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Olympic torch comes to Borehamwood during EastEnders live show
The Olympic flame came to Borehamwood yesterday night when hit TV soap EastEnders held its own live relay.
Nearly eight million viewers tuned in to BBC1 to see fictional character Billy Mitchell carry the torch as part of the show, which is filmed from BBC Elstree in Claredon Road.
The last seven minutes of the sitcom were aired live, and saw Billy carry the flame past iconic landmarks such as the market, the launderette and the Queen Vic.
Perry Fenwick, who has played Billy for the last 14 years, wore a white 2012 Olympic tracksuit as he made his way through Walford with the torch.
But when Billy was stuck on the London Underground there was doubt whether he would make it to the relay at all.
Viewers sat biting their nails on tenterhooks, waiting to see if he would make it back to Walford in time.
And after getting back to Walford with seconds to spare, he was forced to break into his own flat when he lost his keys.
When he finally made it to the relay – just in the nick of time – he looked deliriously happy as he was handed the torch.
Hundreds of Walford residents celebrated with a street party before coming out to support Billy in his honour, who ran across the square in front of police.
Meanwhile, as everyone else caught a glimpse of the torch, Billy’s daughter Lola was in labour live on air in a fast food restaurant moments away from him.
Patrick Truman grabbed Billy seconds after the relay, just in time to see her give her give birth to her daughter.
Viewers took to twitter during the live show, with some labelling it an “inspiration”.
User @JonAlmond tweeted: “Taking the Olympic torch on a live jaunt through Eastenders was an inspired move.”
Another, @GraceDent, added: “Still trying to work out why watching Billy carry the torch through Walford was really, really moving.”
And another, @JermoneTaylor, added: “I don’t normally watch Eastenders, but the live Olympic torch segment is great.”