Today in Soap Opera History (February 19)

1985: British soap opera EastEnders premiered.
"Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human nature."
― David Hume

"Today in Soap Opera History" is a collection of the most memorable, interesting and influential events in the history of scripted, serialized programs. From birthdays and anniversaries to Scandals and controversies, every day this column celebrates the soap opera in American culture.

On this date in...

1970: On Dark Shadows, Megan (Marie Wallace) reported to Nicholas about the burning of Paul Stoddard's grave. She threatened to kill Nicholas if he hurt Jeb, whom Nicholas accused her of loving. Barnabas (Jonathan Frid) found Megan and told her that Jeb punished his betrayal by turning him back into a vampire. In revenge, Barnabas bit Megan and got her under his control. Megan then told Barnabas that Schuyler Rumson -- Angelique's new husband -- was the man who turned him in. Barnabas tracked down Angelique on Long Island and informed her that Sky was a leviathan, a charge she refused to believe. However, Sky then introduced her to his mentor, Nicholas Blair. Though Angelique and Nicholas pretended to be strangers in front of Sky, the old arch-enemies reverted to form. Realizing that she truly couldn't escape her past as a witch, Angelique decided to embrace it anew. As the episode ends, Nicholas ordered Sky to burn Angelique, which he set out to do.

1980: On All My Children, Palmer (James Mitchell) threatened to turned an attack dog loose on Daisy (Gillian Spencer), who wanted to reveal herself to Nina (Taylor Miller).

1980: On The Edge of Night, Draper Scott's (Tony Craig) murder trial began.

1981: On Another World, Alice (Vana Tribbey) met Mitch when Olivia stepped out of the hospital waiting room. Mac was surprised when Rachel told him she had already spoken to Mitch about Matthew. Larry told Blaine they would be working at the Arena together. Alice was uncomfortable when Mitch talked about Jamie. Blaine warned Larry about Clarice’s reaction when she learns of his change in occupation. Mac didn’t understand when Rachel said Mitch objected to Mac’s desire to adopt Matthew. Mitch told Olivia he can’t feel settled down while Zachary investigates him. Jamie admitted to sleep depravation and considered asking Russ for sleeping pills while talking to Mac about his workload. Larry made a cryptic phone call about upcoming plans for Jordan. Jess suggested to Jordan that they target Cory Publishing. Mac gave the manuscript of his memoirs to Cecile, but decided to edit a portion himself. Mac suggested Cecile accompany Jamie on his business trips. Mac warned Cecile not to let Jamie shut her out of his life. Zachary interrogated Olivia about Mitch’s amnesia. Mac and Mitch didn’t agree on Matthew’s best interests. Blaine told Clarice that Larry quit the force to accept a job at the Arena. Olivia was puzzled by Alice’s suspicions about Rachel and Mitch’s relationship. Cecile apologized to Jamie about their misunderstanding. Clarice forced Larry to choose between their marriage and working at the Arena.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the clip above.

1982: On Falcon Crest, the Gioberti family prepared for the arrival of Chase's mother, Jacqueline Perrault (Lana Turner), from France. Jacqueline was married to Jason, but divorced him thirty years ago, taking Chase away from Falcon Crest and never returning until now. Angela (Jane Wyman) discovered the news of Jacqueline's arrival and was displeased, indicating she had a history with her sister-in-law. Jacqueline arrived and greeted the Giobertis semi-warmly, but was overcome with emotion when she saw Chase. When Lance arrived, bearing a wine basket courtesy of Angela, Jacqueline seemed somewhat disparaging towards Falcon Crest and Angela in particular. Jacqueline warned Chase that staying in Falcon Crest could be dangerous, and that he could suffer the same fate as Jason. Jacqueline offered Maggie the opportunity to bring the whole family back to France with her. Angela and Jacqueline arranged to have dinner at the Gioberti's house. Angela tried to prevent Emma from coming, but Julia convinced her to relent. At dinner, Angela and Jacqueline verbally sparred before Angela, disgusted, left the table, Jacqueline following close behind. Away from the rest of the family, Jacqueline implied that Jason's death may not have been accidental and that Angela somehow precipitated it. She said she left Falcon Crest thirty years ago to protect Chase from Angela, and that she wanted to continue to do so. Chase interrupted the conversation, saying that he could make his own decisions and that he belongs in Falcon Crest. As the family said their goodbyes, Chase offered to let Jacqueline stay so they can be together. Jacqueline said the real reason she returned was to rekindle their sense of family, and promised to be there for Chase when he needed her.

1985: British soap opera EastEnders debuted on BBC, and revolved around the daily lives of the denizens of Albert Square in London's East End borough of Walford. In the premiere, Den Watts, Arthur Fowler, and Ali Osman discovered Reg Cox unconscious in his flat. While the rest of "the Square" -- led by busybodies Ethel Skinner and Lou Beale -- was mired in gossip about Reg's condition and argued over comparative neighborliness, Pauline and Arthur Fowler -- middle-aged and on the dole with two teens to support -- fretted about telling family matriarch Lou that they had a third child on the way. 13 million viewers watched the first episode.

Note: As part of EastEnders' 30th anniversary celebrations, all of the episodes airing this week will include live elements, while Friday's 30-minute episode will be fully live.

1986: On Days of our Lives, Shane (Charles Shaughnessy) diffused a bomb at the Brady Fish Market.

1988: On Loving, Ava (Roya Megnot) prepared to leave Clay (Randolph Mantooth).

1993: Days of our Lives paid tribute to actress Joy Garrett (Jo Johnson), who passed eight days earlier.

1998: On Another World, it was the morning after the deadly accident that killed Shane and Michael, and Lila (Lisa Peluso) vowed to find out why Shane was on the mountain that night, and accused Vicky of causing the car crash by luring Shane to the mountain cabin. But Donna fabricated a tale, claiming Michael wanted to bring Shane to the cabin so he could concentrate on his research. Jake admitted that he went to the cabin to spy on Vicky, and while Vicky wanted to tell him what she knew about that night, she was tormented by her promise to Donna never to reveal the truth. Meanwhile, on his wedding day, Nick awakened to the horrifying news that his father had been killed in the car crash. He and Sofia spent what they thought would be the happiest day of their lives in a state of terrible grief. And Lila, who could not let the circumstances of Shane's death rest, contacted the sheriff about the "negligent homicide."

2001: On As the World Turns, Jake (Tom Eplin) met his twin girls for the first time and named them Michelle and Bridget after Vicky's father and guardian. Note: Jensen Buchanan made her final appearance on ATWT the next day. She had already started appearing on General Hospital which led P&G to sue the actress and her agent for breach of contract.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Gwen Taylor (ex-Anne, Coronation Street) - 76
Jacqueline Coslow (ex-Mary, All My Children) - 72
Michael Nader (ex-Dimitri, All My Children; ex-Kevin, As the World Turns; ex-Alexi, Bare Essence; ex-Dex, Dynasty) - 70
Stephen Nichols (ex-Tucker, The Young and the Restless; ex-Steve, Days of our Lives; ex-Stefan, General Hospital; ex-Skyler, Santa Barbara) - 64
Jeff Daniels (Will, The Newsroom) - 60
Kathleen Beller (ex-Kirby, Dynasty; ex-Liza, Search for Tomorrow) - 59
Martin Hewitt (ex-Steven Lars, General Hospital) - 57
Jessica Tuck (ex-Megan, One Life to Live; ex-Madeline, Days of our Lives; ex-Diane, Sunset Beach; ex-Gloria, Twisted; ex-Nan, True Blood) - 52
Justine Bateman (ex-Ellie, Desperate Housewives) - 49
Bellamy Young (Mellie, Scandal; ex-Courtney, Another World) - 45
Victoria Justice (Lindy, Eye Candy) - 22

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a soap history entry for this date or a future date, email

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