BBC soap opera marks 25th anniversary with record-setting live broadcast

The Brits’ addiction to TV soaps propelled a live 25th-anni edition of BBC sudser “EastEnders” to a record 15.6 million viewers.

Some 16.6 million people watched the Feb. 19 edition, which revealed the identity of Archie Mitchell (Larry Lamb) in the last five minutes.

Key numbers behind the anni broadcast:

n Archie was the 76th “EastEnders” character to die.

n The cast rehearsed 10 possible endings.

n The episode involved 51 actors, 36 camera operators and 13 makeup artists.

n Series was launched in 1985 to rival ITV’s “Coronation Street” — which turns 50 this year.

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