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N.C. EastEnders Fan Club - June 21, 2003

Raleigh, North Carolina

On Saturday, June 21, the North Carolina EastEnders Fan Club met at Greenshields Brewery & Pub in downtown Raleigh. It was our best-attended event to date! Over 60 fans met to mingle and dine on traditional English dishes and American entrees. After the meal, we were treated to a talk by Dennis Dowdy, UNC-TV Network Traffic Manager. Dennis is a longtime club favorite, and he delivered for us yet again!

Our friend and past guest speaker, Larry Jaffee, sent free copies of the latest issue of the Walford Gazette. As Editor & Publisher of the Gazette, Larry is offering North Carolina EastEnders fans a special subscription discount. I'll send a separate message with more details on this offer!

Greenshields reserved their private pub room for our party. It featured a bar, fireplace, bookshelves, and oak paneling that created a cozy atmosphere. One side of the room was lined with windows looking out onto Raleigh's historic City Market, so we had plenty of light and a lovely view. Greenshields provided superb service and even accommodated separate checks!

Here's a recap of our delicious menu:

Appetizers (3 choices):

Beer Cheese Soup
Scotch Egg
Beer Battered Onion Rings

Salads/Sandwiches/Entrees (7 choices):

Chargrilled Caesar Salad
Soup or Garden Salad with Quiche
Shepherd's Pie
Chicken Pot Pie
Fish & Chips
Crab Cake Sandwich
Greenshields Pub Burger

Everything looked scrumptious, and, even as a vegetarian, I couldn't help noticing how tempting the Scotch egg and Chicken Pot Pie appeared. The former was a big hit with our group, and the latter had a soaring puff pastry crust. Other entrees looked equally delectable. And, there was beer galore!

Our tables were set up in groups of four, with a few tables for two. Please let me know if you'd prefer a different arrangement next time. I would be interested to hear if you thought the table size was conducive to conversation. As former lunch attendees know, other restaurants we've used have set up long tables that seat 10 or more people. It's up to us to decide which format we like best.

After lunch, Dennis gave us a lively update on UNC-TV, PBS, and EastEnders. We got an insider's view of how PBS deals with its local member stations. There is increased pressure from PBS to carry a set number of hours of programming at specific times. This reduces the flexibility of local stations like UNC-TV to provide programming geared to its audience. For instance, the shows mandated by PBS do not include EastEnders or Britcoms, both of which are favorites of North Carolina fans!

Dennis continues to lobby for the return of "Dr. Who," and he had great news for fans of "Ballykissangel" and "Monarch of the Glen." Ballyk will be rebroadcast from the beginning, and we can look forward to a new season of Monarch. In July, "Mystery!" returns to the schedule with all new programs! July also brings a new show called "North Carolina Weekend" that will highlight upcoming events throughout the state. Look for its premier episode on July 4.

Dennis also relayed the good news that Gloria Howell is the new Volunteer Services Director. Those of you who have volunteered at Festival know that this role has a high turnover rate, and we seem to meet a new director every year. Gloria is a seasoned UNC-TV employee who proved her mettle as Acting Volunteer Services Director this year. For the first time ever, there were enough volunteers to staff every shift at Festival! We thoroughly enjoyed working with Gloria--besides being so competent, she's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

Dennis had a special message from Gloria: She wanted us to know that everyone thought the EastEnders volunteers were THE BEST group at Festival this year!

Our club will meet again at Greenshields in late September or early October. We have another outstanding guest speaker lined up: Melissa "Mo" Berry, President of the Western North Carolina EastEnders Fan Club. Mo just returned from a trip to the UK, where she had a personal tour of the EastEnders set and also appeared on "The Graham Norton Show." Mo will share her experiences and memorabilia. A special bonus: Mo will play a video made by the EastEnders cast--a hilarious take-off on Michael Jackson's "Thriller"!

NOTE: For the fall meeting, we will have a microphone. Our apologies to those who had trouble hearing Dennis. Now that we're familiar with the setting, we can plan better next time!

Thanks to all who came and made Saturday such a memorable day. You are an incredible group, and I always have a blast when we're together. Can't wait to see everyone again this fall!