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'EastEnders' stars show off brand new Albert Square set and tease Gray's downfall

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 01/03/2022 - Programme Name: EastEnders - January-March 2022 - TX: 10/03/2022 - Episode: EastEnders - January-March 2022 - 6449 (No. 6449) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 1ST MARCH 2022*** Gray Atkins (TOBY-ALEXANDER SMITH) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Gray's 'EastEnders' storyline was filmed at the new set. (BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

EastEnders stars have been showing off their brand new set for the soap, which was used for the first time to film the culmination of killer Gray Atkins' storyline.

A video shared on Twitter introduces fans of the BBC One soap to the refreshed set of Albert Square, built to be a bit wider than the old set and with a few new additions.

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Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia Fowler, gave viewers a guided tour of the set, saying: "It is absolutely outstanding what they've achieved in building this and it's just an amazing addition."

Series production manager Rona McKendrick explained that the very first EastEnders set had been made of wood and plastic, but that the new set was built of real bricks and had been aged so as to not look too fresh.

There have also been some new areas added to the set, including Chinese takeaway Eastern Blossom in the railway arches.

Cassidy said: "Believe it or not, Sonia is partial to the odd wonton, so this is going to be good news for her."

First look images of the new Albert Square and the iconic Queen Vic have been released as filming starts on the new EastEnders set today (11 January).

The new set replaces the former Albert Square which – having been built in 1984 with an intention to be used for two years – is no longer fit for purpose.

The investment in the BBC’s longest-running TV serial drama and wider BBC Elstree Centre enables improved HD for our audiences and enhanced filming options. EastEnders production are now able to explore new areas on screen and writers, producers and directors have greater freedom to drive further creativity.
The new Albert Square of course features The Queen Vic. (BBC)

She also showed off her character's new garden, where she said she was looking forward to hanging out washing, and gave a first look at Albert Square's garages teasing that they could be the setting for grim storylines of the future.

"I can imagine the kids hiding some stuff in there, maybe the odd body, who knows," she said.

Read more: EastEnders preview - what will Gray do next?

Favourite Walford landmarks such as The Queen Vic, the Minute Mart, Ruby's Club, the hairdresser, the market and the cafe have all made the move to their new home.

First look images of the new Albert Square and the iconic Queen Vic have been released
The new set was used to film Gray trying to escape police. (BBC)

EastEnders' new set has been made good use of in its first week as the soap filmed a week's worth of night shoots to tell the final part in serial killer Gray Atkins' story.

Toby-Alexander Smith, who plays Gray, said: "I'm hoping to do as many of the stunts as I can."

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He added that co-star Shona McGarty, who plays Whitney Dean, was also planning on doing many of the stunts herself but that there were stunt doubles on hand to take on climbs across scaffolding if it got too cold and slippy for them.

McGarty said: "I feel like it's a new beginning for EastEnders and for me. I've been here for 14 years and it's another milestone and it's a real privilege to be working here."

Watch: Toby-Alexander Smith talks backlash to Gray's storyline