BBC Two has confirmed a programme celebrating the 25-year partnership of Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse. Read
Rory Bremner will follow up his Coalition Report with an Election Report special after May's General Election. Read
BBC Three has ordered a sitcom starring Kerry Howard about flatmates who go into witness protection. Read
Sarah Solemani, Mathew Horne and Harry Enfield will all appear in The Bad Education Movie. Read
Channel 4 has confirmed a sixth year of its Comedy Gala fundraiser in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. Read
Reeves & Mortimer will later this year with their Poignant Moments show, celebrating 25 years together. Read
Jack Whitehall has confirmed that his hit BBC Three sitcom Bad Education is heading to the big screen. Read
Funz And Gamez, the award-winning live comedy show hosted by Phil Ellis, is to be piloted as a TV show by the BBC. Read
BBC Scotland has unveiled its comedy plans for 2015. They include a full series for Two Doors Down. Read
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse lead the comedy-based nominations in the Royal Television Society Awards. Read
Production is underway on Top Coppers, a new BBC comedy series starring John Kearns and Steen Raskopoulos. Read
Matt Lucas talks about filming Pompidou, the visual comedy series for the BBC in which he plays an aristocrat. Read
Following strong ratings, the BBC has ordered 10 more episodes of its panel show Would I Lie To You?. Read
Do you write a funny blog, curate an amusing website or joke a lot on Twitter? If so, here's a competition: Read
Rare images of iconic 1980s British comedy stars are to be displayed at the Museum Of Comedy. Read
Russell Brand has announced he is to launch a new podcast. The Russell Brand Podcast will be a 24-part series. Read