Category Archives: Television

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.

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Coronation Street – The office drama

Recently I moved office base to sit within a different team.  Now this provided me with a whole new set of experiences to adjust to: the environment; the people and personalities and a whole new genre of conversation.  With all the new challenges to face the one thing I really feared was leaving behind the comfort zone of my familiar surrounding and soon to be ex-colleagues. 

I have been in my new office for a few months now and I feel I have settled in quite nicely.  My good friend, co-worker and esteemed blogger (The World According to Dave, listed in my blogroll) moved with me and I believe I owe it to him that I retained a smidgen of sanity in my new work life.  I have come to realise though during this uncertain journey and period of settling in, just what I have not missed.  The the incessant ramblings of “what happened on Corrie last night!”  It was always a big event in the office the day following an episode.

Now I know that Coronation Street first graced the television screens back in December 1960.    I know it was created by Tony Warren and was only ever commissioned for 13 episodes and I know that it is testament to its popularity that it has continued to this day.  What I don’t know is – why?

I was never formally introduced to this soap or serial drama as I think they are now referred to, but somehow it was part of a cultural upbringing at home in the north of England.  It formed part of the early evening family entertainment back in the 70’s and early 80’s and that is how I think I first became addicted.  I was one of the lucky ones though, I saw the light before it was too late and sought treatment.

Having said that, even today it is always on in our house, as my hubby and daughter seem to like it.  So it is on, droning away in the background, which I can often mentally tune out of, but I do occasionally get drawn into the dire plots and storylines and the terrible acting that seems to be the norm these days.

If I were to be forced to join into an office conversation about the programme now, I would be able to offer the following observations:

  1. Nick Tilsley couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag;
  2. Peter Barlow – acting almost as bad as Nick, but storyline not helping – recovering alcoholic that seems to recover overnight not only from drinking but from horrendous life threatening injuries sustained in a tram crash;
  3. Tracy Barlow – Acting skills even less than Nick with even better self-healing powers and the ability to have a murder charge quashed in five minutes;
  4. Deidre Barlow – just as annoying as she’s always been – some things never change;
  5. Gail McIntyre – must learn her lines via audio equipment as she doesn’t stop blinking her eyes long enough for them to stay open to read anything;
  6. Sally Webster – I have to admire the actress who plays her for her cancer battle and for remaining professional throughout her scenes especially so with a bad script to follow;
  7. Kevin Webster – rubbish – nothing more to say about that;
  8. Rosie Webster – what is up with her mouth?  She over-exaggerates every mouth movement unnecessarily to the point of me wanting to slap her;
  9. Sophie Webster – such a whining voice;
  10. John Stape – hats off to him for being able to deliver what has to be the most ridiculous storyline in Coronation Street history with a little bit of professionalism and whilst keeping a straight face.

Of course there are some good actors/characters in the programme but to mention them would detract from the rant wouldn’t it?

I know that I may have alienated a few readers with this piece and I offer an apology for simply not understanding your beliefs.

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