Could you afford to live like Dot Branning?

House prices mean the residents of Albert Square must be rolling in it

June Brown/Dot Cotton's back

As far as aspirational characters on TV go, Dot Branning (also known as Cotton) may not immediately spring to mind. However, a study by Which? has revealed that only a minority of people could afford her lifestyle - because the vast majority of us couldn't afford her house. It goes to show how crazy house prices have become - especially in London.

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See also: Dot Branning has every reason to be miserable

Which? tracked down the cost of some iconic properties featured in fictional TV shows, and discovered that to buy Dot Cotton's house (25 Albert Square, Walford), would cost £875,000. After-all, a Victorian three-bed house within walking distance of a tube station would be in high demand, and despite the fact it would need some modernisation, there would still be huge price tag attached to this kind of home.

The dramatic rise in property prices makes it hard to imagine how Eastenders can possibly continue with anything approaching realism. The square would need to be taken over by city bankers and high flying lawyers, who spend 18 hours a day at work, and spend the weekend in the Cotswolds - leaving them only about an hour a day to cram in screaming arguments in the street with the neighbours, secret illegitimate children and reckless murder attempts.

The same goes for the marginally more affordable, flat Delboy lived in, in Nelson Mandela House in Peckham - at an estimated £330,000. At that price, there's no way his level of success on the market stall would cover the cost today.


Which? identified the price of ten fictional properties, and only three homes on the list fit into the more affordable bracket. The first is hardly aspirational: it's the Peep Show flat in Apollo House, Croydon, at £220,000 - where you too can live the dream.

Another manageable property would be Tyrone Hobbs' house on Coronation Street. The three bedroom terrace could make a perfect home for the first-time buyer, at just £100,000. The price means the buyers could also take advantage of a help to buy ISA - so the government would boost the deposit by 25%.

And the third and final fictional flat without a fairy tail price is Gwen's house from Gavin and Stacey in Barry. The two double-bedroom house with views of Barry Island would cost just £130,000, and again could be ideal for the first time buyer.

It seems, therefore, that if we want any drama featuring the salt of the earth, we're going to have to go a long way out of London to find them.

The other half

Within London, we will have to learn to live with predominantly posh characters dominating the screens. Sherlock Homes, for example, would have to pay £1.7 million for 221B, Baker Street; William Thacker (the bookseller from Notting Hill played by Hugh Grant) would be living in a two-bedroom house worth £4.9 million; and the cast of the Crown are inhabiting a property that's worth £2.2 billion.

Oddly the list also includes Joey Essex's house, which is apparently worth £1.6 million. It's not entirely clear whether he would qualify as posh - just as it's not entirely clear that he qualifies as a fictional character.

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