Eastenders – why do we watch it?

This is a television programme that is beyond my comprehension.  I know I am from ‘up north’ in good old England but I find it difficult to believe that life ‘dahn saarf’ (down south) is so different to the life we live.  I fully understand that it is a fictional piece of work, however it is supposed to be reflective of true life isn’t it?  Is that not the point of a serial drama? However I suspect that life with Shrek and Fiona in Far Far Away is more realistic than life in good old Walford E20.

I have many gripes with this programme at the moment and the ludicrous plots that are currently being screened, but for the purpose of this piece I am going to focus on one major storyline to hit the headlines of late.

The recent New Year ‘thriller’ whereby Ronnie Branning (Samantha Womack) and Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) each gave birth to baby boys.  Unfortunately Ronnie’s baby suffered a cot death and she switched her baby with Kat’s baby.  This controversial storyline resulted in over 8,500 viewers expressing their outrage in complaints to both the BBC and the regulatory body Ofcom.  News reports said that the BBC in response to the unprecedented public outcry were going to cut short the ongoing story to come to a conclusion in spring 2011, rather than the planned Christmas 2011.  In my opinion it is still too many months too long.

Currently, Ronnie is supposedly seeing a counsellor to help her through what her closest friends and family believe to be a form of the ‘baby blues’ or post-natal depression.  You think that this is an avenue for the scriptwriters to try and make amends, but no – they then write it in to the scene that she doesn’t go through with it.   There are tell tale signs that she is wanting to come clean and confess, however, she never quite does it.  This is the bit in soaps that I find extremely boring.  I appreciate there needs to be the ‘will she, won’t she’ suspense, but not day in and day out on every episode, it becomes very monotonous and I’m afraid I do not have the patience for it.

It appears that there is yet another tantalising (I use this term very loosely) plot that makes you believe that Ronnie’s mum suspects something and may be edging closer to the truth, oh but then what happens?  Silly me, I had completely forgotten about the underlying plot of her sleeping around with Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and where she is found out and driven out of Walford.  Coincidence?  Good detective work on behalf of her co-actors?  Or is it just another dire attempt to stall the inevitable conclusion when Ronnie finally confesses to her sin.  We all know it is on the way – well it’s received enough bad press profile for heaven’s sake!  Why string it out and delay the inevitable?

Whilst I’m on a bit of a roll, when will tv soap directors or producers come to realise that if they are going to substitute real dolls to take the place of real babies that they should either get ones that are the same size as the actual baby the are replacing, or teach the actors how to hold them so that we the audience might be slightly convinced they are handling a human being.  My daughter when she was a toddler had more of an idea of how to hold a doll effectively!

I have never been a huge fan of Eastenders, the storylines are rarely uplifting and it distinctly lacks any kind of feel good factor, but much in the same vein as my Coronation Street blog (Coronation Street – The office drama) , I am drawn to having it switched on in the room for every episode.  The main reason again is for my daughter and husband’s entertainment, but I do have a listening ear to each episode.  It is like an addiction, I know it’s bad for me, but I just don’t seem to be able to give it up.  I am at a loss to see how this can be viewed as topical or even entertaining enough to receive tv awards year after year – I’m obviously missing something.



Filed under Television

4 responses to “Eastenders – why do we watch it?

  1. mysoulforsale

    Oh my goodness. I haven’t watched EastEnders in many years and I feel so terribly low-brow for having done so at all now. I do agree that this recent plot twist, described in your post, is pretty awful.

    Coronation Street is okay, but EastEnders was on at a more convenient time for me, so that’s why I got into it as a young person.

    • It is truly dreadful to watch. I can’t fully describe the reason why I am so drawn to it it – I suppose I could liken it to looking at a car crash scene. It’s awful to see, but you can’t help but look.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading.

      • mysoulforsale

        I think that it can be argued that all soap operas and/or daytime dramas are terrible. I leave the television on for my pets during the day so that the house isn’t too quiet for them, and there is a soap opera on when I get home that I promptly turn off. On a couple of occasions, I’ve watched it for a few minutes, just standing in front of the television – I DO NOT sit down to watch it – and I can’t even believe that there are still people out there who watch these programs intentionally. It all seems to ’80s, or maybe it just does to me because that was the last time that I watched soaps with any kind of commitment. I only think, “Are we not past this as a society?”

        Great post.

  2. mysoulforsale

    Sorry, I meant to say “it all seems so ’80s” above… I’m quite comfortable with the difference between “to” and “too”. Thanks!

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