string(4) "york"

Meet the York student who has written her dissertation on EastEnders

‘I got to watch a lot of EastEnders which is always going to be a good time’


EastEnders had some WILD storylines back in the day. Murders were happening on Albert Square left, right and centre and the drama was unbeatable. But one York student has cashed in on the drama by writing her dissertation on the show.

English student Katie Sullivan has written her dissertation on the EastEnders storyline “Who killed Lucy Beale?” a wild storyline that lasted for a whole year and (spoiler alert) culminated with Bobby Beale, her own brother, confessing to killing her.

Her diss is titled: “‘The things that go on behind closed doors’: The EastEnders storyline ‘Who killed Lucy Beale?’ and its impact on offscreen and onscreen communities.”

The York Tab spoke to Katie to find out more about her iconic dissertation:

‘I’ve always loved EastEnders and have watched it for a really long time’

Katie said she was inspired to write her diss on EastEnders because throughout her degree in English she “really enjoyed exploring strong and iconic characters and I feel like no one did this better than EastEnders. I was also really interested in audience engagement and how soap opera viewers get so invested in the characters and storylines.”

She continued: “I’ve always loved EastEnders and have watched it for a really long time. I really wanted to focus my diss on something I was properly interested in and it seemed like the perfect choice, especially when I started researching and realised there were a lot of articles and journals out there.”

‘My supervisor was really supportive!’

Katie said that her dissertation supervisor was really supportive throughout the whole project. “In the beginning, I initially wanted to write a comparison between Shakespeare and modern-day soap opera, but he convinced me to just focus on EastEnders because he said I had enough material.”

“He said he hadn’t watched EastEnders in a long time but I do think towards the end he was super interested in the storyline!”

‘I got to watch a lot of EastEnders which is always going to be a good time’

When asked whether she enjoyed writing her diss, Katie said: “I did really enjoy writing it even if it was stressful at times. It was challenging but I really loved putting an academic focus on such an iconic TV show and I got to watch a lot of EastEnders which is always going to be a good time.”

Her dissertation explored the “Who Killed Lucy Beale?” storyline from 2014/15 which led to a week of live episodes (which is where the iconic “How’s Adam?” mistake came from).

“I focused on the impact of the storyline on the fictional community as well as the viewing community. I looked a lot at the dramatic marketing campaign and audience reviews, as well as how the shock of a ten-year-old accidentally killing his sister impacted the Beale family.”

Absolute ICONIC behaviour if you ask me and I’m desperate to read.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Meet the York student who has written her dissertation on Derry Girls

I got drunk at every bar on York’s campus and here’s what I learned