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BBC open to live 'EastEnders' event

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EastEnders logo

© BBC

The BBC has confirmed that it would not rule out a live stage event based on EastEnders.

Executives will attend Street of Dreams, the musical based on Coronation Street which starts next month, as part of research into possible brand extensions for the BBC's own shows, The Observer reports.

Paul O'Grady is the narrator of Street of Dreams, with Russell Watson performing and appearances from Corrie stars such as William Roache and Julie Goodyear. Kym Marsh will play Elsie Tanner.

Phil Murphy, BBC Worldwide's managing director for live entertainment, said: "EastEnders is a lovely idea [for a live event]. I would like more drama. You would need a great script and the stars, but it would be interesting to see it done. If someone came to me for an EastEnders Live, I'd not kick them out of the door."

Tickets to see BBC Worldwide-licensed productions are already expected to reach 3m in the financial year 2012-13.

Kym Marsh as Elsie Tanner

© ITV

Coronation Street. Pat Phoenix (elsie Tanner) With Bill Roache (ken Barlow) And Peter Adamson (len Fairclough) In The Rovers Return

© Rex Features / Weekend Magazine



While no firm plans are under way, BBC drama controller John Yorke suggested that a "gritty" stage piece would be more appropriate for EastEnders than a Coronation Street-style musical.

He said: "I am very intrigued. We are in a whole new era of live entertainment, which began, perhaps, with the Strictly Come Dancing tours.

"In this case Street of Dreams is playing in its home town. Conversations are always going on about brand extensions for EastEnders. About nine years ago there was talk of EastEnders the Movie.

"Culturally we've come to accept it, as the BBC becomes more commercial. I'd be cautiously welcoming to the idea of doing it.

"It is hard to see an EastEnders musical. It would have to be something more gritty, scripted say by Arnold Wesker. I can't see [Dirty] Den and Michelle doing a high-kicking number."

Michael Harrison, producer of the new Susan Boyle musical I Dreamed a Dream, added that audiences want to spend money on something "they know they will like before they go", particularly in recessions.

Birds of a Feather and Yes, Prime Minister have recently been adapted into stage shows.

Following its premiere in Manchester, Street of Dreams will tour in Dublin, Belfast and Newcastle. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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