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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

EastEnders uses radio for its biggest ever storyline

EastEnders poster

The death of EastEnders character Lucy Beale on Friday night’s episode is being touted as its biggest-ever storyline and the role of radio promotion is central to the marketing.

The BBC is using a mix of platforms to drive audiences to the show for the death of Lucy, played by Hetti Bywater. These include TV spots, social activity and a range of impactful radio promotional trails across BBC radio networks.

The creative centres on the theme There’s a killer amongst them. The TV spot uses the music from Lana Del Ray and relies on the creativity and effect created from the lyrics to tell the story alongside the imagery.  The accompanying radio spots use clever wordplay to create the intensity with the music having less impact.

TV Spot

Radio Spots

The radio spots use spoken dialogue from the key characters in the ‘whodunnit’ to bring the tension to life. Clever scripting from the BBC Cross Trails team encapsulates the death storyline with phrases like “stabbing headache”, “amazing shots” [in reference to a pool tournament], “dying to get home” and head “buried” in a book.

Take a listen for yourself:



It’s great to see the BBC use the power of radio promotion to help drive trial and interest into this major storyline on EastEnders.

It would have been nice to see the same music used in the TV spots and radio spots as research shows this increases a campaign’s effectiveness. The ‘Turning Art into Science’ research from the RAB  says:

  • A consistent creative route is the most effective feature – familiarity draws the audience in
  • When used alongside television – radio is more effective if integrated through the use of common audio features

The radio spots launch this weekend across BBC Radio 1, 2 5Live and local radio. Production was by Debbie Dillon, Senior Producer, BBC Cross Trails and Neil Cowling, Director, Fresh Air Production.

Neil Cowling responds to our point about the music:

The musical “matching luggage” an interesting point. The radio track had to work tonally on Radio 1, 2 5Live and BBC local without feeling too dark. We didn’t have the creative space to include lyrics, and it needed to have enough texture and interesting structure to punctuate the modular script. None of these are considerations for TV.

In the end we felt there was enough creative synergy – instantly recognisable characters and a very striking tag line – for the campaign to feel creatively joined up. While we always strive to use the same music as TV, sometimes it’s more important to do what’s right to make the best possible piece of radio.

It only leaves one question … who killed Lucy?!

Jonathan Jacob is a Solutions Manager at Global Radio with varied experience across commercial radio S&P, events, marketing and PR. He was listed in the inaugural Radio Academy 30 under 30, is a Student Radio Awards judge and sits on the Events Committee for The Radio Academy. Views are personal.

One Comment

  1. Hi Jonathan. Thanks for featuring this work.
    It’s made by myself and my colleague Debbie Dillon and we’re very proud of it.

    The musical ‘matching luggage’ an interesting point. The radio track had to work tonally on Radio 1, 2 5Live and BBC local without feeling too dark. We didn’t have the creative space to include lyrics, and it needed to have enough texture and interesting structure to complement modular structure the script. None of these are considerations for TV.

    In the end we felt there was enough creative synergy – instantly recognisable characters and a very striking tag line – for the campaign to feel creatively joined up. While we always strive to use the same music as TV, sometimes it’s more important to do what’s right to make the best possible piece of radio.

    I’m very glad you like it!