EASTENDERS swapped Albert Square for Clacton to shoot the show’s Christmas episodes.

Crowds gathered to watch as scenes were filmed on the promenade near Clacton Pier.

Actress Pam St Clement, who plays Pat Butcher, was among the stars on set. Unconfirmed rumours suggest the storyline could include Pat’s exit from the show.

Christmas trees were set up outside the pier entrance and decorations placed along the promenade to give the scene a festive feel.

Producers expecting blustery October conditions were disappointed when they arrived to find sun-bathers on the beach.

The cast had to contend with 27C heat, and one extra in a Father Christmas costume was left desperately seeking shade between takes.

Neil and Josie Fleming, from Clacton, watched the filming with children Georgie, Jay and Luke.

Mr Fleming said: “We have seen a bit of filming. We saw the actress playing Tiffany and her brother running down towards the pier end of the beach from the beach patrol.”

Mrs Fleming said: “I’m a big fan of the show and so are the children, so it is quite exciting to see it filmed right on our doorstep.”

Carol Yetton, another fan of the BBC show, said: “I’ve always watched it, so seeing it here is brilliant and it has been fun watching them set up and film scenes.

“I’m not sure they were expecting it to be so hot, though. Apparently, it is supposed to be a Christmas episode, so I doubt they were expecting to film it in a heat wave.”

An EastEnders’ spokesman said: “It has been amazing for us to have such great weather for a beach scene away from Walford. We are filming on location as Pat Butcher is taking a family outing to the seaside. Clacton has an excellent beach and is near to London, so it was ideal for us, and the town is referred to directly in the script.”