Boys Costumes Depicted in Television Shows: EastEnders (1985 to date)

Figure 1.--Steven is taken to his new private preparatory school dressed in the school uniform. Notice the "yobbos" in the background who are admiring his new outfit!

"EastEnders" is one of the most well know TV programs in the English-speaking world. The one major exception is the United States, whre it is virtually unknown, except to PBS viewers. EasdtEnders has run contnuously since about 1985 and, as a result, is a wonferful record of English clothing trends in th late 20th and early 21st century.


This long running English soap opera is set in the gritty East End of London, a tough working class neighborhood. This soap has been around from about 1984 through present day. It is one of the most popular soap opera in the United Kingdom TV history. A British reader writes, " It is not the biggest soap in the UK. That honour goes to Coronation Street." It is one of the most famous shows in the history of English television. One of the main characters is Grace Brothers' Miss Brahams and her Cockey accent from "Are You Being Served". The show follow the saga of the travails of working-class families.


A British reader rites, "Not particularly relevant to this website but I can fill in what appears to be missing info here. The actress in question is Wendy Richard who played Miss Brahms In the 70s sitcom are you being served. SHe was your typically (for late 60s/early 70s) short skirted blond bombshell and played such in several Britiish films and comedy programs of the time. In "East Enders" 25 years later she has bercome the matronly Pauline Fowler. How things change! Out of all the soaps in the UK, EastEnders does seem to have more children in it than the others, where you will usually find a 'token' child. That said, most of the 'kids' are now in their late teens and become big media stars.

Children's Clothes

This of course includes the children in the family. Thus the clothes worn by boys in the late 20th century are nicely show cased. Some episodes dealt with the children in their school uniforms, although I don't know of any episodes actually set in the schools. Some of the shools that they went to required school uniforms and these have been shown. Most of the boys on East Enders have gone to state schools. The older children went to comprehensive schools where they wore uniforms consisting of aa black blazer, white shirt, tie, and long trousers.

Prep School Episode

In one episode a family decides to send their son Steven, much against his will, to the local private school--a traditional prep school. Steven had been going to the local primary in the east end of london and dad who has several businesses wants his son to have the best even though they still live in a terrace house in a poor district. The dad is poor boy made good. Steven is about 10 or 11 years old. The school he is sent to requires a fancy uniform of cap, stripped blazer, white shirt, tie, grey short pants, and kneesocks. Steven doesn't like his uniform at all. When his old scool mates (English for friends) see him they rag his unmercifully about his fancy new duds. At the end of the episode, dad was telling someone on a market stall about all the other parents and how posh they were. The bloke told Steven to tell them that his dad ran a fish and chip shop. That shut dad up!! One HBC reader comments, " There's something very sorrowful about the way those kids in the background seem amused by the boy's new uniform. I imagine that's how most kids would feel if made to wear a short pants school uniform and none of his friends hwent to the same school and had to do so. If the boy's friends had similar uniforms, it would be no big deal, but this young man certainly looks like he needs his dad's support right now."


To the best of my knowledge, there has never been any footage shot in a school. Most of the kids (including Steven) now wear the popular uniform of grey long pants and a blue sweatshirt with the school's name and logo emblazoned over it.


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Created: April 28, 2000
Last updated: 8:54 PM 10/3/2004