Down-to-earth singer George Michael had an extra special treat for his 40th birthday yesterday (25JUN03) - a surprise trip to the set of his favourite British TV soap.

The FREEEK! performer is a huge fan of Eastenders, and was delighted when cunning friends organised a tour of the set in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire to mark his special day.

Believing he was going to join friends for a birthday lunch, George was delighted to be greeted by the soap's star actors Letitia Dean, Jessie Wallace and Kacey Ainsworth for the special visit - and he even shed a tear at one scene where one of the show's characters is buried.

A TV insider says, "Everyone was really buzzing after they met him. It doesn't get much better than that."

Eastenders is no stranger to welcoming popstars - former Spandau Ballet hunk Martin Kemp played one of the show's lead characters for three years until 2002, and Robbie Williams has also made a cameo appearance on the soap.

26/06/2003 13:53