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23 February 2007
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Which issues have been highlighted by EastEnders?
Throughout its 21 year history, EastEnders has strived to highlight important social issues with sensitivity and accuracy. These are just a few of the major subjects that the show has tackled.
Cancer
Peggy Mitchell
Peggy Mitchell underwent radiotherapy for breast cancer in 1996 but it returned in 1999. She then faced a mastectomy. "Soaps take an issue and really do their homework," says Barbara Windsor. "Peggy's storyline encouraged a lot of charities to get more recognition."
Domestic violence
Trevor and Little Mo
Little Mo suffered months of abuse at the hands of her tyrannical husband, Trevor. The story coincided with the BBC's Hitting Home season which aimed to raise debate about domestic violence. Over 17,000 people rang the BBC in response to the campaign.
Drugs
Nick Cotton
When Nick Cotton succumbed to heroin addiction, his long-suffering mum Dot was forced into action. After scoring him his last hit, Dot barricaded him in his room and forced him to go 'cold turkey'. He escaped through a window and murdered Eddie Royle. Nick eventually kicked his addiction but continued to deal drugs.
HIV
Mark Fowler
Mark Fowler contracted HIV during a wild phase of his life. His story dispelled the myth that HIV is an automatic death sentence. He lived with the condition for 13 years before dying of an AIDS related illness. The Terrence Higgins Trust worked with the production team for the duration of Mark's story.
Homelessness
Zoe Slater
Zoe Slater spent two months sleeping rough after running away from home. She was targeted by a brothel madam called Roxy. She gave Zoe shelter, but tried to force her into prostitution. Zoe was rescued on Christmas Day
Rape
Kathy Mitchell
Kathy Mitchell was raped when she was 14. She was raped a second time by her boss, James Willmott Brown Kathy initially received hostile treatment from the police when she reported the rape, although Wilmott Brown was eventually imprisoned. A senior police officer praised the show's treatment of the issue.
Reading and writing problems
Keith Miller
Keith Miller was humiliated when his family found out that he couldn't read or write. Keith soon started adult literacy classes, and son Darren helped him out as well. The storyline was tied in with the BBC's RAW campaign.
Relive the moment when Little Mo finally fought back
Follow the events that led to Kathy's assault
Read an interview with David Spinx (Keith Miller) about his favourite reading.
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Backstage Facts
Lacey Turner (Stacey) originally auditioned for a part in the Miller family.

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