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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It must say something about the state of our nation that this programme
is one of the most popular currently screened.
The 'square' is peopled by such a miserable, untrustworthy, amoral, spiteful, unrelentingly dour group of characters as can be imagined. Everyone is stabbing someone in the back, everyone is attempting to commit adultery, everyone is trying to cheat someone. That, or they are being stabbed, cuckolded or swindled. Nobody is cheerful. Nobody laughs. Nobody has a blinding stroke of luck or a really nice day. It's hell, with cockney accents.
I suspect this programme must be sponsored by The Samaritans. It's perfect viewing for the depressed. It doesn't cheer them up; what it does do is present a whole community of such terminally despondent sad-arses that viewers are moved to believe their lot really could be worse - they might be living in 'Albert Square'.
Apart from the above; as a representation of London's east end, it is pure hokum. The programme-makers have evidently never been across town. The first thing you encounter on the Mile End Road is a colossal mosque. And this pretty-well defines the racial majority of the population. White British Londoners are a dispersed and rapidly diminishing minority. A large advertisement hoarding presently near the Bow Road flyover, and sponsored by Tower Hamlets Health Care boasts that 'Eight out of ten members of the community can now see their doctor more quickly'. Ten healthy, smiling faces beam down at the observer in confirmation. Eight of them are dark-skinned...
What's more, I used to work with a bunch of Anglo-Saxon - dare I say 'pukka' - cockneys a few years ago. And I can tell you that a more obnoxiously racist experience I've never had. Each day was like an Oswald Moseley rally. They couldn't pass 5 minutes without denigrating some other race or nationality than their own, and in terms that were repulsive and obscene. 'Fackin' Pakis' and 'fackin' Maceroons' were the small change of conversation. In fact their entire (and extremely limited) stock of adjectives fixated upon sex-organs and their application. Alf Garnett was a paragon of liberal virtue in comparison.
Any programme that purported to represent London's native east-end Caucasians in their true nature would be completely unfit for broadcast - even after the 9 o-clock watershed. Imagine a Ku Klux Klan script written by Quentin Tarantino and you'd be somewhere near the mark. But when they weren't being inveterate bigots they were at least extremely cheerful.
I don't know how such a soap-opera came to be. This imaginary castaway island of white misery has absolutely no bearing upon real culture whatsoever. And if you're of a comparatively sanguine disposition, it will quickly reduce you to tears of grief. Comparatively ordinary actors pretending to be comparatively ordinary chronic-depressives with cockney accents - what's the point of that?
Dull, dreary, unrelentingly disillusional, and ethnically preposterous. The most popular programme of an apparently diseased and dying nation.
Avoid it like the plague.
I've never been sure if soaps are supposed to simulate real-life. If
they are meant for this purpose, that's got to be the biggest waste of
time in history. Why simulate real-life? We can all admit that most of
our lives are repetitive and dull, so why would anyone want to watch a
simulation of that, played out by people who don't even exist?
Eastenders is unconvincing to the extreme. Nobody seems to own a computer, washing machine or car. People seem to buy shares in local businesses within a matter seconds, with someone owning "half the Arches" or "half the Vic". Sam walks around with "the books", which really are books! Most business managers have computers and accountants to do that for them. Those who run stalls on the market like to leave their livelihoods with friends, simply handing over their money pouches. They're the lucky ones - a lot of the cast don't have jobs at all so how they manage to survive in east London is beyond me.
The "gangsters" are so unrealistic it's hard to watch. The scripts are terrible, mainly down to watershed restrictions, so the writers cannot include most swear-words and are forced to use words like "moron", "idiot" and "wally" which don't really work on the same scale.
Strangely enough, soaps are the shows that are watched the most in the UK, and I don't understand this. Numerous soap magazines are on the shelves, and these tell us what's going to happen in the coming weeks, so nobody really needs to watch at all.
I don't understand the concept of soaps, why anyone feels the need to watch and why there are so many.
Sorry, folks, to buck the trend and fly in the face of the perceived wisdom which says that EastEnders is the best soap - even the best programme - on TV, but I think it is the most overrated programme of all. A good drama should make us think, should move us, inspire us, stretch our minds, and enable us to identify with the ups and downs of the lives of its characters. However, with EastEnders no intellectual effort is required at all when watching each unfolding episode, because the plots are so laboriously developed, and the dialogue and acting so predictable and patronising to the viewer. Far from being uplifting and inspiring, the storylines are so dire and constantly negative as to leave the viewer feeling thoroughly depressed. In the name of "realism" the stories are in fact unreal and sensational, and not reflective of real life at all. Just as British viewers would, quite wrongly, assume Australians to be shallow and superficial if we were to believe the way they are portrayed in Australian soaps, then surely Australians and Americans must think that life in Britain is pretty dire and depressing, if they believe that EastEnders is representative of the lifestyle of the average working class Briton. When will British viewers remove the blinkers and see this programme for what it is - cheap, sensational, ratings-driven, self-indulgent and catering to the lowest common denominator and basest instincts of its mass audience. Have we no imaginative, innovative and ground-breaking screenwriters left in Britain, and where are the new generation of great British actors to come from? Not, I believe, from the ranks of Britains "best" soap.
I spent three months living in the East End of London in the latter
half of 1987, when the show had been on the air for almost two years.
It was considered a running joke there.
Why? Because it had an all-white cast. Every cast member and extra in the first couple of years was white.
The street where I lived was a long one, with over 800 houses, and to the best of my knowledge I was one of only three or four white faces living on that street. We were on the corner of the Indian and Turkish "quarters", and even if you excluded those two races the Asians and Afro-Caribbeans outnumbered the white people twenty-to-one. Plus, of course, of the very few white people who *did* live in the area, the vast majority were Scots like me - a "Cockney" accent was never heard.
That wasn't a racist rant, just a simple statement of fact. The BBC either couldn't be bothered crossing London to do their research before writing this soap, or else they only had white actors available and decided to bluff it out.
Either way, as I say, in the East End of the time, we considered it a comedy show. :-)
Where to begin? Where to end? I never miss an episode of Eastenders.
But is that saying it's so good that I can't bear to miss it? Not at
all. It's not as good as it used to be, obviously. Gone are the days of
truly shocking and scandalous story lines. We were hooked on "Who Shot
Phil?" We were hooked on Max and Stacey's affair behind Bradley's back.
Countless more mentions can be made, but I can't be bothered to write
anymore haha. Hooked and shocked. That was once the magic Eastenders
had on us. Now, where has it all gone? But, I will say, there is still
hope for this once beloved soap. Lucy's murder wasn't all that, and the
wait they are keeping us on is a bit much. However, it's the
performances of it's actors that will keep me coming back for more.
Adam Woodyatt has been particularly brilliant in the unfolding
storyline. The writers would be wise to keep focus on him rather than
anybody else at the moment, and to surround him by the best actors
And that's the point. Eastenders has been a hit and miss over the recent years. But I feel, if they can play their cards right, they can bring it back to top form. Never to the heights of several years ago, that's impossible. But it can be repaired.
6 out of 10, for that little bit of brighter future.
This soap is worse than bad: it's poisonous. Of the many television
shows that have had a corrosive influence on British society over the
past twenty years, Eastenders is the prime example. For two decades
this show has celebrated the oaf, the thug, the wide-boy, the tart, the
gobby, the violent, the sexually-incontinent, the criminal, the
ignorant, the unambitious ...
How many times has someone or other remarked that Eastenders "mirrors life"? Life on which planet, exactly?
It's written about "working-class" characters, as imagined by middle-class people who have taken a course in creative writing. Eager to show to their middle-class peers how familiar they are with the "working-class" they dream up the lumpen rabble that is the citizenry of Eastenders.
This has a toxic effect on some minds less well-equipped than others to handle fiction, and so we find members of the real population assuming the attitudes and demeanour of the inhabitants of Walford.
Thus, it came to pass that Eastenders mirrors life; but only after life had been hoodwinked into mirroring Eastenders.
Other soaps have followed in EE's footsteps, filled to their stinking gunwhales with ugly, potato-faced, shaven-headed, pot-bellied characters, scowling at each other and issuing threats constantly. This is the proletariat as perceived by the writers who produce this trash. The writers will grow rich on the proceeds of such output, and will go on to enjoy the finer things of life in their rarified enclaves. Meanwhile, the burgeoning number of new, TV-induced drones will proceed inexorably toward cultural bankruptcy.
And there you have the new priests and the new creatures of the early 21st century. Much of this is due to the immeasurable power of that illuminated boxful of dancing pixels in the corner of your living-room. It's your fault, gentle reader: that's what you chose as the only window through which to look out from your prison.
Eastenders has gone full circle from unmissable in 1985 to totally abysmal
now. It's such a bad reflection of the nation this crap tops the ratings.
The ideas for plots can consist of nothing more trivial than putting ever characters name in a hat. The first two out (regardless of their sex) will sleep with each other, the 3rd & 4th out will have a fight in the Vic, the 5th one will be arrested, the 6th develop an addiction, 7th get pregnant etc etc.
The producers are clever though. The 30 minute show is only actually ever comprised of 3 lines.
1) Someone will walk in the Vic & say "What's goin on?" 2) Someone else will stand up say "leave it aht" (out) 3) Then a woman will say "Doan choo come in ere 'n' insult mah fam'ly"
That's it. That's every show. Apart from the occasional "Get it sort-id / Is it sort-id?"
The show was once a realistic portrayal of East End folk & their way of life. The buffers came off when 1) They extended it from two nights a week & 2) The Slater family turned up. How they attract viewers is beyond me. The Kat character symbolizes everything that's gone wrong with society, treating anyone else like something she's pulled off the bottom of her shoe.
The people who vote her the best character, in these polls, must the same as the ones that vote Jamie Redknapp 'Best Sportsman' despite the fact he hasn't played a game for 3 years.
What I can never understand is if the show is the pinnacle of British TV why do all the biggest names leave? Ross Kemp, Martin Kemp, the list is endless.
How long has the longest couple's marriage lasted, with them being faithful to each other? Yes, people leave, but until the script writers realise that characters, couple can be interesting & likeable without sleeping around the show will continue to deteriorate. An episode last week had 3 separate plots of exactly that. And Zoe & the doctor top even Lofty & 'Shell' as 'Most Unconvincing Couple Ever to appear on TV.'
Yes, Eastenders is the most watched show, thats undisputed. But many external factors contribute to that. 19.30 / 20.00 is the perfect time of day to gain the most audience figures, it has an omnibus edition for 2 hours, and more than that, millions of the viewers watch it, out of nothing more than habit, but if they were completely honest to themselves, they would admit that (in 2002, more than ever), it can be absolutely pitiful.
Licence fees to watch this trash, And pay for it with hard-earned cash?
Humourless, no hint of laughter, God knows how it won a BAFTA!
We've now been subjected to "Eastenders" for twenty years. When, oh when is the Great British public going to see this awful soap for what it is? Crass Pap! This programme no more depicts reality in the East End of London than everyday life in Beirut, and never has done.
The Eastenders I know (the real ones) are kind, courageous, hardworking and loyal. And one of their greatest attributes is humour. It was the Eastenders who went through the worst of the London blitz and still stuck two fingers up to Hitler. And what do we see on our screens for five days of the week (including an omnibus)? Nothing but a bunch of moaning, wailing, "dead from the neck up" wimps, who seem to do little else than sit in a pub all day sniping at each other. What a great advert for Britain that is!! Do the writers actually believe this garbage they're pumping out? Obviously the woolly-minded section of the public does, but then I've heard that apparently anyone can be brainwashed into believing anything.
I don't know how people can watch this - the only people who enjoy
watching this are those who have no feelings and emotions and enjoy
watching people die, houses burn down, car crashes, babies die, and
cast members being killed off every week. Its the most absurd thing on
television and i still don't know how it pulls in the ratings. Its so
depressing. I can imagine the writers sitting down and saying - 'so who
shall we kill of next week then' or 'whose house shall we torch in a
Its the most depressing, absurd and most stupid thing on TV at the moment, and i cant understand peoples motives for watching this depressing pile of crap anymore
The other lowest-rating reviewers have summed up this sewage so perfectly there seems little to add. I must stress that I've only had the Cockney Filth imposed on me during visits from my children, who insist on watching the Sunday omnibus. My god, it's depressing! Like all soaps, it consists entirely of totally unlikeable characters being unpleasant to each other, but it's ten times as bad as the next worst one could be. The reviewer who mocked the 'true to life' bilge spouted by its defenders was spot-on. If anyone lived in a social environment like this, they'd slash their wrists within days. And I can assure anyone not familiar with the real East End that it's rather more 'ethnically enriched' than you'll ever see here. Take my advice - avoid this nadir of the British TV industry. It is EVIL.
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